How to Give My Dog a Nasal Decongestant

Updated February 21, 2017

Just like humans, dogs can get a stuffy nose. It's as unpleasant for them as it is for us, but you can administer a human decongestant to your pooch to relieve his symptoms and restore his clear breathing. Realise, however, that doggy doses are different than human doses. The dose to give your dog depends on his weight, not on his age. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can have your dog back to himself in no time.

Consult your veterinarian by appointment or by telephone. Most veterinarians will advise you over the telephone regarding the proper decongestant for your dog if she has no other serious symptoms. Confirm that the recommended medication will not produce a reaction with any other drugs your pet is taking.

Purchase the recommended medication. Names of medications often sound and look similar. Write down the name of the medication your veterinarian suggests, spelt correctly, and compare it in store to ensure that you purchase the right medicine. Diphenhydramine -- the main ingredient in benadryl -- is a commonly prescribed medication to clear nasal congestion in dogs. A typical dose of diphenhydramine is 1 mg. per pound three times per day. Oxymetazoline -- available as Afrin nasal spray -- is another option. Consult your veterinarian for proper dosing, and never use for more than three days.

Place the pills in a small piece of buttered bread, a lump of canned dog food or in a spoon full of mashed potatoes to easily administer it to your dog. Place liquid medications into a plastic dropper and insert it in the corner of his mouth between his teeth and gums. For nasal spray, recruit a partner to hold your dog's head steady and quickly spray the medication into the nasal passage.


Always use the smallest amount that is effective for your dog.


Purchase a medication that contains only the active ingredient your veterinarian recommends. Many medicines contain several ingredients, some of which can be deadly to your pet.

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About the Author

Amie Taylor has been a writer since 2000. Book reviews, gardening and outdoor lawn equipment repair articles and short fiction account for a handful of her published works. Taylor gained her gardening and outdoor equipment repair experience from working in the landscaping and lawn-care business she and her husband own and operate.