Dog with shortness of breath: see what it can mean and when to seek help!

 Dog with shortness of breath: see what it can mean and when to seek help!

Tracy Wilkins

A dog with shortness of breath can be a cause of great concern for owners! After all, seeing your puppy all panting and struggling to breathe is a heart-wrenching scene, right? This disorder can be caused by several causes and, consequently, requires different treatments.

To better understand the subject, Patas da Casa had a chat with veterinarian Cristina Elillo. The professional clarifies what can cause the problem and teaches how to realize that your dog is going through it.

Shortness of breath in a dog: how to identify it?

The main symptoms cited by the specialist are relatively easy to identify. "Change in respiratory rhythm, such as short and rapid breathing, with wheezing (abnormal breathing noise). Open mouth, change in tongue coloration, which may even turn purplish, and extended neck ", lists the veterinarian. In addition, coughing can also indicate that the dog is short of breath.

Causes for shortness of breath in dogs: stress and heart problems are some possibilities

Shortness of breath in dogs can be a symptom associated with many issues, from emotional problems to conditions related to the animal's physical health. "Diseases or injuries to the airways are the main causes. Obese and elderly animals are more predisposed, as well as brachycephalic breeds, which have an anatomical conformation that also makes them predisposed (to shortness of breath) ", he explains.Dr. Cristina.

The so-called brachycephalic breeds, mentioned by the veterinarian, have a short and flat snout. This anatomical formation of the animal makes the dogs of this breed more subject to the occurrence of shortness of breath. Some examples of brachycephalic breeds are: Pug, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, English Bulldog and Boxer.

"Heart disease, tumors, anemia, neurological diseases and tracheal collapse can also be among the causes. Increased body temperature (hyperthermia), stress and anxiety can also cause this symptom," adds the professional. Only a veterinarian will be able to tell for sure what is happening to your pet. Do not hesitate to schedule an appointment as soon asnotice any changes in your pet's behavior!

But in the meantime, here are some possible reasons for shortness of breath in your dog:

  • Heat: very hot days or an intense series of exercises can influence the dog's breathing. This is because, unlike people, dogs do not have the ability to sweat to keep their body temperature stable. That is, they end up exchanging heat through breathing.
  • Pain: a dog in pain may also be panting, so keep an eye out for other signs that the dog may be in pain, such as sensitivity to touch and lack of appetite.
  • Heart problems: Obese and older dogs are more likely to develop a heart-related disease. However, younger animals are not free from this possibility. A good way to identify the problem is to observe your dog's willingness to exercise.
  • Respiratory problems: Shortness of breath in dogs can mean some major complication in the respiratory system. Some possibilities are: bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, among others. Stay tuned for signs such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, fever, loss of appetite and runny nose. A dog sniffling a lot, for example, can mean one of these disorders.
  • Tracheal collapse: the disorder is a reduction in the diameter of the trachea, which ultimately interferes with airflow.
  • Phobia, anxiety and stress: as Dr. Cristina has already explained, psychological problems can also affect the animal's respiratory health. Situations that make the pet nervous and afraid can be a trigger for this shortness of breath.

It is worth noting, however, that only a veterinarian will be able to make the diagnosis clearly! Pay attention to your pet's health and try to keep up with the follow-up with a professional. "A visit to the veterinarian for the annual check-up, care with high temperatures and vaccination up to date are some of the measures that can be taken (to avoid shortness of breath)", advises the vet.Dr. Cristina Elillo.

Dog with shortness of breath: what to do?

Have you noticed that your dog is short of breath? According to the veterinarian, the first thing to do is to remain calm. "Stress can aggravate the condition. Immediately, take the animal to an emergency room, where it should be stabilized through oxygen therapy ", clarifies the professional.

Try to understand the context and find out when this started to happen to your dog. Does he pant after a series of physical exercises or after some stressful situation? Observe carefully and make the dog as comfortable as possible.

In other cases, when the dog has a purplish tongue, the disorder may be a little more serious. This coloration may indicate that the pet is cyanotic, that is, with a lack of adequate oxygenation in the blood and tissues. This is an emergency sign, as well as fainting and loss of consciousness. If this occurs with your dog, it is high time to seek a specialist. "In theIf you can't get to the vet quickly and the animal has a purple tongue, you should try heart massage and blowing into the nostrils with the mouth closed. You can perform this manoeuvre three times or until you reach the veterinary hospital or clinic," warns Dr Cristina.

Treatment for shortness of breath in dogs: what can I not do while the dog is being treated?

A consultation is essential for the problem to be diagnosed and treated correctly. The treatment will depend on what is causing the dog's shortness of breath. According to Dr. Cristina, the chosen path is usually drug treatment. "Most of the time, with good results. It depends on the cause", she clarifies. While the dog is being treated, avoid some types of food.behavior:

  • Do not let the dog get agitated

  • Walk in moderation, giving preference to light walks at cooler times

  • Avoid situations that put your pet under stress

  • Don't stop treatment in the middle, even if your dog already seems to be improving

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.