For most dog owners, dog wheezing can be a very worrying event and even a very common reason for panic, because it sounds like your dog is having some kind of asthma attack. However, in most cases, dog wheezing is a simple issue with simple solutions to it, and there’s no need to panic at all.
There are many different causes that lead to dog wheezing, and we will be discussing them in this article, as well as the best practices you, as a dog parent, can do to reduce the chances of your dog starting to wheeze as much as possible.
What Exactly Is Dog Wheezing?
The airways and air passages in your dog’s body are very sensitive, much more than those of humans.
In normal conditions, your dog’s airways expand and contract in just the right ways, getting in oxygen to the body in just the right amounts.
But, when something goes wrong with your dog’s airways, the oxygen that is incoming then has quite a difficult time making its way through, which leads to a wheezing sound that your dog makes.
What Causes Wheezing In Dogs?
The most common reasons for dog wheezing are related to changes in the environment.
Here are the most common causes that lead to dog wheezing:
- Allergies: Allergens, such as pollen, house dust and cigarrete smoke are some of the most common triggers that lead to dog wheezing.
- Chemicals: Chemicals in pesticides that you use (such as in and around your garden or for the treatment of fleas on your dog) are also very common reasons for dog wheezing
- Kennel cough: Dogs who have Kennel cough will exhibit wheezing along with dry coughs
- Asthma: Although somewhat rare in dogs, some allergens in the air that your dog breathes also lead to asthma and, hence, dog wheezing, which is accompanied by frequent coughs and sneezes
- Infections: Infections, such as chronic sinus infections, viral infections or bacterial infections can lead to dog wheezing.
- Bronchitis: Dogs which are affected by bronchitis could also have a dry cough and gag along with wheezing
- Parasites: The most common of parasites are heartworms, which is why you should ensure that your dog is properly treated for heartworm prevention before this happens. If your dog is affected by heartworms before taking any preventative medicine for it, treatment becomes much more complex and much harder. Heartworms that are present in your dog’s body for long periods of time and left untreated will migrate to your dog’s heart, develop into adult worms and block blood flow and oxygen supply in your dog’s body, which leads to wheezing and a whole host of other health problems.
- Heart problems: These are more common in older dogs and more overweight dogs, and often happen after some physical activity your dog was engaged in, where your dog starts wheezing and coughing.
- Tumors: Most common of which being lung tumors
- Heat strokes: Heat strokes can happen if your dog is exposed to higher temperature levels or sunlight than they can handle. Along with wheezing, your dog may start heavily panting, vomiting, show pale gum color, have seizures and even collapse. If you suspect your dog has contemplated a heat stroke, you should immediately get them to your veterinarian.
My Dog Is Wheezing, What Do I Do?
Generally speaking, if your dog stops wheezing after 20 to 30 minutes, you have nothing to worry about, there’s nothing serious here and the situation would have cared for itself.
However, if your dog keeps wheezing for longer than 30 minutes, of if your dog is stuck in a circle of wheezing where they start, stop then only to start wheezing again after some time, your dog needs help from a professional animal care personnel.
If your dog is wheezing and shows any of the following signs as well, you should immediately take them to the veterinarian:
- Decrease in appetite
- Heavy panting
- Bleeding from nose
- Change in color of gums where they become pale or blue
- Short breath
Another very common situation where you should get your dog to the veterinarian immediately is when they get stung or bitten by an insect and start wheezing.
What To Do To Decrease Dog Wheezing?
Here are some of the most helpful tips that you as a dog parent can do to help minimize the chances of your dog wheezing:
- Use air purifiers and humidifiers: Purifying and humidifying the air is a very useful solution to preventing dog wheezing, because dry air is much likely to irritate your dog’s airways and lead to wheezing.
- Improve immune system: Dogs with weak immune systems are much more likely to develop allergies and infections that lead to wheezing. There are many things you can give to your dog to boost their immune system, such as vitamin C.
- Prevent allergies: Try your best to pin down what it is exactly in your home that’s giving your dog allergies ( such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides, detergents, carpets, etc ..) and get rid of it.
- Refrain from using scented products: Scented products such as air fresheners and candles that smell nice can really irritate your dog’s airways and lead to wheezing, so you’re better off not using them. Many dog parents also tend to use scented detergents when cleaning their dog’s bedding, which is a big NO-NO as this can lead to air passage irritation and thus wheezing.
- Don’t smoke if your dog is around: Dogs have a really low tolerance level when it comes to the smell of smoke, so if your dog is subjected to any kind of second-hand smoke, expect bad things to happen.
- Avoiding pollen: Pollen is one of the most common reasons dogs start wheezing, so it’s generally a good practice to keep the windows closed in the rooms your dog is present in during seasons where pollen is abundant. Moreover, try to keep your dog inside the house in seasons where pollen is abundant. If your dog is outside a lot during these seasons, you’re just increasing their chances of getting an allergy.
- Clean air ducts and vents: This practice goes a very long way in helping to prevent any dust from making its way into your dog’s nose and airways.
- Regularly bathe your dog: Soothing shampoos (especially oatmeal shampoos) are very useful in helping your dog get rid of allergies. Several bathes with the likes of oatmeal shampoo usually helps a whole lot.