We can help dogs with...

Nasal discharge


Hi there! We are sorry you are here but happy to help. A snotty nose can be a concerning finding. There are several things you can do at home, but some dogs will need additional treatment. Here’s how you can help.

What’s going on with your dog?

What is the character of the discharge?

A small or even moderate amount of clear nasal discharge that intermittently drips from the nose can be perfectly normal. However, it should never be bloody or red, green or yellow, ropey or thick, or have an odor.

How are they doing otherwise?

Sneezing with productive snot, nasal congestion, not eating, and difficulty breathing can be signs that the process is more severe.


Here’s what you can do at home...

Crusting of the nose can be painful and lead to a decreased sense of smell and appetite. You can gently cleanse the nose with a moist, soft cloth 2-3 times a day or as needed to remove crusting and discharge.

It can help to humidify the air to break up discharge and provide comfort. You can use a humidifier near where your dog normally sleeps if they sleep in one place. You can also run a hot shower and place your dog in the closed bathroom for 10-15 minutes twice a day. We recommend sitting with them to ensure they don’t get themselves in trouble in the bathroom!

Offer really smelly food. They may not be able to smell as well right now and they need to eat to keep fighting the infection. The smellier the food, the more likely they will think it’s tasty.

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Does your pet need Urgent Care?

Yes! Breathing is a vital function and any problem with the respiratory system could become serious quickly. We hope nothing serious is found but this is one case where you are better off seeing a veterinarian ASAP. A quick note on Kennel cough (Bordetella). This is one of the more common causes of a cough especially in social dogs with lots of interaction with others. This disease typically resolves on its own but is indistinguishable from other more severe infections. It is still always best to have an evaluation if you are noticing a cough.

What can you expect from your visit?

Your Scout veterinarian may recommend:

Triage: If the Scout team has any concerns that your dog is in trouble, they will do a quick (STAT) assessment to ensure they are safe and stable. There are also several infections that can cause nasal discharge. Many of these (such as Kennel cough) can be contagious. The Scout team may escort you and your pup into a special room near the front of the clinic to help seclude them from other pets to be safe.

X-rays: Sometimes nasal discharge can be related to disease in the lower airways. This is the best way to look at the lungs and see if there are any signs of infection, heart problems, asthma, lower airway disease, or masses.

Bloodwork: If the nasal discharge is bloody or red, blood work can help make sure your pet does not have a bleeding disorder. Since many medications/treatments can have impacts on the whole body, performing bloodwork may be recommended if your Scout veterinarian is concerned that there may be something else going on or if they want to safely prescribe a medication.

PCR testing: Your Scout veterinarian may recommend taking a swab to look for a number of common respiratory infections in cats. These tests can take several business days to get back from the lab.

Treatments: Ultimately treatment will depend on the underlaying cause. Your Scout veterinarian may recommend oral medications to help with symptoms and/or treating the actual cause.

Follow up appointments: As long as your dog is getting better every day, there is not likely to be a follow up appointment scheduled. However, if you have concerns that they are not progressing as they should, Scout is here for you!

Referral: If this is a more chronic problem or is proving unresponsive after the first round of treatment, your Scout veterinarian will help get you and your pet to the right veterinarian in Chicago for further care. That may be one of Chicago’s great primary care doctors or a specialist that can help with advanced diagnostics.

Remember that you are the best advocate for your pet. If you think it’s a problem, it probably is! We are here for you in your time of need.

Location + Hours

2369 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60614


Monday 10a -8p

Tuesday 10a -8p

Wednesday 10a -8p

Thursday 10a -8p

Friday 10a -8p

Saturday 10a -8p

Sunday 10a -8p


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Questions? Call us: 773-676-8166