Can Dogs Have Asthma?

Updated: June 29, 2022

Is dog asthma possible? Can dogs get asthma? Asthma is a very common respiratory disease that occurs among humans and pets alike. Yes, dog asthma is possible. Actually, asthma is very common in dogs.

The month of May is considered to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Here, we will look at dog asthma, the symptoms of asthma in dogs, ways to manage dog asthma, and ways to help prevent dog asthma from bothering your furbaby.

What Is Dog Asthma?

Asthma is an allergic reaction to something that’s present in your dog’s environment. When your dog is exposed to a specific substance they are allergic to, it causes inflammation in the respiratory tract and produces fluid or mucus. This fluid or mucus narrows down or completely blocks the airways, resulting in breathing difficulties.

"Though panting is common in dogs as this is their way to regulate body heat, excessive panting is not."

Though it is common to most pets, asthma can be a life-threatening respiratory disease if not treated immediately in severe cases. According to Michelson Found Animals, cats are more susceptible to having asthma compared to dogs, but small dogs tend to be more asthmatic than larger ones.

The most common triggers for asthma attacks in dogs include:

  • Smoke from wood stoves, fireplaces, or cigarettes
  • Other pets
  • Cat litter particles
  • Pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites
  • Household products with strong odors
  • Pests, like cockroaches
  • Pesticides
  • Air fresheners and perfumes

Dog Asthma Symptoms

Wondering how to know if your dog has asthma? Look out for one or more of the following symptoms of dog asthma.

Excessive Panting

Excessive panting is one of the most common signs of asthma in dogs. Though panting is common in dogs as this is their way to regulate body heat, excessive panting is not. So, if you notice your furbaby panting so heavily in a long period of time and is having heavy chest movements even if they are just at rest, it may be an asthma attack.

can dogs have asthma? dog asthma attack

Respiratory Concerns

Dog asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and catching breath. These signs are also found in kennel cough and colds, but in dog asthma, the symptoms are persistent. Brachycephalic dog breeds such as Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers might make these sounds even without asthma due to the small nasal openings that very commonly cause breathing complications. Check with your vet if you notice these sounds to see if it is a sign of illness, asthma, or an obstructed airway.

Decreased Energy and Weakness

As the air passages are blocked by fluid or mucus, there is a lack of oxygen supply in your furbaby’s body. Due to a decrease in oxygen, your dog with asthma may suffer from decreased energy and weakness. With this, your dog may not be able to tolerate relatively high levels of physical activity. Some dogs may also not be able to handle well even small, brief walks at all and may resist doing any exercise.

Pale Gums

Severe asthma in dogs may cause your dog’s gums to appear pale. Color may vary from light pink to bluish to green. Seek veterinary attention immediately if this happens as this can lead to serious complications including death.

Loss of Appetite

Severe asthma attacks can lead to your dog’s lungs being hyperinflated. Hyperinflation in a dog’s lungs occurs when air is trapped in the lungs, causing them to overinflate and push down on your dog’s stomach. According to Mayo Clinic, this is caused by blockages in the air passages which intervene with the discharge of air from the lungs.

If hyperinflated lungs push your dogs’s stomach, this will lead to stomach pains or a feeling of being full even if your furbaby is not. Loss of appetite in your furbaby during an asthma attack leads to hunger, poor nutrition, weakness, and worsening of your furbaby’s asthma symptoms.

Treatment for Asthma in Dogs

Dog asthma attacks are an emergency. Your dog may be hospitalized and be given oxygen to help them breathe better. IV fluids may be administered if your dog has completely not eaten or drunk anything. Medicines that might be given may include bronchodilators (to open up the airways), antibiotics (if an infection is present), and steroids (or antihistamine to help reduce allergic reactions). For ongoing asthma cases, your vet may prescribe medications given orally or through a nebulizer for long-time treatments.

dog asthma attack, dog with asthma

How to Prevent Asthma Attacks in Dogs

Asthma in dogs may be tough to deal with, but we have come up with ways to help prevent this respiratory disease from impacting your dog’s quality of life. Depending on the trigger for your dog’s asthma, you may want to consider several of these tips.

Boost Your Dog’s Immune System

  • Consult your vet immediately with any dog asthma symptoms. Your vet may perform tests to determine causes and triggers of your dog’s asthma. Dog asthma is often diagnosed by incorporating our dog’s medical history and the findings from the exams & radiographs performed.
  • Create a healthy and safe living environment for your dog. If you have already identified the cause of your dog’s asthma, remove them immediately or refrain your dog from going near it.
  • Boost your dog’s immune system by giving them Pet Parents® Allergy SoftSupps®. Allergy SoftSupps® are made with BioMos®, a branded prebiotic-type that helps promote and strengthen the body’s natural resistance. Note: this is not a treatment for asthma, but may help prevent or minimize reactions.
  • You may also give your dog Pet Parents® Multivitamin SoftSupps®. These multivitamin soft chews help provide your dog with leading ingredients that help further powerful daily health support. These 5-in-1 soft chews contain an immune complex, skin & coat complex, hip & joint complex, digestive complex, and heart complex to help boost overall health.

Home Tips for Dog Asthma

  • Consider purchasing an air purifier at home to help lessen pollution in your dog’s home environment.
  • Avoid using perfumes or air fresheners that are made with strong fragrances and chemicals.
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned or purchase new pet-friendly ones that contain no toxic chemicals.
  • If you have a cat at home, you may switch to using a dust-free cat litter to help lessen your dog’s asthma symptoms. Also, consider placing Pawtect® Pads under your cat’s litter boxes to help prevent messes from cat litter spills.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding regularly and opt to use durable, washable blankets like Pawtect® Blankets. Pawtect® Blankets are water-proof pet blankets that are made with our special faux fur fabric, helping keep your furbaby warm, cozy, and dry.
  • Avoid using heavy chemical-based pesticides in your lawn care and try to use all-natural ones.

Grooming Tips for Asthma in Dogs

  • Regularly bathe and groom your dog. Make sure you dry them thoroughly and keep them warm after.
  • Use Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Allergy Wipes for a bathless clean on your dog. These are safe for daily use to remove dirt, pollen, and dander. Plus, regular use can actually help protect the skin from environmental irritants.

Asthma is a very dangerous respiratory condition your dog can have. It will not only affect your furbaby’s breathing but will also negatively change their quality of life. Make sure to always keep an eye on your furbaby and the early onset of signs. If you are questioning if your dog is having an asthma attack, take them to the vet immediately as doing so may just save their lives! Remember, that even if your dog has asthma, there are lots of steps you can take to help prevent asthma attacks and keep them a happy, healthy dog.

"Pet Parents® Allergy SoftSupps® are made with BioMos®, a branded prebiotic-type that helps promote and strengthen the body’s natural resistance."