Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing?

Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing?

Like humans, dogs can suffer from dyspnea (shortness of breath) and can choke. It is very important that if you notice a breathing problem in your pet, you go immediately to the vet since breathing is vital and any problem in the respiratory system can be life-threatening. It is true that there are some breeds that have a certain tendency to these respiratory problems such as bulldogs (French and English) or boxers, among others, but it does not mean that they will always suffer from these problems. We must also take into account the nutritional health of our canine, since if the dog weighs more than it should, it could tire more easily.

In this unCOMO article we answer a frequent question among those who live with dogs: Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing? Here are the reasons that cause respiratory problems in dogs and how to solve it.

How to detect respiratory problems in my dog

Breathing in dogs is very important, maybe even more than in people since in addition to providing oxygen when they are hot, dogs use the gasp as perspiration through the tongue to calm down. Therefore, if it is hot or you are out for a walk and your dog is panting, it is not an alarming symptom.

However, you do have to be aware if your dog suffers from any of the symptoms that we are going to comment on below. There may be two types of respiration: dyspnea and tachypnea. Dyspnea is the difficulty breathing and tachypnea is when breathing is excessively rapid and depending on the symptoms it may be due to one or another cause. To know if your dog suffers any breathing problems you have to detect any of these symptoms:

  • When you breathe, make very loud sounds.
  • Does not bark well or has lost his voice.
  • When you breathe your abdomen and chest move a lot. Normally when dogs breathe their chest moves but it is not common if you see your dog lying down that you notice this mobility intensely.
  • The same goes for the nostrils. It seems like a small detail but you can tell if he has a problem if his nostrils open too wide when he breathes.
  • When you notice that you need to change your posture and you hear your breathing different when being in one posture or another.
  • If you breathe with your mouth open, you may be having a hard time.
  • Breathing is faster than normal.
  • You have a constant or strong cough.

Respiratory problems in dogs can occur at any age And as soon as you notice any strange symptoms in his breathing, it is essential that you go to the vet urgently as it could mean a respiratory or cardiovascular disease and put his life at risk. Here we explain what the possible causes and respiratory diseases most common in dogs.

Why My Dog Has a Difficulty Breathing - How to Detect Respiratory Problems in My Dog

Strange body

Your dog may have swallowed some toy, stone or any object that you have found and biting or playing has got stuck in your throat. If you notice that your dog tries to expel it or coughs and it is difficult to breathe, go immediately to the vet so they can extract it as soon as possible. This is the most common cause that can cause suffocation in your pet.

Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing - Foreign body

Kennel cough

It is so called because dogs infect each other and it is very common in these places. Kennel cough is a infection of the pharynx and bronchi caused by bacteria or viruses. If your dog suffers from it, you may find that he has a constant and dry cough, in addition, he may have runny nose or runny nose. In some dogs it can also cause sneezing or even vomiting, but not always. If, for example, you go on a trip and you have to leave your dog in a care center together with other dogs, you can vaccinate him against this disease so that it does not spread. It does not mean that whenever they are together with other dogs they get sick but it is better to be safe. Treatment is based on antibiotics to help eliminate bacteria from your body.

Collapse of the trachea

Also called respiratory distress syndrome. It is very common in small dog breeds like in the Chihuahua or the Yorkshire and even in toy poodle or dogs smaller than normal. It is a narrowing of the windpipe at some point in the windpipe that makes it difficult for him to breathe and causes him to cough, since air cannot enter or leave. These breeds of dogs have a tendency to this disease and with age it gets worse. They can be operated on, but the surgery does not give great results either, although something improves, but it is inevitable that they will suffer it and more when they get old. You have to take this into account if you want to have a dog of these breeds.

Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing - Trachea collapse


Tracheitis is a inflammation of the windpipe That may be caused or because your dog has been barking so much that the pharynx has been irritated or because he has swallowed a foreign body and it has irritated him. It is not usually easy to detect but if you notice that your dog is coughing or you think that something has been stuck in his throat, it is advisable that you go to your veterinarian to give him something to deflate the area and take away the pain.

Lung edema

This is the most dangerous respiratory disease your pet can have. It is a buildup of fluid in the lungs which is usually blood. This is usually due to heart problems, so if your dog has had or suffers from a heart disease that makes it not pump properly, it can develop pulmonary edema. When a dog has this pathology, it usually has a very fast breathing and cough that may include blood. Most likely, the vet will have to bring your dog in for tests and treatment, and then he will need rest.

Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing - Lung Edema


Bronchitis can be due to several causes. Your dog may have an allergy and this causes bronchitis. It can also be because you have inhaled smoke or due to some bacteria, then it would be infectious bronchitis. Bronchitis is detected by a dry cough, especially if you are allergic.

As we have seen, most pathologies present with a cough, sometimes dry or strong and others accompanied by mucus. It is not the only characteristic as we have seen, so in the event of any strange symptoms it is best visit the vet so that you carry out the relevant tests and can treat you in the best way.

Brachycephalic dogs

Brachycephalic dogs They are those that have a very short and flattened head with a small snout that does not protrude. The best known are the bulldogs both French and English, but also the boxer, the pug or pug or the shi tzu, among others, are within this group.

These dogs usually have more breathing problems Because they can develop the disease that bears their name, the brachycephalic syndrome. It does not mean that all dogs with these characteristics are going to suffer from it or that it is the same in all, but it does mean that they are more prone to it.

Their problem is that with their head and muzzle so flattened, the organs and tissues that make up their mouth and respiratory system are in a smaller space and have to adapt. This makes these breeds have more predisposition to snoring or panting.

Symptoms of brachycephalic breathing problems

The symptoms that you can detect, in addition to snoring, which is somewhat more common, are that you have difficulty breathing, that you get too tired or feel fatigue, that you have vomiting or white drool from the mouth area or that your gums are bluish . These symptoms are decisive since they are not so normal and, therefore, if you have a dog of this breed and it presents any of them, it is recommended that you visit the vet. The gums or blue tongue determines a lack of oxygen, so it is not reaching all areas well.

Brachycephalic syndrome treatment

And what happens in this syndrome? It is characterized because it presents (not always) some conditions such as having very small or narrow nostrils, that the canal that goes from the nose to the mouth has a different shape due to its adaptation to the small space, that the palate is elongated and can block the airways or collapse of the pharynx. They do not always occur but all these characteristics cause them a constant shortness of breath.

And how do I treat my dog ​​if he has it? The vet can give you several options depending on the problem your dog has, but some of the most common are the bronchodilator drugs to help you breathe or a surgery by which some formation defects are corrected. That is not why you have to be afraid of having a breed with these characteristics since, as we have seen, not everyone suffers from it and has possible solutions and treatments.

Why is my dog ​​having trouble breathing - Brachycephalic dogs

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