Puppy Problems: How to Respond When Your Dog Has Asthma

Your puppy isn’t only man’s best friend; he’s a much-needed boost to family wellness. However, when you hear your four-legged friend start to wheeze or fight for breath, it can be a frightening experience for you and the pup. It’s not common for asthma to affect canine wellness, but puppies can indeed develop the respiratory condition – just under a different name. Allergic bronchitis is a rare occurrence in puppies, but you don’t need to worry too much about his wellbeing; it’s a manageable condition.


When your puppy has asthma, the air passages to his lungs fill with mucus, causing them to swell and spasm. This means that less air is able to reach his lungs, and so it is more difficult for him to breathe. The primary symptom of asthma is coughing, and so you won’t realise there’s a problem until you hear a little gruffness in his growl. When asthma attacks occur, your puppy may also wheeze and seem to gasp for air, which may cause him to paw at his own face or move around in a strange way in order to get more air.


As with human asthma, there are many potential triggers and so it’s not unusual to never discover the cause. However, most cases of allergic bronchitis are caused by an allergic reaction to something in the dog’s environment, be it cigarette smoke, air pollution, pollen, perfumes and fumes from household cleaning products, fresheners or fertilizers. Plus, your furry little friend may have a food sensitivity, possibly reacting to an additive or flavouring.


No matter the cause of your puppy’s asthma, there is a variety of treatments that can help to widen his air passages and reduce inflammation:


1. Antihistamines. These reduce fluid and mucus in your puppy’s airways


2. Corticosteroids. These lower the inflammation in your puppy’s lungs and air passages.


3. Bronchodilators. These work to decrease swelling in your puppy’s air passages.


4. Cough suppressants. The vet may prescribe these if your puppy develops a chronic cough as part of the asthma.


Depending on your canine’s symptoms and the severity of his condition, the vet will either choose to administer these medications immediately, or through the use of an inhaler which your dog may need throughout his life. Either way, you can all breathe a little easier.

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