Canine Asthma

by Nancy Boland

As with people, asthma in canines is basically an allergic reaction to something in the environment. Exposure leads to inflammation that blocks the airways to make breathing difficult.


Common allergen that can trigger an attack include smoke whether its from tobacco, or fireplaces, air fresheners, perfumes, airborne pollen, or pesticides or several of the aforementioned.

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The signs of asthma differ greatly from regular panting. Here are some of the signs your dog may have asthma:

Pants more heavily and longer than usual.

Coughing, wheezing or loss of breath at regular intervals

Loss of energy or appetite.

Preventative Measures

Consider these steps to create a safe living space for asthmatic dogs:

Don’t smoke near your dog

If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove consider keeping your dog out of the room where the fire is, so that minimum smoke can be inhaled.

Clean tile and hardwood floors with a natural cleaner like white vinegar, straight from the bottle diluted with water instead of any with harsh chemicals.

Eliminate artificial smelling air fresheners as these contain harsh chemicals that only mask smells and severely affect breathing ability.

Rather than wearing perfumes, consider essential oils that can be custom mixed to duplicate scents but without chemicals and allergens.

Bathe your dog regularly, making sure he is thoroughly dried

Diagnosis and Treatment

Asthma in canines is generally diagnosed by an x-ray. Once the underlying cause has been identified owners can begin to work on improving the condition over time. A vet may ask an owner to keep an allergy diary to help keep track of when the attack happened, how long, how severe and what potential allergens could have triggered the attack at the time.

The prognosis for dogs with asthma is excellent with prompt diagnosis and treatment – especially if affecting allergen can be identified and removed from the dog’s environment.

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