Can Dogs Have Asthma?

Asthma is a pretty common disease, and is defined quite simply as “difficulty breathing”.  The technical term for Asthma is “dyspnea” and its common symptoms are wheezing sounds and lack of air to the lungs because of the tightening of the upper airway.  Asthma is very common in both humans and animals, and can develop in dogs just like humans.  In dogs asthma is almost always caused by allergies to things like ragweed or pollen, something they breathe in.  Can dogs have asthma?  Absolutely, their asthma is usually a form of what is called allergic bronchitis.

Dog AsthmaDogs can also have “asthma attacks” just like humans.  And like humans, they can vary wildly in their severity, from circumstantial light breathing problems to full on airway closure that can threaten to suffocate them.  If it does get that severe, they may resort to open mouth breathing, and their gums will turn a deep violet blue from lack of oxygen if this happens your pet needs emergency care immediately.  Just like in humans, asthma in dogs usually affects younger ones, and they will usually grow out of it;  although some dogs will have chronic bronchitis for their entire life.  The telltale sign of an asthma attack is a loud, hacking cough, which can build or can happen very suddenly.  You could also hear a wheezing sound and notice a short and shallow breath from your dog’s nose, which is another sure sign of an asthma attack.  Usually, this will come with a lazy attitude and unwillingness for physical exercise (or appetite) in your dog.

Canine asthma is actually relatively uncommon and much less researched than cat asthma.  Dogs are usually troopers when it comes to asthma, and many owners will not notice till it has become chronic, which is irreversible.  If you notice your dog suddenly eating less and becoming lazier, you might want to take them to the vet to check them out for asthma.  The most at risk dogs are smaller breeds.  Some common allergens to dogs that may trigger asthma are smoke from things like wood stoves or cigars, carpet. and floor cleaning products, as well as some air fresheners or deodorizer spray.  Other, seasonal things like pollen, mold spores, or even other animal dander can also present allergic reactions in dogs.  If your dog starts showing symptoms of an allergic asthma attack, it is best to go get them checked out before the symptoms become chronic.  Can dogs have asthma?  Yes, although it is relatively uncommon and usually not a lethal or dangerous condition.