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Can Dogs Get Congested?


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Have you seen your dog coughing, having difficulty breathing, or experiencing a runny nose? A hacking cough, dripping nose or breathing trouble can be symptoms of respiratory congestion.

In humans, these are signs that tell you that you have the flu or that your flu is getting worse. Lung congestion in humans happens when fluid and mucus accumulate in the lungs. The cause of this condition can also be an allergy, irritation, contraction of a virus or bacteria or high blood pressure. 

How about when a dog gets congested? What does this mean and what can we do to help them?

Can Dogs Get Congested?

Yes, dogs can get lung congestion, too. Don't worry, your dog cannot contract an illness causing congestion from you, but they may still develop respiratory trouble from coming in contact with something they are allergic to, they may inhale smoke, or become infected with a bacteria or virus. In some cases, respiratory congestion may itself be a symptom of heart failure. Health conditions like a nasal tumor, pneumonia, and fungal infections can also cause a fullness of the lungs.

Does My Dog Have Congestion?

Your dog may develop a hacking cough that sounds like it is being dragged from the depths of the lungs. Your pup may have a fever, or discoloration around the gums and lips. They may have difficulty breathing or mucus running from the nostrils. You might also start to notice that your pooch starts panting a lot more, in situations that they would have had no problem with before. These are the symptoms you should look for, and if you notice any of them, it's always best to take your dog to the veterinarian since these symptoms could be a sign of something serious.

Hearing your dog cough or seeing any excessive panting is not enough to diagnose your dog with a respiratory congestion. When you notice these symptoms in your dog, the best course of action is to take your canine friend to the veterinarian. The vet will listen to the dog's chest, consider the dog's history, and may perform an X-ray of the chest or run some blood tests to diagnose and administer the adequate treatment. If a heart issue is suspected, then an electrocardiogram (EKG) and ultrasound of the heart may be required.

Other causes for canine congestion may be:

  • Bordatella bronchiseptica
  • Canine respiratory coronavirus
  • Canine parainfluenza virus
  • Canine adenovirus type 2

Your dog's vet will diagnose and treat these illnesses, relieving the breathing troubles.

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How Do I Treat My Dog's Congestion?

A simple respiratory infection can typically be treated at home. Allowing your dog rest is key, and chances are they won't feel like going  on a vigorous daily walk anyway. Take them out for fresh air and offer them treats like unsalted beef broth to drink. Make a plain chicken soup of broth and boiled chicken. Add extra humidity to the air by placing a humidifier near their bed. Supplement their food with fish oil and vitamin E to give their immune system a boost. 

If your pup still seems under the weather after a few days, don't delay in consulting the vet. Further treatment may be required, especially if the illness stems from something that requires antibiotics or decongestants to treat.

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