Dogs often suffer from rhinitis, an upper respiratory tract disease involving inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes or other damage to the nasal mucous membranes. Viral infection is the most common cause of sudden rhinitis or sinusitis in dogs.

In this article we will explain what rhinitis is, what the most common symptoms are and what the most effective treatment is.

What is rhinitis in dogs?

Rhinitis is a disease that affects both humans and dogs, causing nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Most types of rhinitis are caused by inflammation and are associated with symptoms in the eyes, ears or throat. Dogs with longer noses and skulls (such as the Border Collie or Greyhound) are most prone to rhinitis. In addition, brachiocephalic breeds (such as the bulldog or pug) are susceptible to pollution-induced tumours that can cause rhinitis.

There are several types of rhinitis, these include:

  • Acute rhinitis: this is typically caused by a foreign body lodged inside the dog’s nasal cavity.
  • Allergic or seasonal rhinitis: this type of rhinitis is caused by a build-up of histamine in the body as a result of allergens in the air. Pollen, house dust, plant fibres and mould are the most common allergenic substances in dogs.
  • Chronic rhinitis: develops when the allergen triggers cannot be eliminated from the dog’s environment or when the dog is regularly exposed to them. In some cases, dogs may also develop abnormal tissue in the nasal area that produces inflammation and causes chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis can also occur if your dog has an acute viral infection or if a bad tooth is aggravating the condition.

Having a runny nose in a dog can be due to something as simple as the excitement of seeing you. However, it can also be a serious health problem. Keep reading this article to learn more about the possible causes of a runny nose in dogs and its treatment.

Symptoms of rhinitis in dogs

Rhinitis, as mentioned above, is an inflammation of the nasal cavity characterised by symptoms such as:

  • Excessive sneezing.
  • The nasal discharge is thick and foul-smelling unless it is being caused by allergic rhinitis, in which case it is clear.
  • Nausea or vomiting due to substances entering the throat through the nose.
  • Rubbing or scratching the face.
  • Lack of ability to smell.
  • Lack of appetite and therefore weight loss.
  • Restlessness.
  • Open-mouth breathing or difficulty breathing.
  • Bad breath.
  • Rubbing or touching the face.
  • Nosebleeds.

You should contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, especially if they persist for more than a day. Because dogs sense the world through their sense of smell, their nose is one of the most exposed parts of their body. If you notice your dog constantly rubbing his nose, it could be cause for concern. Read on to learn more about canine rhinitis.

Treatment of rhinitis in dogs

Rhinitis is treated in different ways depending on its cause. If bacteria are present, antibacterial agents should be prescribed, at least for a few weeks.

If fungi are present, antifungals are the most appropriate treatment, also for a few weeks. If the infection is severe and fever is present, many dogs require intravenous fluids.

In older dogs, there is often growth and presence of abnormal tissue (neoplasia) or dental disease, which may also cause inflammation. In the case of neoplasia, surgery is required to permanently remove the abnormal tissue in the nasal cavity. In the case of dental disease, on the other hand, the affected tooth may need to be extracted.

In the case of allergic rhinitis, the dog should be kept away from the substances that trigger the reaction in the first place. However, it is sometimes difficult to avoid contact with allergy-causing substances, which are also becoming increasingly common. Treatment therefore consists of symptom control, identification of the allergen by skin testing and, in some cases, immunotherapy, i.e. administration of specific vaccines.

We should be concerned if we observe respiratory problems in our dogs. Although certain breeds are more susceptible to respiratory problems than others, respiratory infections can affect any dog.