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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My dog has a stuffy nose and was not eating for a few days.

Resolved Question:

My dog has a stuffy nose and was not eating for a few days. Went to the vet who put her on heart medication (enalapril) after X-rays. She had a bad reaction to the medicine and was listless and lethargic. Stopped the medication and she improved and gave her some liverwurst. She ate in (first food in three days). Could her sense of smell be the problem? The vet ignored the stuffy nose but today (she's 16 years old) she has more energy than she has had. Liverwurst has a strong smell that's why I'm questioning the sense of smell as being the problem with her loss of appetite. She does have a heart murmer and the X-rays showed an enlarged heart but that medication was not the answer.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I'm sorry you have had such a long wait to get a response to your question. I just logged on and saw your question and have replied immediately.

It appears that you have inadvertently opened 3 separate questions. I will close the other 2 for you - but your account may have been charged each time. If that is the case, please contact the customer service department. They will be happy to help you. You can reach them here:


I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

Do you see discharge from her nose? If yes, what colour?


Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Nasal congestion can definitely decrease appetite, just as a cold does with us. If the nasal discharge is green or bloody then your dog should be on antibiotics as this would indicate infection.

In terms of what you can do to help Sophie, I would suggest:

1. Encourage her to eat.

As with us when we have a cold, when the nose gets stuffed up food loses its flavour.

Liverwurst is high in fat and might lead to digestive upset if you give too much.

So, you can offer Sophie a variety of canned food which has much more smell than dry. Also, you can warm the food up a little in the microwave as warm food smells more than cold.

You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into Sophie's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Boil a chicken breast and then put it in the blender with water to make a baby-food consistency gruel to offer.

You could pick up nutristat It is a calorie-dense paste that you can syringe into them to get maximum caloric impact from a given volume of food.

I'm afraid you may have to force feed her with a syringe to get her started if she is really reluctatn to eat. The human baby food (or making your own puree with cooked chicken breast in a blender with lots of water) goes through a syringe quite well.

2. Encourage her to drink.

What you can do is try to get some calories into her in a liquid form - that way she is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering the liquid.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or the canned tuna) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand). Whiskas makes a tetra pack of "Kitty Milk" that is lactose free milk with flavouring added. Dogs like this too.

You could get some (onion-free) chicken or beef broth and dilute it 50:50 with water, and offer that.

3. Clean her nose.

You can put a bit of warm water on a washcloth, wring it out, then hold it on her nose (if she'll let you) to soften any dried mucus so it comes off.

4. Steam her.

Take Sophie into the bathroom while you run a hot shower for 15 minutes. The hot, steamy air will help to loosen any nasal secretions so he can sneeze the mucus out and clear the airways. Doing this twice a day would be great! You could offer her some canned food while the shower is on so she didn't get too frightened.

Alternatively, you could use a humidifier in a room she is in most.

5. Put drops in her nose.

Just go to the pharmacy and ask for ophthalmic saline, or have a look in the contact lens section. What you want it just sterile saline drops to relieve dry eyes - NO medication in it. The pharmacist should be able to point it out to you. Put one drop in each nostril twice daily. The idea is that you are helping to moisten the area so Sophie can sneeze out any congestion in there. Continue for a week.

Here is an example of a suitable product:

If Sophie is refusing all food, develops green or bloody nasal discharge, is more lethargic or depressed, is vomiting or having trouble breathing, or in any way getting worse, then please take her to see your veterinarian promptly!

Good luck with her! She is lucky to have someone looking out for her!

If you feel that this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback. If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


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