We often hear about humans suffering from asthma, clutching their inhalers during a flare-up, or adjusting to lifestyle changes to keep symptoms at bay. But what about our four-legged pals? Can they wheeze their way through life too? If you've ever watched your dog struggle to catch its breath, you might've wondered, Does my dog have asthma? Let’s dive in.

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  1. Can Dogs Have Asthma
  2. How to Know If My Dog Has Asthma
  3. Causes of Asthma-like Symptoms in Dogs
  4. How Do You Treat Asthma in Dogs
  5. Does the Petcube Emergency Fund Cover Asthma
  6. FAQs
  7. Final Thoughts

Can Dogs Have Asthma

Veterinary sources do not recognize asthma in dogs the same way doctors do in humans. However, dogs can still experience extremely similar symptoms, if not identical, to those of asthma. ScienceDirect study describes " bronchial hyperactivity" in dogs. Vets may not usually call this asthma, but it is extremely similar.

So asthma in dogs is extremely rare because it is an overactive immune response. When dogs have allergies, it typically shows on their skin far more often than in their respiratory system, but it can still happen.

Typically, dogs show signs similar to human asthma when they encounter certain triggers. For example, they might have breathing problems or cough when:

  1. Exposed to specific allergens (like when we sneeze around pollen);
  2. Breathing quickly in dry air;
  3. Inhaling pollutants like ozone (a type of air pollution).

Now, the good news is that many common asthma medications, that help people, also work for these doggy breathing issues. These include medicines that help relax airways, reduce inflammation, and block certain chemicals that cause symptoms.

Lastly, just like people might develop lung problems from smoking or pollution, dogs can show signs of chronic bronchitis or even emphysema. They could develop these if they're around cigarette smoke, breathe in sulfur dioxide (another pollutant), or are exposed to certain strong enzymes, like papain, which is a common meat tenderizer.

How to Know If My Dog Has Asthma

While the term 'asthma' may not be clinically recognized for dogs as it is in humans, dogs can experience symptoms that closely resemble it. But how do you know if your dog is grappling with these asthma-like symptoms? Here's what to look out for when it comes to an asthma attack in dogs:

  • Persistent Coughing: Just like a person with asthma might cough more frequently, a dog showing similar signs may cough persistently, especially after being active.

  • Labored Breathing: If your pup is breathing with more effort than usual, taking shallow breaths, or seems to be struggling for air, it could be a sign of respiratory distress.

  • Wheezing: Similar to the wheezing sounds humans with asthma make, a dog might produce a high-pitched whistle-like sound when breathing.

  • Blue Gums: A more severe sign is if your dog's gums turn blue or purple. This indicates that they aren't getting enough oxygen and require immediate medical attention.

  • Environmental Triggers: Just as some people might start sneezing around pollen or dusty environments, dogs can show asthma-like reactions to certain triggers. These might include smoke, dust, specific chemicals, or other allergens.

Having a Pet Camera in your home can be an invaluable tool in this situation. By monitoring your dog when you're not around, you can keep track of their symptoms and notice any patterns. For example, you might observe that your dog starts coughing more frequently when the heater is on or after a cleaning session when certain cleaning agents are used. This real-time observation can help you identify and eliminate potential triggers in your dog's environment, ensuring their comfort and health.

Causes of Asthma-like Symptoms in Dogs

When it comes to our dogs having asthma attacks, the root causes might be more varied and nuanced than we think. We don’t fully understand why, but let's delve into the potential triggers:

  • Allergic Reactions: A significant cause that's been hinted at in various studies is allergic reactions. Dogs, just like us, can be hypersensitive to airborne allergens. This could include a wide range of triggers, from house dust mites, human dander, and even specific molds to pollen from grasses, trees, and certain insects.

  • Genetic Factors: Though not explicitly mentioned in the studies, like many health conditions, there's often a genetic predisposition. Some breeds might be more susceptible to asthma-like symptoms than others. Studies point to a protein in the blood called IgE antibodies.

High levels of these antibodies typically play a crucial role in allergic reactions. They're pretty much responsible for kick-starting the rapid, immediate symptoms of an allergy. If you breed dogs with high levels of IgE in their blood, their puppies can be more prone to asthma attacks.

  • Environmental Triggers: Beyond allergies, external factors in a dog's environment can play a significant role. Smoke, pollutants, and certain chemical cleaning agents may trigger or exacerbate respiratory issues.

  • Underlying Health Issues: Sometimes, the symptoms might not be standalone but indicative of other health problems like bronchitis or emphysema. It's always essential to get a comprehensive health check for your pet to rule out underlying concerns.

In essence, while the term 'asthma' as we know it, might not directly apply to dogs, they certainly can exhibit symptoms very reminiscent of it. The triggers, ranging from allergens to environmental factors, can vary, emphasizing the importance of closely observing and understanding our furry friend's surroundings and reactions.

How Do You Treat Asthma in Dogs

Watching your dog go through respiratory distress is nothing short of alarming. If you suspect your dog is showing asthma-like symptoms, it's crucial to know how to manage the situation and when to seek professional help. Here's a guide on how to handle and treat these symptoms:

Recognizing an Asthma Attack in Dogs

Before we jump into treatment, it's essential to know what an asthma attack in dogs looks like:

  • Rapid or labored breathing;
  • Wheezing or high-pitched sounds while breathing;
  • Open-mouthed breathing;
  • Extended neck and upright posture to get more air;
  • Blue or pale gums, indicating oxygen deprivation.

Immediate Action During a Canine Asthma Attack

  • Stay Calm: Your dog will pick up on your anxiety, which might make their attack worse. Speak soothingly and remain calm.

  • Remove Triggers: If there's anything in the immediate environment, like smoke or a strong-smelling chemical, remove it or move your dog to a different location.

  • Keep Them Cool: Ensure they are in a well-ventilated and cool space. Overheating can exacerbate symptoms. Do NOT try to give your dog water during an attack; they might aspirate it.

  • Contact Your Vet: If the symptoms are severe or don't improve within a few minutes, it's time to head to the vet or an emergency animal clinic.

Long-Term Management

  • Medications: Your veterinarian might prescribe bronchodilators or corticosteroids to help open up the airways and reduce inflammation.

  • Environmental Changes: Ensure your home is free of allergens or triggers like cigarette smoke, strong fragrances, or dust. Regular cleaning and air purifiers can be beneficial.

  • Regular Vet Visits: Regular check-ups will help monitor your dog's respiratory health and adjust treatments as necessary.

Preventative Measures

  • Weight Management: A healthy weight ensures that there's no extra stress on your dog's respiratory system.

  • Exercise with Care: Ensure your dog gets regular exercise, but be mindful of triggers. For example, avoid pollen-heavy areas during peak seasons.

Understanding and managing asthma-like symptoms in dogs requires a mix of immediate, responsive actions and long-term care strategies. With attentive care, your furry friend can lead a comfortable, happy life despite these respiratory challenges.

Does the Petcube Emergency Fund Cover Asthma

A dog's asthma attack can escalate rapidly, demanding immediate medical attention. While some insurance plans or funds might leave you in the lurch for 'non-emergency' conditions, the Petcube Emergency Fund recognizes the urgency of these situations.

If your dog is undergoing a severe asthma attack requiring emergency medical treatment, Petcube will provide coverage for vet bills up to $3,000. This means you can focus on your pet's health rather than potential costs. Keep in mind that this will be for an emergency asthma attack where your dog is suddenly unable to breathe.

But what if you're unsure about the severity of the situation? What if it's the middle of the night and you're trying to determine if those wheezes and coughs are signs of an impending attack? Petcube has got your back here as well.

With their 24/7 Online Vet assistance, you can instantly connect with a professional to assess your dog's situation. They can guide immediate steps to take, helping you decide whether a visit to the vet is necessary or offering advice to stabilize your pet.


Can dogs die from asthma?

Yes, severe asthma-like symptoms, if left untreated, can lead to respiratory failure and be fatal for dogs.

What does a dog's asthma attack sound like?

A dog undergoing an asthma attack may exhibit wheezing, rapid or labored breathing, and a high-pitched sound when exhaling.

What does dog asthma sound like?

Dog asthma typically sounds like wheezing or a whistling noise during breathing, especially when exhaling. The sound is due to narrowed or obstructed airways.

Final Thoughts

Managing asthma-like symptoms in dogs is a commitment that encompasses awareness, timely action, and consistent care. While no pet parent wishes to see their furbaby struggle with breathing, it's heartening to have resources and support systems in place.

With tools like Petcube's emergency fund and the available knowledge on canine respiratory health, you're well-equipped to provide your dog with a comfortable life. Remember, being proactive and attentive is the key!

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