Maybe your dog has been wheezing since day one and maybe he just started. In either case, there could be a simple, treatable reason behind the wheezing, or there may be a more serious issue at hand. If your dog is wheezing, you’ll want to learn why it’s happening so you can obtain the tools required to help your furry friend through it.
Each dog is different, so if your dog begins to wheeze, don’t just assume it’s one thing because that’s what you’ve heard other dog owners talk about. Speaking with your veterinarian is perhaps the best way to determine the reason behind your dog’s wheeze, though you may be able to figure it out on your own as well. There are various reasons dogs wheeze:
Infectious Diseases – Some infections in a dog’s respiratory tract will make him have difficulty breathing. This could include an infection that resulted from a virus, bacteria or parasite. These infections are often picked up at parks, doggie daycares and other areas that dogs frequent. If a parasite is living in your dog, it could also get in the way of your dog’s lungs and airways, causing him to have difficulty breathing and respiratory distress.
Nasal Mites – Often referred to as reverse sneezing, this type of wheezing is caused by nasal mites settling down in your dog’s nasal passageways. Dogs such as bulldogs, boxers and pugs are more prone to reverse sneezing and wheezing, though it could happen to any dog if the circumstances are just right.
Collapsed Trachea – The trachea in a dog is made up of membranes and cartilage. Over time, it could become soft and will begin to lose strength. When this happens, the trachea collapses and blocks the airway. Your dog might snort and honk if his trachea is collapsed, so you should contact your veterinarian right away to have the dog examined.
Heart Disease – Heart disease and weight gain go hand in hand in dogs, just as they do in humans. If your dog begins to wheeze and you’ve noticed he might be overweight, chances are he has a heart condition due to a build-up of fluid. Weight gain can also decrease the cardio capacity of a dog, which could also result in wheezing.
Allergies – Allergies cause the lungs and throat to become inflamed, which makes it more difficult for the dog to breath. Some dogs deal with seasonal allergies that only show symptoms at certain times of the year, and others will develop allergies that present symptoms all year long.
If your dog starts to wheeze, but also shows other signs of having a cold or a minor virus, it may not be anything you need to worry about. If it subsides after a day or two, you can probably assume it was just a little cold. If your dog’s wheezing continually gets worse, is accompanied by blue gums or labored breathing, or simply sticks around for too long, it could be a more serious issue that requires medical care. You’ll want to talk to your veterinarian to get your dog the help he needs. Some solutions might include:
Antibiotics and Medication – If your dog is suffering from an infectious disease, the veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics or another type of medication. If the dog has picked up a parasite, you’d probably be instructed to use some type of de-wormer . These products are typically just added to your dog’s regular meals and work to rid the digestive system of tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and various others. If the dog’s trachea is collapsed, a cough suppressant might be recommended to reduce swelling.
Harnesses – When you take your dog out in public, it could help reduce wheezing if you use a harness instead of a collar. A dog with a collapsed trachea is going to already have trouble breathing, so when a collar is placed on the dog, and there is a tug from the leash, it’s going to worsen the problem. There are plenty of comfortable harnesses to aid you in achieving less wheezing.
Weight Loss – If your dog’s weight problem is contributing to heart disease and wheezing, it might be time to come up with a weight loss plan. You should include your veterinarian in coming up with the plan, and you should have your dog monitored throughout the process. Simply giving your dog a well-balanced diet and increasing exercise, even to the smallest degree, will begin to help.
Allergy Aids – There are a wide range of things you can do to aid in allergy relief for your dog, which will in turn relieve wheezing. If your dog has seasonal allergies, take him for walks during the day, instead of mornings and evenings when allergens are stronger. Gently wipe irritants off him after a walk outside, and use an air purifier in the house to keep the air cleaner. If the allergies are chronic, you could use antihistamine tablets and other allergy relief supplements as your veterinarian directs.
Dogs have a lot of similarities to humans, and that includes health issues. If your dog has begun wheezing, it could be for a variety of reasons, but it’s up to you to figure it out so you can help. Whether he has developed heart disease, is dealing with a collapsed trachea or has recently started reacting to seasonal allergies, there are solutions to help him live more comfortably.