Dyspnea or Respiratory Problems in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Disnea o Problemas respiratorios en Perros: Síntomas y Tratamiento

Respiratory problems in dogs are very common and almost all of us are aware of them, although sometimes we stay with the most common ones such as colds, distemper or asthma.

That is why on this occasion Waggy's compiled all the important data about dyspnea, one of these respiratory problems that does not have the same diffusion as the previous ones. Stay and together we will discover what it is, what are its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Likewise, we look for recommendations to prevent it.

Are you interested in the topic? Scroll down and discover a world of useful information to guarantee the good of your furry one.

What is dyspnea in dogs?

Dyspnea is a difficulty breathing that can be caused by heart or respiratory diseases, however, they are also caused by intense exercise, poisoning, anemia, among others.

Causes of dyspnea

Heart problems

Dyspnea is the main symptom of heart problems. Depending on the degree of dyspnea that your furry has, the degree of dysfunction that it has in its heart will also be obtained. Excessive physical exertion can cause heart problems, which is why it can also cause dyspnea.

Respiratory problems

The ups and downs in the upper airways such as the nose, larynx or trachea can cause breathing difficulties, examples of this can be tumors or deformations of the thorax. Likewise, alterations in the bronchi, bronchioles and lungs such as pneumonia or lung cancer will cause dyspnea. Finally, the accumulation of fluids that cause conditions such as hydrothorax, hemothorax, and pneumothorax can also cause dyspnea.


Other causes that cause dyspnea include anemia, obesity, poisoning, heat stroke, electrocution, among others.


The symptoms of dyspnea are not really as visible or easy to interpret, but they can be the following:

  • Increased use of abdominal muscles during breathing
  • Reduced stress tolerance
  • Depression
  • loss of appetite
  • Breathe with your mouth open

Usually stands or sits instead of standing

In either case, it is important to consult with your primary veterinarian and not let these signs pass you by, as acute or severe dyspnea can be fatal in the worst case.


Once you have gone to your veterinarian and he has verified that your pet does indeed have dyspnea, he will seek to establish or identify the causes of it. Causes that you can find in one of the previous sections.

In some situations, the veterinarian establishes a diagnosis based on knowledge of the breed, medical history and some blood tests, however, other types of tests are almost always necessary depending on the suspected disease. These might be:

  • Blood coagulation analysis
  • Analysis of airway epithelial cells
  • Visual examination of the bronchi using an endoscope (bronchoscopy)
  • Exploration of the nostrils (rhinoscopy)
  • ultrasound of the heart
  • CT scan of the chest cavity


Treatment may vary depending on the cause that has been identified, however, the most common and effective treatment recommended is oxygen therapy.

Oxygen therapy for dogs consists of administering supplemental oxygen to the animal to increase the level of oxygen in its blood and alleviate the respiratory problem it presents. This can be administered in a number of ways, depending on the cause of the condition.

This treatment can be very effective but it must always be administered by a professional veterinarian and in a controlled environment.

How to prevent dyspnea in dogs?

Preventing breathlessness in dogs involves taking care of their overall health and taking specific steps based on your pet's needs. We recommend taking care of the following:

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is a common cause of dyspnea in dogs. Make sure your dog maintains an appropriate weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Control allergies

Allergies can cause shortness of breath in some dogs. If your dog has known allergies, work with your vet to identify and manage triggers and provide treatment as needed.

Avoid tobacco smoke and other environmental irritants

Tobacco smoke and other environmental irritants can worsen respiratory problems in dogs. Avoid smoking around your pet and make sure it is in a clean, smoke-free environment.

Vaccination and regular veterinary care

Keep your dog up to date on his vaccinations and have regular exams with a vet. This can help detect and prevent health problems before they become serious problems.

Moderate exercise

Exercise is important to keep your dog fit, but make sure it's appropriate for his age, size, and general health. Avoid excessive exercise in extremely hot or cold weather.

Parasite control

Keep your dog protected against fleas, ticks and other parasites that can transmit respiratory diseases. Consult your veterinarian about the right products for your pet and above all, to find out about parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis in dogs and leptospirosis in dogs.

Control of heart and respiratory diseases

If your dog has chronic heart or respiratory disease, follow your veterinarian's recommendations for treatment and management of the disease.

Avoid stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can affect your dog's breathing. Provide a calm and safe environment for your pet, and consider options such as behavior therapy if necessary.

Supervision in extreme climates

During extremely hot or cold temperatures, limit the time your dog spends outdoors and make sure he has access to cool water and shade on hot days, or a warm place on cold days.

Other respiratory problems in dogs

The most common respiratory problems in dogs are:

A cold

Dogs can catch colds, which often manifest with symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.

Distemper or

Distemper in dogs is a viral disease that can affect the respiratory system of dogs, causing symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, shortness of breath, and fever.

Tonsillitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis

These are inflammations of the throat and tonsils in dogs, which can lead to difficulty swallowing, coughing, and other respiratory problems.


Bronchitis in dogs can be acute or chronic and is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which can result in persistent coughing and difficulty breathing.


Pneumonia is a lung infection that can affect dogs and cause severe symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and lethargy.


Although less common in dogs than humans, some dogs can develop asthma, a condition that causes constricted airways, coughing, and shortness of breath.

When to consult a vet?

It is advisable to go to the veterinarian from the moment we identify the first signs, however, it will be mandatory to take it when our pet cannot move and prefers to be in a particular position, very agitated breathing is observed and it does not give in with the passage of time. several minutes. Likewise, in serious situations, the tongue of our pets can present a dark pink or bluish color, which is an indication of immediate emergency attention.

To know exactly what treatment would be appropriate, we must take the dog for a consultation and at Waggy's we know that going to the vet is not easy for your pet, since stress and anxiety in dogs often is unleashed in cases like this, for this reason, we offer you our natural treats for dogs with CBD for 100% natural dogs , which will help calm your pet, since at this time the anxiety is usually very present. aggression in dogs , so that the session with the doctor can continue successfully. In addition, they are an excellent source of Omega 3 for dogs , a necessary and essential component for the development of our pet.


In this blog we discovered that dyspnea is a difficulty in breathing that can be caused by heart, respiratory or other diseases. We also discovered that the most common symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, breathing with your mouth open, among others.

As in any problem, there are actions that can be taken to try to prevent it and it is important that we know them. Prevention is also an act of love and respect for the lives of our pets.

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