Mucous Congestion in Dogs

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Dogs can get congestion too.
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Cold season is just around the corner in many parts of the country, and with the changes in temperature, increase in allergens, and barometric pressure comes stuffy sinuses for many people. Dogs can sometimes experience cold symptoms like some of us do, specifically canine congestion, which can be attributed to an influx of mucus. Dog mucus can be caused by a number of things, and is often easily treatable and sometimes preventable.


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Possible causes of mucus

Mucus congestion can sometimes be triggered by environmental allergens known as inhalant allergies, and often include tree pollen like cedar or oak, grass or weed pollens, mildew, mold and even dust mites around the home, says VCA Hospitals. Runny and stuffy noses can sometimes be symptoms of these allergies, although most dogs react by scratching their skin. Canine antihistamines can be prescribed to treat allergy symptoms, and while some people prefer using over the counter medication like Benadryl, it's highly recommended that you consult your veterinarian to ensure proper dosage and safety measures if this drug is right for your dog.


A more common cause of dog mucus build up than allergies is rhinitis and sinusitis. Rhinitis and sinusitis occur when the lining of the nose or sinuses, respectively, becomes inflamed, according to Merck Veterinary Manual. Along with sneezing, tear production, and labored breathing, nasal discharge is one of the most common symptoms of both rhinitis and sinusitis, either of which are often the result of a viral infection. Often, rhinitis and sinusitis are seen in conjunction with canine parainfluenza, which is the respiratory virus that causes kennel cough in dogs.


Mucus congestion and coughing

While mucus congestion in dogs often results in runny noses or even thicker nasal discharge, some symptoms may include coughing. Coughing can occur when phlegm becomes backed up in a dog's throat, and is often a sign of canine pneumonia, especially if the cough is wet and productive. Canine distemper can also lead to dog phlegm in the throat, as well as mucus in the eyes and nose, so keeping your dog up to date on her vaccinations is the most effective step in preventing this illness. Additionally, the Central California SPCA states that parasites like heartworm, and heart disease may cause a dog to cough, although mucus production is less common in those cases.


Dog phlegm remedy

Treating mucus congestion in dogs will depend on the exact cause of the illness. If your dog has rhinitis or sinusitis, you'll first need to determine whether the infection is bacterial or fungal, which can be done with the help of a veterinarian. If allergies are the issue, identifying the allergen can be done through allergy testing, and will likely require dietary or environmental changes if the symptoms occur regularly. Additionally, placing a humidifier in the room can help break up congestion in some cases, as can medicated nose drops prescribed by your dog's doctor.


In some cases, chronic rhinitis or sinusitis may occur as the result of inflammatory diseases, foreign items that have become trapped in your dog's nasal passages, or tumors. If your dog experiences mucus congestion regularly, or if bacterial or fungal medication therapy isn't working, consult your veterinarian to identify any additional underlying causes that could be causing your pet's runny nose or phlegmy cough.

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.