Dog Breathing Problems: We Explore Some Causes and Home Remedies
Christopher Kjolseth - June 1st 2020
Nobody likes to see their pup suffer, and witnessing dog breathing problems can be especially scary. In this blog, we take a look at the symptoms, causes, and some home remedies for dog breathing problems.
It's important to know that home remedies are not always an option; if your dog is having severe breathing difficulties, you should get them to a vet as fast as possible.
If they stop breathing, you should attempt CPR as there may not be time to get to the vet (we go into more detail on this later).
Table Of Contents
It's not always easy to tell the difference between a harmless dog reverse sneeze, and a more serious breathing problem like kennel cough. If you see any of the following symptoms, your dog may have a breathing problem.
- Shaking when breathing in
- Snoring when breathing
Some breeds with short snouts like Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, or French Bulldogs often develop breathing problems; the reason for this is usually that the opening in their nose is too small. As a general rule, the more flat the face, the more likely the dog is to have breathing problems.
Dogs will often have breathing problems when laying down, walking, or at night. The extra pressure on their chest and throat caused by exercising, or by laying down can amplify the symptoms of an underlying breathing problem.
To have the best chance at improving your dog's heavy breathing, you must identify the underlying cause.
There are several reasons why your dog is breathing heavily, and some are more serious than others. Here are some of the most common:
- Old age
- Illness (Heart disease, Kennel cough, Aspiration pneumonia, Parainfluenza)
Though most people would prefer home remedies to dog breathing problems, in some cases, you must get your dog to the vet. Severe breathing problems can cause death, and the faster you get your dog to the vet, the better their chances of survival will be.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should immediately take your dog to the vet:
- Tongue going different color
- Pawing at mouth
- Gasping for breath
In cases where your dog has stopped breathing or is choking, you must act as fast as possible.
- Look in their throat to check if a foreign object blocks it.
- If there is an object, you can attempt to remove it carefully, or try the Heimlich on your dog. The video above is an excellent example of how to deal with a choking dog.
- If there is no object blocking their throat, you should attempt to administer CPR. The video above shows how to administer CPR to a dog.
- As soon as they are stable, take them to the vet immediately.
In less severe cases, you may be able to use home remedies for dog breathing problems. These can help your dog live a more comfortable life and reduce some of the symptoms we mentioned earlier.
- Stay out of hot and humid environments. Dogs don't sweat like we do, meaning they are more prone to breathing problems caused by hot and humid climates. Use air conditioning or open windows and doors to create a cooler environment.
- Reduce excitement or exercise. If you think your dogs breathing problems are related to old age, perhaps decrease the amount of activity they have, or exercise at a slower pace.
- CBD. While there isn't a lot of research on CBD as a treatment for dog breathing problems. A 2013 animal study concluded that CBD "may have beneficial effects in the treatment of obstructive airway disorders." (Read more about CBD oil for dogs)
- Antihistamines. If your pup suffers from Hay fever, bee stings, allergies, or inflamed nostrils, you may want to try an antihistamine like Benadryl for dogs. The general rule of thumb for dosage is 2mg/lb every 8 hours.
- Sterile Nasal drops. If your dog has a dry or congested nose , you may want to try sterile nasal drops. (two drops each nostril)
- Purchase an oxygen mask for dogs and tank. If your dog has ongoing severe breathing problems, you may want to talk to your vet about an oxygen tank and mask for your dog.
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