How do you Unstuff a dog’s nose? Here’s the Answer

Do You Need to Take Your Dog to the Vet for a Stuffy Nose?

In many cases, simple things like a runny nose or a stuffy nose are not troubling enough to warrant a trip to the vet. This is especially true if the congestion resolves on its own within 24 hours or so and your dog appears healthy in most other ways (meaning that he’s not displaying any other respiratory symptoms).

However, if the congestion lasts for more than a couple of days, only seems to affect one nostril, or if it is accompanied by a fever or green nasal discharge, you should take your dog in for an examination.

Additionally, if you note any neurological problems – holding the head in unusual positions, loss of balance, uncoordinated movements – you’ll want to take your dog in promptly.

Don’t have easy access to a vet? You may want to consider getting help from JustAnswer — a service that provides instant virtual-chat access to a certified vet online.

You can discuss the issue with them, and even share video or photos if need be. The online vet can help you determine what your next steps should be.

While talking with your own vet — who understands the ins and outs of your dog’s history — is probably ideal, JustAnswer is a good backup option.

Why Do Dogs Get Stuffy Noses?

Dogs suffer from stuffy noses for a variety of reasons, including several which can cause similar symptoms in humans.

Some of the most common causes of nasal congestion in dogs include:

  • Head colds (a viral infection)
  • An environmental or seasonal allergy
  • A bacterial infection
  • A fungal infection
  • A foreign body in the nose
  • Less frequently, dogs may suffer from congestion as a side effect of heart disease. There are also a few ailments that seem to afflict some breeds more than others.

    For example, lymphocytic-plasmacytic rhinitis – a condition which causes nasal discharge and irritation – most commonly afflicts dachshunds.

    Reverse Sneezing

    Reverse sneezing is a less severe form of sneezing but it is common among dogs with respiratory disease. Your doggie will backward sneeze to dispel irritants lodged in the soft palate close to the trachea.

    How to Relieve a Dog’s Stuffy Nose

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    No one likes having a stuffy nose, even your dog. Its unpleasant for him to have his breathing restricted and any type of stuffiness has a variety of medical causes, ranging from simple to more complex. If your dog experiences a stuffy nose for more than one day, take him to the veterinarian for an examination.

    In dogs, stuffy noses can result from things like allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, viruses, tooth abscesses, parasites, and nasal polyps. These are serious conditions that require the expertise of a vet to treat.

    In the meantime, there are ways to clear a dogs nose and offer immediate relief prior to a veterinary visit. This way, your pup will be more comfortable while he awaits treatment and some of these techniques may also be used in conjunction with his eventual veterinary treatment, as well. Be sure to always check with your vet, though, to ensure that all medications you give are safe for your dog.

    Youre familiar with the obvious signs of a stuffy nose, such as difficult, noisy breathing. Dogs might suffer from nasal congestion without the telltale sniffing and snorting. Other signs of a canine stuffy nose include face pawing and sneezing.

    If your dog is breathing through his mouth but not panting, its likely his nose is stuffed up. Normally, dogs breathe through their noses except when its hot or theyve finished exercising. They then pant as a cooling mechanism. You may also notice a visible nasal discharge coming out of the nose.

    One nonmedical and ​safe way to obtain relief for your dogs stuffy nose is to put him in a room with a humidifier.​ The increase in air moisture provided by the humidifier helps open nasal passages. This goes a long way to helping him breathe better and can be continued with other medications for conditions like infections with no ill effects.

    As an alternative, if you dont have a humidifier handy, find another way to offer him steamy relief. When you take your shower, bring your dog into the bathroom with you. The steam from the shower has the same effect as the humidifier.

    If dog nasal congestion is something you encounter regularly, buy a humidifier you can keep in your home. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier, Small to Medium Rooms, 1 Gallon Tank is compact enough to set up next to your dogs crate or sleeping area and is Amazons Choice for humidifiers with more than 6,500 five-star ratings. If you prefer a cool mist, Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is an Amazon Best Seller with more than 30,000 five-star ratings.

    You might have a human nasal decongestant in your medicine cabinet, but ​clear its use with your veterinarian before squirting it into your dogs nose.​ Using human decongestants such as oxymetazoline — marketed under the brand name Afrin — can cause potentially dangerous side effects in dogs, according to Merck Veterinary Manual. Your dog could experience vomiting and diarrhea, shaking and nervousness, or cardiac and blood pressure issues that could result in his collapse.

    A better option is to use saline nasal drops or saline nasal spray in your dogs nose to clear his nasal passages, recommends Vetinfo. Your vet can advise you on the amount of saline spray to give to your dog. Saline nasal sprays can usually be found in pharmacies or your vet can tell you how to mix one up if necessary.

    If your dogs stuffy nose is allergy-related, the over-the-counter medication Benadryl might help, according to petMD. Again, consult your veterinarian before giving your dog this drug, and ask for dosing information. An antihistamine, Benadryl works by counteracting histamines released by your dogs body as part of his allergic reaction to a substance, such as certain molds and pollens. Side effects of Benadryl include lethargy, decreased urination, and appetite loss.

    Order decongestant drops designed to be pet-safe on Amazon. SafeBay Breathe Well Dog Supplement are easy-to-administer drops containing elderberry, mullein, marshmallow root, and other anti-inflammatory herbs to help soothe your dogs respiratory passages. Prefer a pill you can stick in a piece of cheese or soft treat? BestLife4Pets Breathe Easy Respiratory Support for Dogs are odorless softgels delivering all-natural multi-symptom relief for stuffiness, allergies, colds and more.

    Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.