Tried fresh, human-grade food for your dog yet? 60% Off First Order at Ollie. Redeem Offer

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy

Written by

Mary Nielsen

Reviewed by

Updated on:

Some articles include affiliate links, and we may receive compensation when you make a purchase through these links.
Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 1

Having an ill-stricken pet can be daunting. Seeing your beloved companion wheezing, coughing, and having difficulty in breathing is definitely alarming. Knowing what’s causing the symptom and how you can properly address it is essential to maintaining our furry friends’ health.

This article will cover and offer valuable insights on the causes of dog wheezing and discuss practical treatments options available to help relieve our pets' discomfort due to this ailment. Here, we’ll take a look at the causes and conditions related to wheezing in dogs, symptoms to watch out for, diagnosis and treatment approaches, as well as preventive measures to stop further episodes from occurring.

So read on and learn about the best ways to help your precious pup overcome its uncomfortable condition.

What Does Dog Wheezing Sound Like?

It sounds like a high-pitched whistle or rattle, similar to a flute quietly playing. It is caused by something blocking the normal flow of air in and out of the airway, resulting in a whistling sound as a dog breathes.

Chewy Online Dog Supplies


30% Off at Chewy.com

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

The sound of a wheezing dog is usually heard during exhalation and is usually accompanied by difficulty breathing. It is important to note that the sound of wheezing is different from a cough or sneeze. Even if your dog is nasal breathing, you will still be able to hear the sound of wheezing. The sound is typically a high-pitched whistling sound.

It is important to recognize and understand the symptoms of dog wheezing. If your dog is making a high-pitched whistling or squeaking sound when it exhales, it is likely that your dog is wheezing. In this case, it is important to take your dog to the vet for a diagnosis.

By understanding what dog wheezing sounds like, recognizing it, and taking preventive measures, you can help your dog stay healthy and happy. It is also important to note that chronic bronchitis can also cause wheezing in dogs. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, it is important to take it to the vet for an examination as soon as possible.

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 2

Causes of Dog Wheezing

Dog wheezing can be caused by a variety of different factors, including allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, heart disease, foreign objects in the airway, and more. Wheezing is a common symptom of underlying respiratory issues, so it is important to be aware of the potential causes of wheezing in dogs, in order to take the appropriate steps to diagnose and treat the condition.

1. Allergies

Allergies in dogs can be caused by a variety of things, including food, environmental factors, and flea saliva. Common allergens include pollens, mold spores, dust mites, and animal proteins. When a dog is having an allergic reaction, other symptoms such as itchiness, hives, swelling, red and inflamed skin, diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, and itchy ears may also be present. Allergies can cause airways to become inflamed and swollen, constricting air passages, resulting in wheezing.

In some cases, allergies may lead to chronic bronchitis, which can worsen over time and lead to further coughing and wheezing. Small breeds of dogs are more likely to wheeze if they have seasonal or pollen allergies. Allergens enter the airways, triggering an overreaction of the immune system, which can lead to airway swelling and difficulty breathing. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening if not treated immediately, so it is important to seek help from a vet if your dog is suffering from an allergic reaction and is having difficulty breathing.

In order to diagnose allergies in dogs, the vet will need to perform tests to rule out other conditions. Once the underlying cause of the wheezing is determined, a treatment plan can be created to keep the pet comfortable. Medications such as antihistamines, steroids, and nasal sprays can be prescribed to help control the symptoms. Environmental modifications, such as limiting exposure to allergens and using air purifiers, can also help reduce the severity and frequency of the allergic reactions. Additionally, dietary modifications may be necessary to help reduce inflammation and improve the dog's overall health.

Wheezing caused by allergies is usually not severe, but can be uncomfortable for the pet. By taking the necessary preventative measures and following a treatment plan created by a vet, pet owners can ensure their dog's allergies are managed and their pet is comfortable.

2. Asthma

Asthma in dogs is an allergic disease that causes inflammation in the airways, leading to difficulty breathing. Dogs that are exposed to cigarette smoke or have poor air quality are more likely to develop asthma. Symptoms of asthma in dogs include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Wheezing is usually accompanied by coughing and other respiratory symptoms.

It is important to recognize the signs of asthma in dogs and to take the necessary steps to prevent and treat it. Some preventative measures include avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and poor air quality, keeping the dog away from other dogs with kennel cough, and vaccinating the pet against infectious diseases.

If your dog is wheezing, it is important to seek help from a vet immediately as asthma can be life-threatening if left untreated. Proper diagnosis and treatment will help your pet lead a healthy, comfortable life.

Dog Wheezing

3. Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases in dogs can cause wheezing, and are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that can be transmitted from one dog to another. Kennel cough is one of the most common infectious diseases in dogs and can cause coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory symptoms.

Exercise can worsen the symptoms of kennel cough, and the main symptom of kennel cough is a persistent dry cough. Kennel cough is most common in dogs that are kept in boarding facilities or adopted from shelters, and unvaccinated dogs exposed to other dogs in public locations.

Upper respiratory infections can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, and can affect exercise tolerance. It is important to be aware of the potential causes of wheezing in dogs, in order to take the appropriate steps to diagnose and treat the condition. If your dog is showing signs of a respiratory infection, it is important to seek help from a vet. They will be able to diagnose and treat the infection, as well as prescribe medications to help control symptoms.

It is also important to take preventative measures to ensure your dog does not contract an infectious disease. Vaccinations, good hygiene, and regular vet visits are the best ways to prevent infectious diseases in dogs. Preventing infectious diseases in dogs is the best way to avoid wheezing, and can be done through vaccinations, good hygiene, and regular vet visits.

Vaccinations are important for protecting your pet from a variety of infectious diseases, including kennel cough, parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. Good hygiene is also important to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and includes washing hands and keeping areas where your pet spends a lot of time clean and free from bacteria and viruses.

4. Irritation

Irritation in dogs can be caused by parasites, infections, allergies, or environmental factors. Irritation can cause the airways to become inflamed and swollen, constricting air passages and leading to wheezing. In small breeds of dogs, such as American bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and pugs, irritation is a more common cause of wheezing. When a dog is having an allergic reaction, other symptoms such as itchiness, hives, swelling, red and inflamed skin, diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, and itchy ears may also be present.

When a dog is exposed to irritants like household cleaning products, perfumes, scented candles, incense, smoke, hairspray, and aerosol deodorants, they may react with coughing or sneezing. If a dog is sensitive to these products or scents, they may also experience wheezing. Dogs that are exposed to cigarette smoke or have poor air quality are more likely to develop asthma, which can cause wheezing.

It is important to note that young dogs are more likely to experience wheezing due to their tendency to chew on just about anything. If a small item gets lodged in the airways, it can cause wheezing. Items that could get stuck in a dog's airways if inhaled include food, pieces of toys, and small sticks and plant materials. If an object is inhaled, a dog will likely have trouble breathing, appear anxious or upset, and may exhibit a honking sound.

In order to prevent irritation in dogs and reduce the risk of wheezing, it is important to use good parasite prevention, treat skin infections, and manage allergies. Regular bathing with a soothing shampoo, avoiding walking during high pollen times, and adding digestive enzymes to meals can also help prevent irritation.

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 3

5. Foreign Object

Another cause for you to consider is that it may be due to a foreign object that has been inhaled. Dogs can inhale objects like bones, balls, toys, and random household objects that can get stuck in the airways. Inhaled objects can cause a partial occlusion of the airways, leading to difficulty breathing and wheezing. Symptoms of an object lodged in a dog's airways are pawing at the mouth, drooling, choking or gagging, licking the lips repeatedly, refusing to eat, vomiting, lethargy or restlessness, and a distended or painful abdomen.

Younger dogs are more likely to experience difficulty breathing due to a foreign object stuck in their airways. If a dog is having difficulty breathing due to a foreign object, it is important to seek veterinary care right away. If the object is stuck in the nasal passages or further down the airways, it can be life threatening and should be treated as an emergency.

The vet will be able to diagnose the issue by examining the dog and taking x-rays or other imaging tests. In some cases, the object will need to be surgically removed, and the dog may need to be put under general anesthesia. It is important to take preventative measures to ensure your dog does not inhale any foreign objects. This includes keeping the house clean and free of small items, supervising playtime, and avoiding playing with sticks, bones, and other small objects.

6. Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a condition in which the cartilage in the supportive rings around the trachea weakens and collapses. This can cause a partial occlusion in a dog's airways, leading to difficulty breathing and wheezing. Small breed dogs are more likely to be affected by tracheal collapse. Symptoms of a collapsed trachea include a honking cough, abnormal breathing sounds, including wheezing and gagging when pressure is applied to the neck.

It can be caused by numerous factors, including obesity, a collapsed trachea, airway inflammation, airway irritants, and genetics. Overweight or obese dogs are more at risk of tracheal collapse due to the extra pressure on the dog's airways. If a dog is suffering from a collapsed trachea, they will have difficulty breathing and may also experience a honking cough. Airway inflammation and irritation can also cause a partial occlusion in the airways, leading to wheezing.

Diagnosis of a collapsed trachea can be made through a physical examination, palpation, and imaging tests such as chest x-rays. Based on the diagnosis, treatment for tracheal collapse can vary. If the tracheal collapse is caused by allergies, medications and supplements to reduce inflammation and manage allergies may be prescribed. For severe cases of tracheal collapse, surgery may be necessary.

In order to prevent further tracheal collapse, it is important to take measures to reduce the risk. This includes avoiding use of collars and instead using a harness for walks, avoiding areas with a lot of dust, and keeping the dog at a healthy weight.

7. Heart Disease

Heart disease in dogs is a serious condition that can cause wheezing. Heartworms can cause wheezing in dogs as the worms poke out of the heart valves and tickle the lung tissue, resulting in swelling and a cough or wheeze. Overweight or obese dogs are more likely to suffer from congestive heart failure, which can cause wheezing. Symptoms of heartworm disease include coughing, lethargy, loss of energy, loss of appetite, and wheezing with minimal activity or eating. Heart diseases typically cause wheezing in older dogs, but can sometimes occur in younger dogs as well.

Heart disease can cause difficulty breathing and wheezing due to lethargy and exercise intolerance. As heartworm disease progresses, it can cause further lethargy, loss of energy, and loss of appetite. Congestive heart failure cannot be cured, but can be managed through medications and treatments. Coughing up fluid is a symptom of congestive heart failure.

It is important to work with a veterinarian to diagnose and treat heart disease in dogs in order to prevent and manage wheezing. Diagnosis of heart disease can be made through a physical examination, palpation, EKG, and ultrasound. Treatment for heart disease in dogs can include prescription medicines and supplements, dietary adjustments, and even surgical intervention depending on the severity of the condition.

Prevention of heart disease in dogs includes avoiding exposure to other dogs in public locations, such as a dog park, and keeping your dog at a healthy weight. It is also important to manage any respiratory issues, such as allergies, asthma, and infections, as these can worsen heart disease.

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 4

Symptoms of Dog Wheezing

If your dog is wheezing, you may notice the following symptoms:

  1. Labored breathing: Your dog may have difficulty inhaling and exhaling, resulting in rapid or shallow breathing.
  2. Coughing: Wheezing in dogs can be accompanied by coughing, which may be dry or productive.
  3. Cyanosis: In severe cases, wheezing can cause the gums or tongue of your dog to turn blue or gray due to lack of oxygen.
  4. Restlessness: Your dog may appear restless or anxious, trying to find a comfortable position to breathe.
  5. Exercise intolerance: Dogs with wheezing may have difficulty exercising or may tire quickly due to their compromised respiratory function.
Get 60% off your first order

 

Prevention of Dog Wheezing

As a responsible dog owner, keeping your furry friend healthy and ensuring they can breathe easily is a top priority. While some causes of dog wheezing may be beyond your control, there are steps you can take to prevent wheezing in dogs and promote their respiratory health.

  1. Avoid Exposure to Smoke: Just like humans, dogs can be sensitive to smoke and other airborne irritants. Avoid smoking near your dog, and keep them away from areas where there is heavy smoke, such as bonfires or barbecues. Indoor smoking should also be avoided as it can negatively impact your dog's respiratory health.
  2. Keep Your Dog's Environment Clean: Regularly clean your dog's living environment, including their bedding, toys, and any areas they frequent. This helps to reduce the accumulation of dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens that can trigger wheezing in dogs.
  3. Avoid Exposure to Allergens: Identify and minimize your dog's exposure to potential allergens that may trigger wheezing, such as pollen, dust mites, and mold. Keep your dog indoors during peak pollen seasons, use air purifiers in your home, and regularly clean your dog's coat to remove allergens.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight: Proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight can support your dog's overall health, including their respiratory system. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your dog's breed, age, and size, and avoid overfeeding or feeding your dog table scraps which can lead to obesity and respiratory issues.
  5. Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Regular exercise helps to keep your dog's lungs and respiratory muscles strong and healthy. Ensure your dog gets regular exercise, but avoid excessive exercise in extreme weather conditions, as it can trigger wheezing in dogs. Mental stimulation, such as interactive toys and puzzles, can also keep your dog's mind engaged and reduce stress, which can impact respiratory health.
  6. Avoid Irritants in Cleaning Products: Some cleaning products can release fumes that can irritate your dog's respiratory system. Opt for pet-friendly and natural cleaning products, and ensure that your dog is not exposed to any strong fumes or chemicals during cleaning activities.
  7. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Regular visits to the vet are crucial for maintaining your dog's overall health, including their respiratory system. Your vet can assess your dog's respiratory health, provide vaccinations to prevent respiratory infections, and detect any early signs of respiratory issues.
  8. Be Mindful of Your Dog's Breathing: Pay attention to your dog's breathing patterns and any changes in their respiratory behavior. If you notice persistent wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing, consult your vet promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.

By following these essential tips, you can take proactive measures to prevent wheezing in dogs and keep your furry friend's respiratory system healthy. With proper care and attention, you can help your furry friend breathe easy and enjoy a healthy and happy life.

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 5

Treatment for Wheezing in Dogs

Once the underlying cause of the wheezing has been identified, the next step is to determine the best treatment for it. Treatment options may include medications, environmental modification, and diet modifications. Depending on the cause, some treatments may require emergency veterinarian care.

1. Medications

There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat wheezing in dogs. Depending on the underlying cause, the vet may prescribe medications to help ease coughing, wheezing, and airway inflammation. For example, if the vet suspects allergies, they may prescribe an antihistamine or allergy medication.

For more serious cases of wheezing, such as chronic bronchitis or collapsed trachea, the vet may prescribe corticosteroids or bronchodilators. It is also important to note that if the wheezing is caused by an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

In some cases, the vet may also suggest emergency medicine if the wheezing is life threatening. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action to treat and manage wheezing in dogs.

2. Environmental Modification

Environmental modification for wheezing in dogs involves avoiding allergens and irritants, keeping the home clean, and using a humidifier. Pet owners should use pet-friendly shampoos to reduce dander and allergens on the pet, as well as regularly clean carpets and furniture.

The use of air filters and keeping the dog away from cigarette smoke, poor air quality, and other sources of irritation can help improve the dog's respiratory system. Additionally, keeping the air humid can help reduce airway inflammation and chest x-rays may be recommended by the vet.

3. Diet Modifications

Diet modifications can help reduce symptoms of wheezing in dogs. When the vet suspects allergies, it is important to identify and avoid any food allergens that may be causing respiratory distress. Processed meats, dried fruits, and pickled foods should be avoided. Fresh meats, bland carbohydrates, and low-sodium options are recommended.

Additionally, if the vet suspects a weight problem, a weight loss diet may be prescribed to help reduce strain on the respiratory system. By following these dietary guidelines, you can help keep your dog healthy and reduce the risk of wheezing.

Breathless Barks: Understanding Dog Wheezing and How to Help Your Furry Friend Breathe Easy 6

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog make a wheezing sound?

My dog may be making a wheezing sound due to an obstruction in their airway, such as an allergy, infection, or blockage. Treatment options are available, so it is important to speak to a vet to identify and treat the underlying cause.

How can I help my dog with wheezing?

If your dog has been wheezing, it is important to take immediate action to help them feel better. Keeping your pet in a calm and well-ventilated environment, removing potential triggers from their environment, and seeking veterinary advice are all essential steps that you can take to help your dog with their wheezing.

What are the signs of respiratory distress in a dog?

Signs of respiratory distress in a dog can include panting, difficulty breathing, coughing, blue-tinged gums, and flared nostrils. Reduced energy levels and agitation may also be present. It is important to monitor your pet’s behavior and obtain medical attention if any signs of respiratory distress arise.

Summary

Dog wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound heard during exhalation, can be caused by many different things including allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, heart disease, foreign objects in the airway, and irritation. Prevention is key for avoiding these various conditions, as certain aspects may become life-threatening. Routine vet visits are essential.

When wheezing does occur, diagnosis from a veterinarian can be conducted through bloodwork, chest x-rays, and physical examinations. Treatment plans will depend on the diagnosis and commonly include medications, environmental and dietary modifications, as well as weight loss diets.

Pet owners are encouraged to administer preventative care and utilize measures that reduce exposure to allergens, promote good hygiene, and provide adequate ventilation. By following these preventative steps, dog owners will be able to create a safe, comfortable environment where their pup won't have to worry about wheezing.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Scroll to Top