Do you see that cute pup? That is me, honey. I suffer from dog wheezing, and it is a common thing in dogs. We wheeze for a multitude of reasons, and sometimes it requires a trip to the vet. But don’t worry, because there are things you can do to help us. Here are my favorite tips for reducing dog wheezing.
Dog wheezing can be caused by a multitude of different things. Dog wheezing sounds a lot like when a human is wheezing. It is most common in dogs that have a smaller nasal passageway, like pugs, bulldogs, boxers, mastiffs, and Shih Tzus. The wheezing sound is restricting airflow, usually caused by one of the following:
- Foreign bodies
- Collapsing trachea
- Kennel cough
When we begin wheezing, it is important to take us to the vet, especially if it has gone on longer than a few minutes. This way, you know what the cause is and which tip is best for your dog and their wheezing situation.
To keep us pups happy and healthy, there are lots of little tricks you can do to make sure that our immune system is nice and strong to help us fight off any form of infection or disease.
My favorite way to do this is by playing with my ball. Exercise and playtime are great ways for me to burn off any fat and keep my immune system strong. I have friends who go on runs, others that do scent drills, and different tricks to exercise their minds.
Being exercised the right amount depends on your size and breed. Overexercising may cause more harm than good, but obesity does not help, either. Finding a perfect, healthy weight will allow us to fight off any diseases or illnesses because our immune system is just so strong.
A tasty way to keep our immune systems healthy is by eating healthy foods. Unfortunately, it means fewer table scraps. Though I do get a mix of raw meat and vegetables, as well as grain-friendly kibble. This is done to balance out the amount of grain I eat, and the amount of microbiome for my intestines.
Eating proper food helps me take in enough bacteria to fight off any germs or diseases that I might come across. It also helps in defending me from developing other allergies or infections down the road.
There are a few supplements my friends get to keep their immune systems high. I get eggs for extra omega-3, but I know some get probiotics to help fight against any micro-organisms.
Omega-3 is good for us dogs because it helps our brain and eye function much like humans. As we get older, it helps with our joints and cognitive behavior. Having the omega-3 increases our immune system function, meaning when we do get sick, we have better odds at fighting it.
Probiotics are good for us dogs so that we have enough healthy bacteria in our bodies. This allows us to be able to produce enough vitamins and minerals, causing a strong immune system.
However, there is a risk of using supplements due to the incorrect dosage. It is suggested that you speak with your vet and see what dosage is recommended for your fur friend, and which brands your vet suggests. Guessing on your own may cause more harm than good when it comes to keeping us healthy overall.
4. Identify the Problem and Finding the Solution
When I first began wheezing as a puppy, we asked the vet why immediately. With there being six different possibilities as to what can cause wheezing in dogs, we had to ask. After a little bit of testing, we found out I had an allergy to pollen.
With an allergy to pollen, we changed our schedule around a lot. We go for walks in the middle of the day now when pollen is not as strong. During the mornings and the evening, the pollen is much worse, and I tend to wheeze a lot more.
Knowing I am allergic to pollen, we now wipe my nose, mouth, and paws with unscented baby wipes when we get home from doing anything outside. I also get rinsed off in the bathtub to rinse out any pollen that may have gotten in my fur.
Knowing your pets’ cause for wheezing may help you find a solution for treating them instead of guessing. Though you may be able to guess our reason for wheezing, it may be wrong. Knowing the cause of the wheezing will aid you in finding the perfect solution for your pup!
5. Change the Environment
One of the easiest tips to reduce wheezing in your pup is changing the environment.
Smoking, perfume scented products, and low dust may help your pet breathe better.
Smoking indoors makes it difficult for us to breathe much like smoking with children in the car makes it difficult for them to breathe. My lungs are small and not designed for any kind of smoke.
Much like smoke, perfume products can irritate my nose, throat, and lungs. This may cause me to wheeze or sneeze.
Another possibility is using an air purifier. I did not like it at first, as it made a weird noise, but it made it so much easier to breathe. It cleans the air in the home, removing pollen and dust. Now, my wheezing is not nearly as bad as it used to be. It helps my family breathe better, too.
In my home, we keep the windows shut all year round so that no pollen will get into the house and cause me to have an allergic reaction.
We vacuum the home daily to eliminate any pollen or dust from bugging my nose and making me wheeze. It does not only help me, but it also helps my family, too.
Our home stays at a slightly cooler temperature in case I start having a wheezing or coughing fit. Having a cool and well-ventilated area helps me breathe easier. Much like humans when I have a hard time breathing, I get very hot. Being in a cool area helps me not get so hot and uncomfortable.
Some dogs have cat siblings and sometimes their litter can cause a lot of dust, which makes it difficult to breathe. One option is changing to a cat litter that is much less dusty. Reducing the amount of dust in the home does help keep my wheezing to a minimum.
6. Is There Something I Keep Eating That I Should Not?
I am a dog. I love to chew, sometimes I chew things because I am stressed, or maybe I am teething. Occasionally I chew things I am not supposed to.
I chew sticks a lot; they keep me busy while I am outside playing. The problem with sticks is, sometimes, little pieces of wood splinter off and get stuck. These block my airway and make it difficult to breathe, which could cause some wheezing.
Other times, I get my squeaker lodged in my mouth from chewing through my toys. When these obstructions occur, it can be dangerous for us dogs. They can cause more problems than just wheezing. It is important to take away any damaged toys and to always supervise us when we are playing with any toy.
To reduce the possibility of us getting into garbage, or chewing things we should not, you can place garbage in outdoor bins, or get lockable garbage bins so that we cannot get in the garbage when you throw away bones or our old toys.
Medication can be prescribed by a vet. It may be your next course of treatment to eliminate dog wheezing. Some medications or treatments are proven more useful and effective than others.
A vet may recommend a bronchodilator to soothe and expand the airways. A bronchodilator is usually administered by the vet to treat swelling in our throats in order to help us breathe normally. Though in most dogs, the improvements have proven to be minimal.
A more common medication administered to dogs is a medicine called corticosteroids. This comes in two forms: prednisone or prednisolone, and any inhaled corticosteroids.
Prednisone and prednisolone are usually given orally and are not recommended for long-term use because they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, changes in our behavior, and excessive panting. Another common side effect is frequent urination.
Inhaled corticosteroids are the most common for treating wheezing. When inhaling the steroid, it goes straight to the lungs. Using an inhaled steroid causes far less harm and has very few side effects.
If your dog suffers from asthma, your vet may recommend a nebulizer, which will help them breathe if they are having an asthma attack. It goes over their nose and mouth and lets them inhale liquid medication to help them breathe.
Using the dog nebulizer is very similar to using one for humans. The mask goes over the nose and mouth. Some dogs may not like the mask – it could take them time to get used to it. Remember to properly clean the machine to prevent further infection or increase the chance of a virus.
Nebulizers are designed to send air to our lungs at a healthy droplet size. A vaporizer creates too large of droplets that can make it more difficult to breathe. If you decide to use a nebulizer for your dog’s wheezing, ensure you get the correct machine. Click the following link for more information on nebulizers.
8. Love and Affection
When I am not feeling the best, I love to just lay down. I love getting lots of love and attention.
Much like when you are sick, you just want to feel loved. We are the same way. We want to know that you are there for us. We love when you sit next to us and pet us. It makes us all feel much better when you rub us down and give us kisses when we are not feeling well, much like we do when you are not feeling well.
Some vets believe that rubbing our neck when we are in respiratory distress helps to relax us and our airway. Even doggy massages are said to help relax us when we begin wheezing.
Having low stress can improve our immune system, and the best way to lower your stress and mine is through love. We get stressed when you have been gone all day long. We love it when you lay down with us and play. It relaxes us knowing you missed us too. Here is more information on increasing your pet’s immune health.
I love the feeling of being rubbed all over even when I am not sick. It lets me know you love me as much as I love you. Then I am not nearly as stressed as I could be.
Remember rubbing me relaxes me, and it makes me less stressed. Just like petting me makes you less stressed out, too.
9. When to Seek Professional Help
When a dog has any kind of wheezing, it is important to bring it to the vet. If the wheezing only lasts a few minutes, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
When we wheeze for longer than a few minutes, call your vet or local animal hospital. Check our gums and tongues if they begin to turn blue, as that is a sign that we are losing oxygen and having a difficult time breathing. The vet may need to give us oxygen, diagnose us, and help us find the right treatment for our wheezing.
When more than one of the following symptoms appear alongside a dog’s wheezing, seek a veterinary hospital immediately:
- Gasping for air
- Blue gums
- Increased breaths
- No appetite
- Continuous wheezing
It is very important for you to remember to stay calm. If you panic and worry too much, you’ll worry us more and make us panic, too. Call the vet and follow their instructions.