Homemade Remedies for Congestion in Dogs

By Lisa McQuerrey

A stuffy nose is just as miserable for your dog as it is for you. Providing him with congestion relief can make him more comfortable and allow him to rest and regain strength and health. Before using a homemade remedy to deal with the problem, consult your vet about your pup’s symptoms. It could be a simple cold with congestion or there may be another health malady that needs attention.

Steam Relief

Put your dog in a bathroom with the door closed and run a hot shower. The warm steam will help unclog nasal passages and relieve congestion. A warm air vaporizer can help open the sinus passages. After steam treatment, use a warm, wet cloth to wipe away nasal discharge and put a touch of petroleum jelly on your dog’s nose to help avoid irritation and soreness. If discharge is yellow or green, see your vet right away, as that’s a sign of infection.

Allergy Issues

If your dog is congested due to allergies, he’ll need to see a vet. Some dogs suffer seasonal allergies and may need treatment with a vet-prescribed antihistamine. If your pup’s allergies are severe, you may have to limit outdoor time during peak allergy season, or remove flowering plants and trees that produce pollen and other irritants. Dogs with allergies can be sensitive to indoor air pollutants as well, so use pet-safe, nonallergen cleaning products in your home and laundry.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a good cold remedy not only for humans, but for dogs as well. Your pup will love the taste, and the warm steam rising from the bowl will help open congested airways. The soup also will provide valuable nutrients and help your dog stay hydrated, which is important when battling a cold. Homemade chicken soup is best, but if you used a canned variety, select one that's low in sodium and doesn't contain onions or garlic.

Holistic Approaches

While homeopathic decongestant treatments are available for dogs, always check with your vet before giving your pup an herb or supplement. Just like prescription medicines, some holistic meds can have side effects or interact with other drugs your dog is taking. Consider seeing a holistic vet who can advise you of appropriate dosing based on your dog’s health, weight and age. Some natural remedies to ask about include elderflower, which is a flower extract used to treat swollen sinuses, and kali bichromicum, an essential trace element homeopaths use to treat sinus congestion.

Vet-Prescribed Meds

If your dog is seriously stuffed up, or his congestion gets worse, it may be something more complicated, such as an upper respiratory infection, so make an appointment with a vet. Never use any over-the-counter cold or allergy meds made for people without checking with your vet first. Some human medications, including decongestants, can be highly toxic to dogs.