Canine Asthma & Bronchitis

by Jill Leviticus
    Harnesses allow for easier breathing if your dog has bronchitis.

    Harnesses allow for easier breathing if your dog has bronchitis.

    Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    An attack of allergic bronchitis, also called canine asthma, makes it difficult for your dog to breathe. Watching your furry friend struggle to take a breath is a scary experience. Although it’s important that your dog receive veterinary care when he has an attack, you can do a few things to reduce the chance of future attacks.

    Canine bronchitis occurs when the small tubes that carry air from your dog’s windpipe to his lungs become inflamed. The inflammation leads to an overproduction of mucus and to spasms, both of which make breathing difficult. Canine bronchitis usually develops because your dog experiences an allergic reaction to something in the air. Just because your dog has one attack doesn’t mean he’s destined to a lifetime of breathing problems. Some dogs never have another attack, but others develop a chronic form of bronchitis. The Healthy Paws website notes that small and older dogs are more likely to develop canine bronchitis.

    Symptoms of bronchitis are very noticeable. Your dog might pant, wheeze or cough. He might breathe with his mouth open in an attempt to get more air. Blue gums are a sign of a serious problem and occur when your dog doesn’t get enough oxygen. If this happens, it’s important that your pet receive emergency medical care or he could die. Dogs who suffer from chronic bronchitis might seem tired and unable to fetch a ball or run as long as they could before the problem began. Your dog also might lose his appetite, which can lead to weight loss.

    Your veterinarian will give your dog a thorough examination and discuss his symptoms. He will ask when the problem started and ask you to describe what happens when your dog has an attack. He might recommend that your dog undergo chest X-rays and blood and stool tests. The chest X-ray detects any infection or damage to the lungs, while the other tests rule out the presence of heartworms or other parasites. If your veterinarian suspects that allergens caused the attack, he might ask you to keep your dog away from triggers. In some cases, inhalers or corticosteroids can be helpful in reducing symptoms.

    Put your dog in another room with the door closed or take him outside if you spray perfume, air fresheners, oven cleaner or other types of sprays. Cigarette smoke and smoke from fires can trigger symptoms and should be avoided. Don’t let him tag along while you change the cat litter, as he might have trouble breathing if he inhales the airborne dust particles from the litter. Vacuum regularly to remove dander from your home and buy a high-efficiency particulate air purifier to remove pollen, dander and other allergens from the air. The VetInfo website notes that obesity can make it more difficult to breathe and recommends that you help your dog lose weight if he’s overweight.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jill Leviticus has been a writer for 20 years. She writes business, health and travel articles for several online publications and worked as a writer for a hospital and a nonprofit research foundation. Leviticus has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Lock Haven University and works as a public relations writer.

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!