Respiratory Disorders In Dogs & How To Treat Them

Dogs can suffer from a variety of respiratory ailments. Here are some common conditions to look for that should be brought to your vet’s attention at the first signs.

Sneezing or Nasal Discharge

black pug standing on floor
Image credit: Charles Deluvio

It is very common for all dogs to sneeze on an occasional basis, especially when they first wake up. However, allergic sneezing is typically a nonproductive sneeze that occurs in paroxysms and the infections will often produce puss. If you notice a bloody discharge from a single nostril then that is an indication of a tumor or a foreign object.

If your dog is displaying such symptoms then immediately consult your veterinarian for the correct diagnosis. While eliminating the cause of allergic sneezing is the best option, it can also be reduced by giving your dog antihistamines.

Medications will need to be administered if there is an infection. These infections can be viral, bacterial, or fungal. If there is indeed a tumor, then surgery will be the only option. And in the fortunate event that your dog merely has a foreign object stuck in his nostril, then the object can be sneezed forward enough until the vet can reach it and remove the object.

Abnormal Breathing Habits

short-coat brown dog lying on blue and white striped bedspread
Image credit: Ryan Stone

If your dog is displaying abnormal breathing habits then do not take it lightly. Distressed or unusual rhythmic breathing can be a life-threating sign of a major problem to your dog’s health. Pleural effusions of blood and puss can cause a persistent cough, in addition to breathing troubles. Your dog may also show a complete lack of energy and movement. If there is shallow breathing, then this may be an indication of damage to your dog’s ribs. And be on the watch for rapid breathing, which could be a severe problem due to long, heart, or kidney disease.

Consult your veterinarian right away if you detect the above breathing symptoms. Do not waste time in getting your dog medical attention just because you cannot see or feel an injury. Remember, there may be severe internal damage coming from your dog’s body. Your vet may have to use pleural effusions which are surgically tapped and drained to reduce pressure on the lungs.

Constant Gagging of Coughing

If your dog is showing signs of persistent coughing or gagging, he may have poor heart function, a collapsed windpipe, chronic bronchitis, or some type of worm parasite. Fluid builds up in the lungs, which causes a gag. In time the cough will get more and more announced, especially after exercise.

If you suspect your dog of having any of the above problems then the vet may have to insert an artificial windpipe, administer medications, or at worst, surgery.


  • Gene Sower

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners.

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