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What Causes Dog Mucus?
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A runny nose can be typical for dogs. However, a severe case could be a sign of something very dangerous. The presence of mucus in your dog's nose, vomit, or stool could be indicative of a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. Your dogs depend on you for proper care. So, as a responsible pet owner, you should be on the lookout for such signs to ensure your beloved dog gets the attention they need as soon as possible.
We created this dog-centric blog post to assist dog owners to determine the reasoning behind dog mucus and how they can help treat their four-legged friends. Read through to learn more about what causes dog mucus, or use the provided links to navigate throughout the post.
- What Is Mucus?
- Where Can Mucus Be Found?
- What Causes Dogs to Have Excess Mucus?
- How Do You Treat Mucus in Dogs?
- Final Notes
What Is Mucus?
We all have mucus or snot. We usually tend to get a lot of it when we’re sick. In biological terms, mucus can be defined as the sticky, gelatinous material lining the throat, nose, mouth, lung, and sinuses. One of the primary functions of respiratory mucus is to help trap viruses, bacteria, and allergens (pollen and dust). Mucus plays a role in preventing sickness. It is also produced by the digestive and urinary systems.
Just like humans, dogs have mucus, too. Mucus in dogs serves a similar function as humans, but excess mucus can be a sign of underlying health problems, which we’ll discuss in detail below.
Where Can Mucus Be Found?
When talking about dog mucus, it’s one of the reasons that a dog's nose is wet or moist. A dog's wet nose works better compared to a dry nose. Not only that, but a dog's wet nose also helps it regulate heat and remain cool.
Again, it’s normal for dogs to have nasal mucus. It plays a role in helping them make sense of their environments, especially the scents they get to smell and recognize on a daily basis. However, excessive nasal mucus can be a cause of concern. Not only that, but pet owners should also be alert if mucus is present in dog vomit and stool.
The presence of mucus in your dog’s nose, vomit, or stool likely means that your beloved pet has certain medical issues that need to be handled. The reasons could involve infections and allergies, which we will cover in this blog.
The reasons behind excessive mucus can impact your dog’s general behavior. Your pet might not feel as hungry as it used to be or have the energy to play around anymore. They could also be in occasional pain or constant anxiety because of underlying health issues happening to them.
It's recommended that dog owners keep an eye on their pet’s behavior. Pet owners should make it a habit to check their dog’s stool from time to time to catch a health-related issue before it gets worse down the line.
What Causes Dogs to Have Excess Mucus?
There are several reasons that can lead to your dog having excess mucus. Keep in mind that you can find excess mucus in a dog’s nose, vomit, and stool. Let’s go over the reasons behind each case below:
Mucus in Dog’s Nose
As mentioned in this post, your dog having some nasal mucus is normal. However, excessive mucus can be quite annoying for the dog as well as people who want to pet it or gently “boop” their noses. No matter how handsome or beautiful a dog's breed is, having constant mucus or pus coming out of their noses does them no favors.
Are you noticing excess mucus in your dog’s nose? Below is a list of what your dog might be suffering from.
Mucus or pus discharge from your dog’s nose could be due to a fungal, viral, or bacterial infection. An infected dog could exhibit signs including coughing, nosebleed, and bad odor. Nasal infections include rhinitis and sinusitis2.
The nasal discharge during such infections will likely be clear. However, the discharge could become mucus-like or even contain pus due to a secondary bacterial infection.
Seasonal allergies in dogs can be a cause of excess nasal mucus. While symptoms of atopic allergies typically include itching, mostly around the face, feet, ears, legs, and abdomen, around 15% of dogs can develop inflammation of the nose, which can lead to mucus3. Constant exposure to allergens puts dogs under a lot of emotional and physical stress.
Mucus in Dog Vomit
Mucus in dog vomit often tends to be white and phlegm-like. Dog vomit can contain mucus due to:
Canine asthma is also known as allergic bronchitis. It can occur due to environmental allergens such as perfumes, paint, cigarette smoke, pesticides, cleaning products, and such.
The symptoms include loss of energy, a persistent cough, and rapid breathing.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD or inflammatory bowel disease is a type of chronic enteropathy or chronic gastrointestinal disease. Many dogs with IBD are known to experience recurring vomiting or diarrhea4.
Take note; scientific research hasn’t found any association between chronic enteropathy and a dog’s age, sex, or breed.
Tracheobronchitis in dogs often occurs due to an already-present respiratory disease or a disorder in a dog’s airways or lungs. Mild infections can develop into chronic bronchitis in elderly dogs and could be fatal for puppies.
In addition to the aforementioned causes of mucus in dog vomit, your dog may be vomiting mucus due to their diet. For example, a dog might be allergic to certain foods or have digestive issues that can result in them vomiting mucus. If you notice this behavior, seek help from a veterinarian.
There are several toxins that can result in your dog vomiting mucus, such as certain houseplants, chemicals, human medications, and foods like chocolate or grapes. To ensure your dog is safe, make sure to keep toxic items out of reach.
Mucus in Dog’s Stool
Mucus in dog poop could be due to:
Numerous intestinal infections can cause dog stool to have mucus in it. Typically, dogs suffering from inflamed colons experience diarrhea and may excrete feces that are mucus-laden and also contain blood6.
You should know that gastrointestinal parasites in dogs can cause mucus to appear in the stool6. Diarrhea with mucus can be present in dogs infected by roundworms.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic enteropathies in dogs can lead to dogs exhibiting vomiting and diarrhea with the presence of mucus4.
Dogs suffering from colitis display a range of symptoms, with the most common ones being large-bowel diarrhea with mucus and blood (hematochezia)8. They also experience pain during defecation.
Whether it’s nasal mucus or mucus in dog vomit or stool, the conditions behind their existence can take a toll on your lovely pet dog. Having difficulty breathing, vomiting, and feeling the need to constantly pass feces can lead to your dog losing its appetite and their overall energetic nature. Such dogs tend to experience a lot of anxiety and stress.
How Do You Treat Mucus in Dogs?
When it comes to treating mucus in dogs, you should be a pet owner who can observe the symptoms as soon as they appear. You should be able to read your dog’s body language to pick up on any behavioral changes. Are they not as enthusiastic as before? Are they not playing with their toys or interacting with other dogs and humans? How worried should you be because your dog has diarrhea?
As mentioned, mucus in a dog’s nose, vomit, or stool can point toward an ailment that should be treated as soon as possible. Certain infections can spread to other dogs in your household.
If you notice any of the mucus-related symptoms shared in this post, you should visit a veterinarian to confirm whether or not your dog is in dire need of medical assistance. A veterinarian is your best bet to determine any underlying causes of mucus showing up in a dog’s nose, vomit, or feces.
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat mucus in dogs. Once a vet has conducted a blood test, x-ray, fecal examination, and other required procedures, they might prescribe antibiotics, a new diet, surgery, or chemotherapy.
You can save your dog from going through a lot of pain and stress if you’re able to recognize symptoms early.
Dogs are smart. There’s no doubt about it. But they can’t take care of themselves and fight an illness the way a pet owner can. Your dog doesn’t know what’s exactly wrong with them and why there’s mucus in their nose, vomit, or stool. As your pet, they will turn to you for care. Dogs will exhibit certain signs to alert you of their needs. That’s why responsible dog owners should be aware of the changes in their dog’s behavior and not ignore said signs. To determine if a pet dog is sick or not, you should look at the amount of food they have been consuming recently, how many times they need to relieve themselves, and if they have grown lazy or lethargic.
Your dog coughing up mucus or the presence of mucus in their vomit or poop shouldn’t be considered something that will fix itself in a couple of days. Excessive mucus can signify a severe illness in a dog, including cancer.
That’s why it’s always best to contact a vet as soon as you notice something wrong with your dog. Even if it ends up being a false alarm, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A professional vet will determine if your dog needs a change of diet, environment, antibiotics, or even surgery as a treatment option.
You should always opt for the best when it comes to pet care. Dutch is all about offering a safe and reliable platform for treating your pets. At Dutch, we provide telemedicine for pets that helps you connect with licensed veterinarians across several states from the comfort of your home.
As the premier remote ‘Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship’ (VCPR) provider, Dutch’s services include assistance with treating dog allergies (including allergies responsible for nasal mucus) and anxiety. Upon connecting with a licensed vet, you will be provided with the best treatment plan, including medication that might be required, to help your canine friend live a healthier life. The prescribed medication will be delivered to your doorstep within a week so you can begin treating your dog as soon as possible. You can even opt for a monthly subscription.
The hassle-free process involved in Dutch’s VCPR services means you won’t have to make unnecessary trips to a vet clinic or wait around to schedule an appointment. The non-physical nature of the process also helps pets feel more at ease at home when they’re already feeling unwell to travel.
Feel free to use Dutch today to find out how we can aid with treating your dog’s mucus-related issues.
Zheng, Jenny. “All About That Mucus: How It Keeps Us Healthy,” Harvard University. https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/mucus-keeps-us-healthy/
Kuehn, Ned F. “Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/lung-and-airway-disorders-of-dogs/rhinitis-and-sinusitis-in-dogs
White, Stephen D. & Moriello, Karen A. “Allergies in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/skin-disorders-of-dogs/allergies-in-dogs
Defarges, Alice. “Chronic Enteropathies in Small Animals,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/chronic-enteropathies-in-small-animals
Kuehn, Ned F. “Tracheobronchitis (Bronchitis) In Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/lung-and-airway-disorders-of-dogs/tracheobronchitis-bronchitis-in-dogs
Defarges, Alice, et al. “Disorders of the Stomach and Intestines in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/digestive-disorders-of-dogs/disorders-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-dogs
Peregrine, Andrew S. “Gastrointestinal Parasites of Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/digestive-disorders-of-dogs/gastrointestinal-parasites-of-dogs
Defarges, Alice. “Colitis in Small Animals,” Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/colitis-in-small-animals