What Can I Give My Dog for Congestion? (Home Remedies and Tips)

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Congestion is one of the most common health conditions in humans and dogs, and many of us have probably experienced it dozens of times before.

Just like humans, animals can suffer from congestion, too. It’s actually quite common in different species, and in most cases, it’s not a cause for alarm. However, some cases may require more attention than others.

In this article, we’ll give you everything you need to know about congestion in dogs and why it happens, how to know when it happens, and what you can give your dog for congestion.

Why Does My Dog Sound Like He Has a Stuffy Nose?

Dog nose

There are countless possible reasons for your dog’s nasal congestion, and it can be pretty hard to determine the cause.

Before taking your dog to the vet, try to figure out why your dog sounds congested in the first place. Allergy to dust, grass, mold, and mites “nasal mite” is the most common cause of nasal congestion in dogs, and thankfully, it’s not serious. All you have to do is identify your dog’s allergy symptoms triggers to protect its respiratory system. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Reduce your dog’s time outdoors
  • Remove flowing trees and plants

Moreover, try to examine the color of your dog’s discharge. If it has a greenish or yellowish color, take your dog to the veterinarian as these are alarming signs. Another common cause of congestion is sinus infections.

If only one nostril is congested, there could be something stuck in your dog’s nose. In that case, you must take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent any further trouble.

In less common cases, congestion can be a symptom of a more serious health condition, like fungal infections, upper respiratory infection, respiratory congestion, heart failure, and immune system diseases. A bacterial infection isn’t unlikely either.

How to Know if Your Dog’s Nose Is Congested

There are many signs that may indicate canine congestion “canine influenza”, including sneezing, nasal discharge, snoring, labored breathing problems, and open-mouth breathing. If your dog shows any of these signs, don’t worry! Here are some of the things that you can give your dog to relieve congestion:

Home Remedies That You Can Give Your Dog

Cute golden retriever outside. Close up shot of dog nose

It’s not always necessary to give your pooch an artificial decongestant to make it feel better. Here are some natural home remedies for your dog for congestion relief:

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is an excellent decongestion home remedy for dogs and even humans, too. You’ve probably eaten that delicious recipe countless times before whenever you had a cold or cough/coughing. The same food “food allergy” could exactly be what your dog really needs to get better.

Not only will your dog wave goodbye to congestion, but it’ll also gain the benefits of the valuable nutrients found in this tasty recipe.

Here are the ingredients of this delicious soup:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 4 carrots

If you want to spice things up a little bit, you can add broth. Broth can boost the hydration levels in some dog breeds.

And remember, homemade chicken soup is always better than canned soups because canned ones usually have a high sodium concentration and contain garlic and onion.

Herbs & Honey

It seems like mother nature has a cure for almost everything, and nasal congestion is no exception. Kali bichromicum and elderflower herbs can work wonders when it comes to reducing your dog’s cold symptoms.

Honey is also an excellent natural solution thought by people to help with blocked noses. However, it’s worth noting that dogs aren’t supposed to consume large amounts of honey due to its high sugar content. The digestive system of dogs can only process protein and fats, which is why sugars are a big no for some dog species. However, a small teaspoon of honey is generally considered safe.

Aromatherapy

Essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender oil can effectively mitigate cold symptoms in dogs. However, you need first to consult your veterinarian since these oils may have undesirable side effects for some dogs. As a general rule of thumb, dilute these oils before giving them to your pet.

Alternatives

Less severe cases won’t likely require any decongestants or recipes to tackle. Here are some tips you can try to treat your dog’s congested nose:

Steam Treatment

Steam treatment is one of the most common cold “dog colds” treatments for humans, cats, and many dog breeds. Never underestimate the power of a hot shower for relieving nasal congestion and its symptoms in dogs, and the best part about it is that you don’t need any special equipment.

Just open the tub’s tap and let the hot water run, then close the bathroom door and leave your dog inside for a few minutes. The steam will help unblock your dog’s stuffy nose.

Rest

Giving your dog some rest is a highly effective way that can help unblock its nose. There are many foods that your dog can eat to make it calmer and feel sleepy, including L-theanine chews, herbal cookies, and L-tryptophan treats. If all else fails, consider trying music therapy or even massage.


Can I Give My Dog Benadryl for Congestion?

Decongestants shrink your dog’s blood vessels’ diameter, which drastically improves mucus drainage by increasing airflow “upper airway” through the nasal passages.

Some over-the-counter human antihistamine products like Benadryl are widely considered safe for animals and dogs, but they can make your pup a bit sleepy or even hyperactive in some cases.

Yet, don’t attempt to give dogs a human decongestant for people before consulting a vet first to avoid any dangerous side effects.

What if My Dog Has a Runny Nose?

In case your dog is constantly experiencing a dog’s runny nose problem, there’s a high chance that it’s allergic reaction “seasonal allergies” to something in your household.

Be wary of any allergy triggers at home, like chemicals, food, pollens, and drugs. A sinus infection could be the reason, too. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do to make your dog feel better:

  • Run your fingers through your dog’s fur to calm it down
  • Put a cold compress over your dog’s nose
  • If one of the nostrils is bleeding, try to stop the bleeding by covering the dog’s nostril with an absorbent material like a napkin
  • Avoid tilting your dog’s head as a way of stopping the bleeding since this can potentially make things even worse and can block its nasal passages
  • Avoid inserting any objects into your dog’s nostrils

Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet When Its Nose Is Congested?

In most cases, dogs’ stuffy nose is nothing to worry about and won’t likely require a visit to the vet. However, if none of the above methods help with your dog’s condition, you may consider taking your dog to the vet just to make sure that there aren’t any underlying problems with this issue, like sinus infections.

Your vet will do a physical test and examine the color of the dogs’ mucus discharge. Some additional lab tests like blood tests could be required to know the reason for the ear infection (if any).

Difference Between Acute and Chronic Nasal Congestion

Before deciding whether you need to take your pup to the vet or not, you need to be aware of the difference between acute and chronic congestion. Acute congestion lasts for no more than two days, and it’s usually nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, chronic nasal congestion can be alarming, and frequent visits to the vet become more necessary. Your vet will work on reducing your dog’s symptoms and conduct a proper diagnosis to understand the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Close up of nose of pembroke welsh corgi dog


Final Thoughts

To recap, nasal congestion is easily treatable at home if it only occurs a few times a year on-off. If there are no signs of improvement within 1 or 2 days, you may have to consult a veterinarian, especially if there are other symptoms like kennel cough vaccine or cough suppressant. Your veterinarian will recommend the best course of action to take according to your dog’s case and congestion causes.

And remember, your vet should always be your number one resource for treating any illnesses and prescribing any treatments your dog may need.

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Hi, everyone! My name is Mathew Barham and I’m the editor in charge here at M-Dog. I’m currently based in Northampton, Pennsylvania, where I live with my beautiful wife, two amazing kids, and four rowdy rescue dogs. Growing up, my parents had a huge backyard and lots of animals. So my entire life, I was surrounded by pets that I cared for deeply. When my wife and I moved into a bigger place, I knew that I wanted to do the same for my family. That’s when we went to an animal shelter and fell in love with the most adorable little rescue pup. Since then, our family just kept growing, and we couldn’t be happier about it.