What Does It Mean When My Dog Is Wheezing?

dog playing with toy

For most pet owners, wheezing can be a very worrying event and even a very common reason for panic, because it sounds like your pet is having some kind of asthma attack. However, in most cases, 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 wheezing in your canine, and we will be discussing them in this article, as well as the best practices you, as a pet parent, can do to reduce the chances of your pup 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, their 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 their airways, the oxygen that is incoming then has quite a difficult time making its way through, which leads to a wheezing sound that they make.

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:

– Allergies: Allergens, such as pollen, house dust and cigarette smoke are some of the most common triggers.

– Chemicals: Chemicals in pesticides that you use (such as in and around your garden or for the treatment of fleas) are also very common reasons.

– Kennel cough: Canines who have Kennel cough [1] will exhibit wheezing along with dry coughs.


– Asthma: Although somewhat rare in dogs, some allergens in the air that they breathe also lead to asthma and, hence, wheezing, which is accompanied by frequent coughs and sneezes.

– Infections: Infections, such as chronic sinus infections, viral infections or bacterial infections.

– Bronchitis: Canines 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 pup is properly treated for heartworm prevention before this happens.

If they are affected by it before taking any preventative heartworm 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 their heart, develop into adult worms and block blood flow and oxygen supply in them, which leads to wheezing and a whole host of other health problems.

– Heart problems: These are more common in older and more overweight animals, and often happen after some physical activity they were engaged in, where they start 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, they may start heavily panting, vomiting, show pale gum color, have seizures and even collapse.

If you suspect your pet 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 canine 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 they keep wheezing for longer than 30 minutes, or if they are 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 they are wheezing and show any of the following signs as well, you should immediately take them to the veterinarian:

german shepherd in grass

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Heavy panting
  • Gagging
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Change in color of gums where they become pale or blue
  • Short breath

Another very common situation where you should get them to the veterinarian immediately is when they get stung or bitten by an insect and start wheezing.

How To Decrease Dog Coughing And Wheezing?

Here are some of the most helpful tips that you as a pet parent can do to help minimize the chances of your 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 their airways and lead to wheezing.

– Improve immune system: Canines with weak immune systems [2] are much more likely to develop allergies and infections that lead to wheezing. There are many things you can give to them to boost their immune system, such as vitamin C.

Watch this video to learn more ways to support your pup’s immune and digestive system!

– Prevent allergies: Try your best to pin down what it is exactly in your home that’s giving them 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 their airways and lead to wheezing, so you’re better off not using them.

Many pet parents also tend to use scented detergents when cleaning their 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: Animals 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 [3] is one of the most common reasons canines start wheezing, so it’s generally a good practice to keep the windows closed in the rooms your furry friend is present in during seasons where pollen is abundant.

Moreover, try to keep them inside the house in seasons where pollen is abundant.

If they’re 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 their nose and airways.

Regularly bathe your dog: Soothing shampoos (especially oatmeal shampoos) are very useful in helping your pet get rid of allergies. Several baths with the likes of oatmeal shampoo usually helps a whole lot.

If this was a useful article you might be interested in reading this one on why you dog might shake, shiver and tremble


1. Kennel Cough https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/kennel-cough/

2. The Immune System of Dogs https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/immune-disorders-of-dogs/the-immune-system-of-dogs

3. How To Help Your Pet Cope With Pollen Allergies http://www.gpb.org/blogs/tails-of-the-city/2013/04/12/how-to-help-your-pet-cope-with-pollen-allergies


    • I dont know if you’ll see this, but what happened to your dog? My Shiba has been doing the same the last two days (on and off wheezing).

    • Wish you would leave a follow upon what it turn out to be. Mine is doing this though he is able to eat and drink. It stops then will start again after a while.


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