Respiratory Emergencies (Wheezing or Coughing) in Dogs

Some respiratory conditions can be serious

Many dogs can display respiratory symptoms ranging from:

  • The common kennel cough
  • Signs of increased yellow or green eye or nasal discharge
  • Varying degrees or coughing or wheezing.

The sound of the cough itself can vary. For coughs similar to the sound of a goose honking, this is most typical of either kennel cough or an anatomic or inflammatory problem of the airways. Examples of anatomic problems are often seen with collapsing trachea syndrome common in toy breeds such as Pomeranians or Yorkshire Terriers.

In other cases, the cough can be from an allergic/inflammatory condition such as chronic allergic airway disease or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). For moist/wet sounding coughs, these can be seen in cases of pneumonia, heart failure secondary to mitral valve disease, or a heart disease called cardiomyopathy.

If the pet is still active, eating, and has a pink tongue and gums, then it is likely not an emergency. However, if a dog shows any of the below symptoms, then immediate emergency veterinary evaluation and care is required so that a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is started.

If your pet displays the below respiratory symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately:

  • Has difficulty breathing
  • Is wheezing
  • Has an accelerated rate of breathing (during rest)
  • Shows blueish gums/tongue

Some of the more severely affected pets may need oxygen initially to stabilize them before X-rays, blood work, and a more thorough complete respiratory or cardiac workup is performed. It’s for this reason that having natural calming agents on hand can help ease the anxiety and stress the pet is under until being seen by a veterinarian.

With common and seemingly uncomplicated kennel cough signs, pet owners can try remedies like Echinacea or Vetri-DMG to boost the immune system. If the cough worsens or the pet stops eating, a full veterinary exam is needed and antibiotic therapy will likely be required.

If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory respiratory ailment or collapsing trachea, sometimes prescriptions for pet medications such as Theophylline and Temaril-P are needed on a long term basis and can be purchased from 1800PetMeds with a written prescription from your veterinarian.

shop-cough-remedies-pets

Have pet health questions? For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.

Related Posts

57 Comments

  1. HI Alexia. Many possibilities from simple infection or possibly pneumonia, to more serious issues like collapsing trachea, COPD, or heart issue. Best to take to vet for exam and full workup including heartworm test and chest x rays to start

  2. HI Chris. Many possibilities for these vague and nonspecific symptoms in your lab which are recurring. BEst to see vet for full exam and workup if needed.

  3. Thank you for the contribution on the human website rich herb foundation.com . While useful for humans, would be interesting to try in canine patients, given the wide occurrence of COPD and eventually pulmonary fibrosis often seen in toy breeds and/or those with chronic collapsing trachea coughs.

  4. I have a Maltese almost 7 year old. Just recently when we come home he gets so excited and started coughing uncontrollably and started wheezing and it went to a point that he just fell flat. What should we do?

  5. Hi Maryrose and thank you for your question. For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form. Give your Maltese boy a hug for us!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

  6. Hi, I have a 3 year old rescue Chichuahua and was told she may have allergies. She would start sneezing and coughing when she went outside, but got better when she came back inside. Then she started it while inside. She seems to do better when she is covered up and warm. Took her to the vet who recommended teeth cleaning. I just cannot understand how teeth cleaning would help the wheezing and coughing. Now she wheezes all the time (like bronchitis). I was told to give her Benedryll, but that doesn’t seem to help.

  7. Hi Beth and thank you for your question. For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form. Give your furry friend a gentle hug for us!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

Leave a Comment