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How to Relieve a Dog's Stuffy Nose

Updated February 26, 2019

Dogs can suffer from nasal congestion just as people do. This congestion usually results from either a bacterial infection in your dog's sinuses, fungal exposure or an allergic reaction, according to Vetinfo. Once you take your dog to the veterinarian to diagnose the cause of his congestion, you will need to administer antibiotics or anti-fungal medications your vet may give you to treat him. During treatment, your dog will still suffer with symptoms of congestion, which you can treat yourself to make your dog more comfortable.

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  1. Soak a wash cloth in warm water and put 1 to 2 drops of peppermint essential oil on it. Wipe your dog's nose with the wash cloth to remove any dried discharge and help clear your dog's nose. The warm water will help open your dog's nasal passages, and the peppermint oil will help clear its sinuses. Do this two to three times per day. You can also leave the wet cloth with peppermint oil near your dog while it sleeps to relieve its congestion with the peppermint.

  2. Put children's saline nasal drops into your dog's nostrils, using 1 to 2 drops per nostril. Wipe away any excess saline solution after a minute to allow the drops to enter the nasal passages and clear away discharge and reduce nasal irritation. Repeat this twice per day.

  3. Place your dog in a bathroom with the door shut while you run hot water in your shower to create steam in the room. The steam in will alleviate some of your dog's congestion and help open her nasal passages. Confine your dog in the steamy bathroom for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, once per day.

  4. Run a vaporiser or humidifier near where your dog sleeps to keep the air around it as humid as possible. You can place one drop of peppermint oil in the vaporiser or humidifier to help open your dog's nasal passages.

  5. Give your dog some warm chicken or beef broth separately or along with its food. The warm liquid will keep your dog hydrated and the heat will help clear its nose. For all wet food meals, warm your dog's food for about 10 seconds in the microwave to intensify the smell. Dogs with stuffy noses cannot smell their food as well and may not eat because of this.

  6. Run a HEPA air purifier near where your dog sleeps if your vet diagnoses the cause of its congestion as allergies. The filter will eliminate allergens in the air to reduce your dog's allergic symptoms. Switch to hypoallergenic bedding to also help reduce your dog's exposure to possible allergens.

  7. Administer a decongestant to your dog if your vet prescribes you one, following your vet's instructions. Your vet may prescribe either pseudoephedrine, theophylline or terbutaline to treat your dog's congestion, according to Pet Place.

  8. Tip

    Treat your dog's nose with a bit of thick coconut oil or olive oil one to two times per day to combat dryness from constant running.


    Never give your dog over-the-counter medication for humans to treat its congestion. Some of these medications are toxic to dogs. Take your dog to the vet if it has a stuffy nose so the vet can diagnose and treat the cause of the congestion to prevent infections or other possible causes from worsening. When feeding your dog broth, ensure the broth does not contain onions or garlic, ingredients with possibly toxic side effects in dogs. Feed low-sodium broth to your dog to avoid excess salt in your dog's system.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wash cloth
  • Warm water
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Vaporiser
  • Children's saline nasal drops
  • Chicken or beef broth
  • Humidifier

About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

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