If you suffer from rhinitis, you know how uncomfortable the nasal condition inflaming your mucous membranes makes you feel. You can blow your nose -- which is not an option for Fido -- and use prescription or over-the-counter medications for relief. If your dog starts exhibiting signs of rhinitis, such as sneezing, stuffed-up nose, nasal discharge and loud breathing, take him to the vet for a diagnosis. Medication for relief depends on what's causing the condition.
Finding the Cause
In order to relieve your dog's nasal inflammation and rhinitis, your vet must figure out the cause. Common causes include fungal, bacterial or viral infections; tooth abscesses; foreign bodies in the nasal passages; nasal polyps; or nasal tumors. While allergies often cause rhinitis in people, dogs suffer from skin issues when faced with allergens, rather than from nasal problems. Diagnostic testing includes a complete blood count and blood chemistry, urinalysis, nasal tissue biopsy, a rhinoscopy -- a scope placed within the nose -- or magnetic resonance imaging. A foreign object requires removal, either manually or surgically. Polyps or tumors require surgery and further testing.
Mild Symptom Relief
If your nose is constantly congested, you might use a humidifier for relief. Your dog also benefits from staying in a room with a humidifier for temporary symptom relief before you get him to the vet. Another option is to take your dog into the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam and vapors offer him some relief. If your dog has mild inflammation, your vet might recommend over-the-counter saline drops to ease discomfort.
Bacterial, Viral or Fungal Infections
If the culprit is a fungal infection, the most effective treatment involves your vet putting the dog under anesthesia and soaking the nose with antifungal medication. One application generally does the trick. Dogs with bacterial infections usually have copious amounts of pus in their nasal discharge. Bacterial infections require a course of the proper oral antibiotics for the particular bacteria. The viruses causing canine distemper, parainfluenza and adenovirus can cause rhinitis and serious inflammation -- but dogs current on their vaccinations shouldn't develop symptoms. Initial viral infections usually progress to bacterial infections and are treated accordingly.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Your vet might prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for symptom and pain relief. Some of these medications -- marketed under trade names such as Previcox, Rimadyl and Deramaxx -- serve to reduce inflammation in dogs suffering from arthritis. While these powerful medications can relieve symptoms, they can also cause side effects, especially gastrointestinal issues.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.