If Spot is sneezing and has a stuffy nose, he's likely suffering from canine congestion. Just like people, dogs can develop excess mucus in their respiratory tract due to a variety of reasons ranging from allergies to respiratory infections. Bring your pooch to the vet so she can diagnose the cause of your pup's congestion and help get him on the road to recovery.
Canine allergies are one of the most common causes of clear nasal discharge and congestion in pups. Your pup's excess mucus may be a reaction to something in his environment, such as pollen, human dander, nasal mites and other respiratory parasites, foods or medications. Pups with allergies may suffer from itchy skin, excessive sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds and breathing problems, according to WebMD. Symptoms appear after your pup comes into contact with an ingredient that triggers the allergies. Your vet may recommend allergy testing, a special allergy diet or canine antihistamines to help to treat your pup's congestion.
A respiratory infection caused by bacteria, fungi or a virus can cause your pooch's body to produce extra mucus, resulting in canine congestion. Such infections include canine influenza, sometimes referred to as "kennel cough." Kennel cough is caused by a highly contagious virus. The most dangerous infections that can cause congestion in pups include canine distemper, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and pneumonia. Dogs suffering from a respiratory infection may cough, sneeze, develop a fever, have trouble breathing, become lethargic and stop eating. Usually the nasal discharge is discolored when an infection is present. Your vet can treat your pup with antiviral, anti-fungal or antibiotic drugs to get rid of your pooch's infection and congestion.
Your pup relies on his nose to explore his environment. Unfortunately, while sniffing around your home or garden, sometimes a foreign object can become lodged in one of his nasal passages. Such nasal blockages and tumors in the nasal passages can cause congestion and nasal discharge in pups. Your pup's mucus may be clear or discolored. A vet can diagnose a nasal blockage through a physical exam and with X-rays. She'll be able to remove it surgically to relieve your pup's symptoms. She also may prescribe some antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection has developed due to the blockage.
Other Nasal Issues
Dental disease and tooth abscesses can lead to rhinitis and sinusitis in pooches, which causes congestion, according to petMD. Your vet can clean your pup's teeth and extract any infected teeth if necessary to relieve his dental issues. Abnormal tissue growth in the nasal passages and pooches who can't swallow properly also can develop excess mucus and secondary bacterial infections. Your vet will be able to determine what is causing your pup's excess mucus through a variety of means, including X-rays, CT scans, blood tests and physical examination of the nasal passages.
With veterinary treatment, your pup's congestion should subside. While your pup is recovering, your vet may recommend using a humidifier with your pooch to help break up his mucus and relieve his congestion. The vet also may prescribe nose drops to treat any nasal inflammation and reduce nasal discharge.
Always consult with a vet regarding treatment for your pup's congestion. Treating a dog with human decongestants is potentially dangerous because they contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs. Avoid those containing phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, both of which are considered poisonous to dogs, warns the Pet Poison Helpline.
- petMD: Nose and Sinus Inflammation in Dogs
- WebMD: Dog Nose Discharge: Common Causes and Treatments
- Washington State University: Nasal Discharge & Sneezing
- Koret Shelter Medicine Program: Canine: Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (a.k.a. "Kennel Cough")
- petMD: Parasitic Infection of the Respiratory Tract in Dogs
- Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice: Canine Chronic Inflammatory Rhinitis
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Canine Influenza Virus/Canine Flu
- Pet Poison Helpline: Decongestants