More common in puppies than in healthy adult dogs, pneumonia afflicts a pup's respiratory system and makes it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia is caused by foreign bodies like bacteria, parasites and viruses; left untreated, it can be deadly. To help a puppy with pneumonia, you must see a veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and recommend a typical course of treatment. With the right care and supervision, your puppy can overcome the illness and make a full recovery.
Identify the Symptoms
When a puppy is afflicted with pneumonia, he needs medical attention as soon as possible -- to help your puppy, then, you must be able to identify the symptoms of the condition. If your puppy is breathing rapidly, coughing or expelling a thick, mucousy nasal discharge, he may have pneumonia. He may also be acting depressed and lethargic, sitting up with his neck outstretched and his front elbows pointing outward to allow for easier breathing.
See a Vet
Puppies have weaker immune systems than healthy adult dogs have, which is why they are more susceptible to contracting pneumonia and also why you can't waste time seeking medical attention. To help your puppy with suspected pneumonia, take him to a veterinary hospital right away -- don't wait until you can get an appointment with your regular vet. Depending on the seriousness of your puppy's condition, he may need testing, antibiotics and even an IV drip immediately.
Your puppy may need to remain under veterinary supervision for several days, and when you go home, your vet will have prescribed a treatment regimen. Defer to the vet's orders for both medication and activity -- you will likely have to administer antibiotic medications, run a humidifier in your home and exercise your puppy several times a day to help him thin out and expel debris.
You'll have to closely monitor your puppy's condition while treating his pneumonia -- he shouldn't be left unsupervised for more than two hours at a time. Watch for any signs of returning symptoms, and be prepared to contact your veterinarian should your puppy show symptoms again. Based on the severity of your puppy's case and his general recovery, your vet will recommend how long he needs to stay on medication and remain under such close watch. Until then, he'll need to continue taking his medication, exercising, resting and seeing a vet on a regular basis.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.