Can Dogs Have Asthma?


Dealing with asthma can be a terrifying and painful process for human beings. Sadly, asthma is not limited just to the human species. It also can attack our pets, including dogs. This is not common, but there’s a possibility that your dog might have asthma if he is exposed to some environmental conditions.

As we already know, breathing is a core determinant of whether a person remains alive or drops dead in the next second. If you’ve noticed some weird changes in the way your dog breathes, there’s a likely chance that he has asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a respiratory disease caused by irritation and inflammation of the airways. In dogs or humans, it is often characterized by wheezing, coughing, and breathing difficulties. An asthma attack is triggered by constant exposure to a wide range of environmental irritants. These irritants include cigarette smoke, vehicle fumes, dust, dry air, among others.


Although asthma is more prevalent in humans and cats, your dog might also come down with the disease if he’s regularly exposed to these irritants.

Can My Dog Have Asthma?

Basically, yes. Your dog can have asthma. Dog asthma is usually referred to as Canine Allergic Bronchitis, and it is a respiratory disease caused by the inflammation of your dog’s airways.

The difference between dog asthma and asthma in humans is that dog asthma is not likely inheritable. If your dog has asthma, you don’t need to worry about its pups having asthma. However, you should note that canine allergic bronchitis is more likely to affect younger dogs, rather than senior dogs.

Juan Pablo / Flickr

How Can I Know If My Dog Has Asthma?

Pets generally cannot pick out their triggers and speak out when they start to develop asthma, but we can help them by being very observant. If you suspect that your dog might be suffering from Allergic Bronchitis, here are few signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Frequent wheezing and a constant cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Lethargy – usually characterized by a lack of enthusiasm
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Inability to go on walks and cardiovascular exercises
  • Gum discoloration – usually a pale blue color
  • Anorexia or loss of appetite.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, your dog might have asthma. This is the time your pet needs you most, and you have to be there for him.

Mario Svetec / Flickr

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Asthma?

If your dog is showing any of the above symptoms, you don’t have to panic. You can still save the day. Here are a few ways to manage the situation.

  • Check for irritants

Your pet will undoubtedly be unable to figure out its triggers. If you’re trying to help your dog, the first step is to observe the irritants causing the discomfort. The next time he coughs, wheezes or sneezes heavily, take note of any possible irritants and take them away.

  • Observe

Observe what it is like when your dog coughs or wheezes. Check his breathing pattern too, if he tends to pant and check how frequently these symptoms occur.

  • See a veterinarian

After you’ve carried out the above steps, you should take your pet to see a vet. Your observations will help the doctor to know the extent of the severity of your dog’s condition.

Depending on the doctor’s conclusion, an x-ray may be carried out to determine the inflammation’s extent precisely. The outcome of the X-ray will decide whether your dog needs drugs or just a diet change.

Helen Capstick / Flickr

What You Should Not Do

Seeing our pets suffer from asthma, unable to cuddle up to us, and run around as they always can be challenging. We would go to any lengths to ensure they’re okay again. However, in your quest to help your dog, you should not administer any of the treatments used for humans without a doctor’s prescription.

Please do not give your dog inhalers usually recommended for humans because they may exacerbate rather than alleviate his condition.

Studies have shown that Albuterol, a major ingredient found in inhalers, can serve as a bronchodilator in animals but only when administered in the right quantity. An overdose may result in albuterol poisoning and can be dangerous for your pet.

Dog asthma can be painful and challenging, but you can make the situation bearable for your four-legged companion, and you should.

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