Dog Sounds Congested – What to Do?


Congestion is a condition that almost everyone experiences at some point in the cold weather. Dogs and puppies can also experience these symptoms, however, which could come from a variety of conditions. Thankfully, there are several remedies you can try to help ease this congestion, including humidifiers and elderflower.

Dog Sounds Congested – What To Do?

Dog Sounds Congested

If your dog sounds congested, you may wonder if there is another condition causing it. Some of these pets have natural reasons behind their stuffy noses.

Though this article discusses medical conditions that cause congestion, the list below has more of the intrinsic causes.


If your dog sounds congested when breathing, it could be because of its breed.

Pets that have short snouts will cause the animals to sound like they cannot breathe. This noisy condition is normal for specific breeds, however, such as pugs.


As your dog gets older, it will start to develop weakened cartilage in the nasal passageway. The airways will become less sturdy, and your pet will start to have more congestion. You will notice that your dog will sound congested as they become older, no matter what the breed is.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis is technically a condition, but it is common among senior dogs. For that reason, it is worth mentioning on this list. Laryngeal paralysis is survivable, but it can cause noisy breathing and congestion. Some dogs will develop a slight cough from the condition, which will further develop congestion.

Dog Sounds Congested – What To Do?

Dog Sounds Congested When Sleeping

If you have a cold, you know that your congestion gets worse when you go to sleep at night. There are several reasons your pet may exhibit those symptoms, including those provided in the list below. Not every reason applies to every dog.

Strange Position Sleeping

If your dog sleeps in a strange position (or with their tongue out), it could cause nasal congestion. It could be only when your pet lays on its back.

If your dog lays how it normally does and has congestion, it may have a cold or some other illness.

Dental Issues

If your dog has a specific dental build, you will notice that they have congestion. If there is a sore tooth noisy breathing will occur in the pet’s sleep. Any disturbance in the mouth will lead to a sense of congestion in the nasal passage.

Extra Weight

If your dog has extra weight, it could cause the congestion that is present when it sleeps. The excess pounds can cause added pressure on the trachea, especially when sleeping.

Talk to your vet about steps you can take to bring your dog back to a healthy weight.


If your dog takes specific medications, it could cause congestion when sleeping. Many of these prescriptions cause your pets to become drowsy, making the symptoms not show up until night.

A deeper sleep would cause your dog to become more congested, so try to keep a watch on your animal.

Effects of Sedatives

Similar to the effects of medications, some dogs sound congested when sleeping after taking sedatives. The muscles will relax, which will cause the airways to narrow.

The congestion will end as soon as the sedatives wear off of your dogs.

Dog Sounds Congested – What To Do?

Dog Congested Breathing

Your dog may sound congested when breathing, even if they are not asleep. You may find that they have a harder time after a significant amount of exercise or other action.

To learn more about some of the possible reasons behind congestion when breathing, consider the list below.


Dogs can develop allergies that are similar to hay fever. The condition is specifically Allergic Rhinitis. This illness can cause your dog to sneeze excessively and to have a runny nose. This build-up of mucus can also make your dog sound congested when breathing.

Presence of a Foreign Body

If there is a foreign body in the nasal passage of your dog’s body, it could cause congestion when breathing. If the condition seems to continue with no relief, consider calling your vet. There could be an abscess or tumor in your dog’s nose that needs removal.

Air Quality

If you have poor air quality in your home, it will cause your dog to sound congested when breathing. Purchase a filter that will remove the harmful particles from your environment. Eventually, this home appliance will allow your dog to start to breathe without sounding congested or engaging in a struggle.

Respiratory Infections

If your dog has a respiratory infection, it could cause it to have congested breathing. Your pet can develop a bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic illness in its nasal passages. The inflammation and the excess mucus will cause the inability to breathe that your dog may experience.

pug with short snout

My Puppy Sounds Congested

It is possible that your puppy could sound congested. Many of the reasons listed above are the same, but not all apply.


If you have a pug or another short-nosed puppy, you will hear congestion. These breeds do not have as long of a nasal passage for the air to pass through. When these puppies breathe, you will hear a lot of noise. You do not need to worry about any conditions unless the congestion gets worse.

Puppy Sounds Congested When Sleeping

If your puppy goes to sleep, you may notice a decent amount of congestion. There are often simple reasons behind this noise breathing.

If you feel worried, however, do not hesitate to call your vet as they will know what to do in your circumstances.

Dog Sounds Congested_Petsmao

Strange Sleeping Position

If your puppy sleeps in a strange position, you will likely notice that it will sound congested. Most often, this noisy breathing occurs when the animal is on its back.

If your puppy sleeps in a normal position and sounds congested, do not hesitate to call your vet.

Dental Issues

Puppies can experience dental issues at a moment’s notice. You may notice that they develop an abscess or an infection of some form. Any animal’s mouth connects directly to the nasal passage, meaning dental issues will cause congestion.

Make sure you talk to a vet about how you can treat these conditions.


Obesity is not as common among puppies as it is in adult dogs. Sometimes, especially if your young dog is lazy, it may still put on a few extra pounds. The weight will put pressure on the trachea when asleep, causing the noisy breathing that you will notice.


There are some medications that puppies have to take for specific medical conditions. These prescriptions can cause a runny nose or congestion, which is a natural occurrence for many drowsy drugs. If you do feel concerned, you can contact your vet and try to switch the medications.

brown and white long haired small puppy

Puppy Congested Breathing

Finally, several medical conditions can cause your puppy to sound congested when it breathes. Some of those in the below list are more common among young dogs. Most of these conditions are treatable when you work with your veterinarian, which is essential so that your puppy does not experience more severe symptoms.


If your puppy has inhalant or seasonal allergies, you will notice their congestion. Typical stimuli for the animal include molds, dust mites, trees, weeds, and mildew. You will notice other symptoms including excessive itchiness, runny eyes, and sneezing. If possible, try to remove the allergens from your environment.

Air Quality

If your environment has poor air quality, your puppy may experience nasal congestion. Just as you do for an adult dog, try to place a filter in your home that can remove the pollutants. As the air starts to improve in your home, your puppy will start to breathe better.


Puppies and dogs use their noses to learn more about their environments, sniffing everything they see or notice. While engaging in this exploration process, your puppy may inhale something, blocking the nasal passages. You will notice that your pet will consistently paw at their nose, and eventually, they may develop a nose bleed.


Distemper is one of the most serious viruses that your puppy can experience. Your pet can heal, however, if you and your vet catch it early.

Try to get your puppy the vaccines it needs as early as possible to prevent this condition from occurring.

Dog Flu

Dog flu, also known as canine influenza, is an extremely contagious infection that your puppy can catch from a daycare center or kennel, for instance. Most cases are mild, meaning you can provide it with restful care. Your vet may recommend treatments like antibiotics or subcutaneous fluids.

Respiratory Infection

If you notice that mucus constantly runs from your puppy’s nose, it likely has a respiratory infection. Your vet can provide antibiotics that will quickly heal the condition. If your puppy gets chronic respiratory infections, it may need surgery on its sinuses to prevent future illnesses.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is the pooch version of the cold, and its scientific name is Bordetella. This illness is contagious, and dogs can pass it to each other.

Vets do provide a Bordetella vaccine that puppies can receive when they are between eight and 12 weeks of age. Most of the time, kennel cough goes away by itself.

dog houses

Remedies for Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion, most of the time, is a normal occurrence for dogs. You do not have to go to a vet or spend significant money if you are on a budget. There are several home remedies below.


Believe it or not, you can give your dog a small dose of Benadryl. It is an anti-histamine for these animals that will help to reduce congestion. You can call a pharmacy or your vet about the correct dosage you should give your dog.

Chicken Soup

When you are sick, you likely make yourself a pot of chicken soup. This same food can help your dog.

The healthy nutrients in the soup can give your dog the home remedy it needs. If you make the homemade variant, you can reduce the salt content.


If you live in a dry environment, your dog may have a significant level of congestion. Run a humidifier in your home to increase the amount of moisture. You will know within a few hours if this home appliance seems to help your dog.


Aromatherapy will help to relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion in your dog. Consult with your vet before you release peppermint or lavender oil into the air in your home. Some of these animals may have an allergic reaction to these aromatherapy products, producing even more symptoms.

Elderflower and Honey

If you know anything about natural remedies for colds, you probably have an understanding of elderflower. Mix this herb with a small amount of honey, giving a teaspoon to your dog once a day. This natural remedy will help to relieve the congestion if you provide it consistently.

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Helping a Congested Dog

Whether you have a puppy or dog, there are many reasons why it may sound congested. Your pet could sleep wrong, or it could be on some type of medication. Your dog or puppy could also sound congested because of their environment or allergies that they may experience.

Some puppies and dogs face a medical condition that causes the congestion they experience. It could be something as serious as an abscess or tumor, or it could be a minor condition like kennel cough. Most of the time, you can call your vet and get the treatment your pet needs.

If you cannot afford going to a vet, there are several home remedies you can consider. Try giving your pet herbs like elderflower and honey, or run a humidifier in your home. Believe it or not, you can also make chicken soup for your dog or puppy that will help to ease the congestion.


What Does it Mean When Your Dog Sounds Congested?

There are various reasons why your dog sounds congested. In many instances, the symptoms exist because of the anatomy or the age of your pet. Dogs with short snouts like pugs naturally engage in noisy breathing, while older pets typically have louder mechanisms.

Sometimes, medical conditions can lead to congestion among dogs and puppies. Some of these illnesses include respiratory infections, kennel cough, and distemper. Sometimes, congestion is a side effect of medications like sedatives. In other instances, there could be allergies or blockages in the nasal passage that lead to these conditions.

How Can I Help My Congested Dog?

Most of the time, congestion occurs due to the environment where your dog lives. If you can remove the allergens or pollutants in your home, the symptoms may eventually stop.
If the congestion comes from a medical condition, provide your dog with home remedies. These treatments could include chicken noodle soup or elder flower. If the problems persist, do not be afraid to take your dog to the vet.

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