Why is My Dog Wheezing and Coughing – Causes and Remedies

In the last five years, I got several patient owners who have a common complaint – why is my dog wheezing. There are many infectious and noninfectious reasons for a dog’s wheezing. Your dog may have chronic bronchitis, allergies, different heart diseases, kennel cough, and other respiratory infections that may lead to wheezing.

Today I will share my practical experiences to understand why your dog is wheezing so much. Again, I will share some of the home remedies for dog wheezing that help your dog keep good health. 

You should not be worried if your dog is wheezing for a few seconds to a few minutes. But, if the wheezing may persist for a long time and shows some other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, gagging, and panting, you might contact a veterinarian immediately.

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Why is my dog wheezing

As a pet owner or a veterinarian, you might diagnose the dog as wheezing. The dog wheezing is a whistling or rattling sound in the chest or windpipe while breathing. But, it is very hard to diagnose a dog wheezing if you are not previously experienced. 

I found coughing in many dogs accomplished with wheezing, which leads to serious conditions. So, if you find coughing and wheezing in your dog, you should immediately take your pet to a veterinarian. 

Quick answer: this is the short answer to your question – why is my dog wheezing so much? The dog’s wheezing is blocking the normal airflow in and out of the airway. If your dog has a previous history of chronic bronchitis, tracheal collapse, or other serious respiratory distress like kennel cough, and allergies, they may suffer from wheezing.

If you find your dog wheezing for a few seconds to a few minutes, it is normal and will not cause any harm to your dog’s health. But, you may find the dog wheezing frequently and get other complications like coughing, gagging, shaking, and panting, then it is going to be severe. 

Most of the time, coughing is normal for a dog and beneficial for their throat. Because the normal coughing clears their throat and helps in a better breath. But, intensive coughing with wheezing or sneezing may get serious.

Why is my dog wheezing
Why is my dog wheezing

Sometimes, you may confuse dog wheezing with gagging. The gagging is a characteristic of choking or retching and prevents dog’s speech and shouts. But, the causes of gagging in a dog are almost similar to the causes of wheezing. 

Excessive panting in dogs with other complications like louder sounds and wheezing may lead to more serious problems. 

Causes of your dog wheezing

You will find different infectious and noninfectious causes of your dog’s wheezing, coughing, and gagging. Some of these conditions cause normal wheezing in your dog. And some other conditions may cause extensive wheezing and gagging, leading to a serious issue. 

From my last five years’ experience, I would like to share the most common causes of your dog’s wheezing with you. So that you may understand why your dog is wheezing so much or for a short time. Fine, let’s see the common causes of dog wheezing –

  • Canine chronic bronchitis, 
  • Seasonal and dust allergies of dogs (very common that I found), 
  • Inhaled foreign bodies, 
  • A collapsed trachea of a dog, 
  • Kennel cough condition in a dog, 
  • Other different upper respiratory problems, 
  • Various heart problems,  
  • Dog influenza, 
  • Parasite and nasal mites of a dog, and
  • Over excitement of a dog. 

I found more dog wheezing cases with allergies, chronic bronchitis, and kennel cough. If your dog wheeze from allergies, it is very simple to manage them. But dog wheezing with chronic bronchitis or kennel cough is more serious, and you need a professional veterinarian to diagnose it perfectly. 

The young dogs are more suspective of outdoor or seasonal allergies. Again, dust and indoor allergens like scented candles, perfumes, and smoke may lead to indoor allergies in all dogs. 

Canine chronic bronchitis affects the lower airways that cause inflammation of the mucosa. Thus the condition of a dog with chronic bronchitis worsens, and they suffer from difficulty breathing. 

The tracheal collapse may lead to a mild to severe obstruction in the airways that causes wheezing. Various heart problems like cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure may cause wheezing in a dog.

Why do allergies causes wheezing in my dog?

Allergies are the most common cause that I found, leading to a dog’s wheezing. But, you may ask me how and why allergies cause wheezing in my dog. Fine, let me explain how allergies cause wheezing and other symptoms like a dry cough.

Different types of airborne allergens like pollen, dust mite, mold, and smoke may enter a dog’s airways. These allergens are responsible for swelling the mucosa of the airways. 

Thus these allergen causes a partial obstruction of the airways and leads the difficulties in breathing. So, you will find that wheezing in your dog is allergies. 

Again, you will also find the dry cough in the allergic condition as there occurs the obstruction into the airways. But, some allergies cause common itching problems to your dog, which may lead to red and inflamed skin with losing hair. 

I want to inform you of the details of dog allergies to understand which one may cause wheeze. This will also help you take proper preventive measures to protect your dogs from allergies. 

Dog allergies

An allergy is a normal reaction when the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance (allergen). These foreign substances or allergens cause unwanted respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Again, you will find some nose, eye, and skin-related symptoms in an allergic dog. Almost 40 percent of dogs suffer from different types of allergic conditions. So, you may frequently find wheezing in your pet dog due to allergies. 

There are mainly three causes of allergies in a dog –

  • Flea allergy in a dog, 
  • Food allergy in a dog, and 
  • Environmental allergy of a dog. 

Ideally, dog allergies cause nose, eye, skin, and respiratory symptoms (especially in lung and trachea). But, here, I will only describe the respiratory symptoms of dog allergies to know how it develops wheezing. 

Wheezing with other complications like gagging, shaking, and sneezing may lead to a decreased quality of life. It also causes difficulty sleeping and decreases dog’s energy.

The environmental allergy may cause by two types of allergens –

  • Outdoor or seasonal allergen–like pollen causes restricted the airways in a dog, and 
  • Dust and indoor allergens – like scented candles, dust mites, perfumes, and smoke. 

The environmental allergy of a dog mainly causes the respiratory symptoms –

  • Wheezing (a whistling sound) while breathing, 
  • Coughing with nasal discharges, 
  • Chest tightness, and 
  • Shortness of breath.

Again, I have also found nasal discharge, watery eyes, skin redness, itchy skin, and sneezing in the allergies caused by environmental allergens. In the extreme, allergies to a dog may lead to a severe anaphylaxis reaction. 

Development of wheezing in an allergic dog

But when does your pet reach this extreme condition? If your dog gets exposed to more environmental allergens, the state may worsen. So, reducing exposure to allergens can reduce the severity of the allergic symptoms.

The environmental allergens are not harmful, but when they enter the body (throat and lung of a dog), they interact with a foreign body. So, they caused an immune reaction in the airways and inflamed the mucosa. Thus, you will find swelling in the mucosa of the dog’s airways. 

The swelling of the mucosa of a dog’s airways obstructs normal airflow and provides irritation. And thus, this obstruction and irritation develop into wheezing in a dog.

How to reduce exposure to allergens in your dog? 

It is very important to reduce the allergens from your household that may dramatically reduce the symptoms of dog allergies. I will provide some important tips to reduce the allergen in your home. You may perform it in two ways –

  • Control allergens from the dog’s body, and 
  • General household control to reduce allergens. 

It would be best to bathe your dog regularly to remove the allergen from their fur. It is recommended to use the tested branded shampoo for your dog to remove the allergens from their hair.

Airborne dog allergens may find more in the room, so if your dogs are restricted to a room, you should clean it properly to remove the environmental allergens. Again, it would help if you did not use any wood types of furniture for your dog in their bedroom. 

You should not use dry cleaning for the floor of dog’s bedroom. Rather it is better to use the floor cleaning agents with wet supplies such as damp cloths and mops. All the bedding materials and cloths should be washed with high temperature and detergent to remove the allergen perfectly. 

Again, you may vacuum regularly in your dog’s bedroom. It is also recommended to replace the carpet with smooth flooring as carpet is the main reservoir of different types of allergens.

Canine chronic bronchitis and wheezing 

Why is canine chronic bronchitis causing wheezing in my dog? Canine chronic bronchitis affects the lower airways of the dog. It can cause inflammation on the lining epithelium of the bronchi of a dog that lead to frequent coughing and wheezing. 

This condition worsens if there is the presence of poor quality air and environmental stress like smoke and air mite. So, please avoid smoking around the dog and spraying the scented perfumes and aerosol. 

Again, providing well ventilation to your dog’s house will reduce the cause of canine chronic bronchitis. Let’s know some other information on canine chronic bronchitis.

What is chronic bronchitis in a dog?

Chronic bronchitis is an inflammatory problem in a dog that affect the smaller airways which branch out from the windpipe (trachea). You know these windpipe branches are bronchi and bronchioles that allow air transport into and out of the alveoli. 

In bronchitis in a dog, you will find the inflammation and swelling in the wall of the bronchi and bronchioles. This inflammation and swelling narrow the airways and impair the ability to bring oxygen into the alveoli. 

Again, excessive secretion results from the inflamed area of the bronchi and bronchioles. These may develop a plug and obstruct the airways. Thus, coughing and wheezing may extend into acute and chronic bronchitis. 

So, you will find two types of bronchitis in a dog – acute (short duration) and chronic (longer period, more than 2 – 3 months). Bronchitis may occur for bacterial infection, allergic reaction, parasitic infestation, and chronic inhalation. 

In acute canine bronchitis, you will find reversible changes in the structures of the airways. But, in chronic canine bronchitis, permanent and irreversible changes in the bronchi and bronchioles occur. 

Generally, chronic bronchitis may occur in a six-year-old dog and is associated with tracheobronchial collapse. In acute and chronic bronchitis, you will find the three common symptoms – coughing, difficult breathing, and wheezing. 

So, if you find your dog coughing or having difficulty breathing with wheezing, you should immediately call a veterinarian.  

Signs and diagnosis of dog bronchitis

If your dog shows coughing and wheezing for a short duration, this is not a problem. But, in chronic bronchitis, you will find excessive symptoms –

  • Severe coughing and wheezing last for 2 – 3 months or longer, 
  • Increased the respiration rate, 
  • Intolerance of the exercise, and 
  • Decreased appetite and weakness. 

But, these symptoms are not enough to diagnose chronic bronchitis. To properly diagnose canine chronic bronchitis, you should contact a professional veterinarian who will perform a chest radiograph and a bronchoscopy. 

As a dog’s chronic bronchitis is very harmful and serious, you should take proper steps to prevent it earlier. It is strongly recommended to eliminate the exposure to smoke, dust particles, and different types of sprays to your dog.

You should also reduce the weight of your dog’s body weight, improving the flow of oxygen and exercise tolerance. Again, your dog’s weight loss might help them decrease the frequency of coughing. 

Why is my dog wheezing after inhaling foreign bodies?

The mechanism behind the dog is wheezing after inhaling the foreign bodies are same as I described before. This is another common cause of dog wheezing as the dog like to play with toys, bone fragments, sticks, and other objects.

Quick answer: Sometimes, a dog may inhale the foreign bodies that may log into the airways. Again, this may commonly happen when the dog eats so quickly and inhale. The inhaled particles may stick to your dog’s windpipe and cause partial obstruction. And thus, the wheezing may develop into a dry cough. 

In partial obstruction of the windpipe, a dog starts to show frequent wheezing and becomes more serious with the time. But, dogs try to swallow the foreign particles, which may lead to good or serious conditions (depending on the foreign particles’ size and texture). 

If there is a complete obstruction in the windpipe due to inhaling the foregin substances, the dog struggles to breathe and may quickly lose consciousness. In that case, you might immediately contact a veterinary practitioner to remove this foregin particle from the windpipe.

Puppies are more susceptible to inhaling foreign bodies. The most common foreign bodies that may inhale are small toys, small fragments of bone, retained pieces of feed particles, and others. 

The foregin bodies may obstruct two ways – they may block the esophagus and the windpipe (trachea). In most cases, you may find the obstruction in the esophagus with the foregin body. 

Most foregin bodies may pass through the digestive tract without any incident. Some require endoscopic removal, and few require surgical removal. But, the surgical removal of foregin bodies from both esophagus and trachea is very risky. 

Symptoms and management of inhaled foregin body

The symptoms of foregin substances inhale are highly variable and largely depend on the size and shape of the substances. Again, the location of the obstruction of airways with the foregin bodies is also important. 

Commonly, you will find drooling, wheezing, gagging, dysphagia, and blood with saliva in foregin body inhalation. Again, the management of removing foregin bodies may depend on what substance is, where it is located, and what symptoms the dogs have. 

But, if your dog accidentally inhales any sharp objects, there needs special consideration. Please don’t try it yourself; call a veterinarian immediately who will care about it. 

A collapsed trachea causes wheezing

Not all breeds of dogs are prone to a collapsed trachea condition. You will find the collapsed trachea in a small middle-aged breed of dogs. It is characterized by the dorsoventrally flattened tracheal rings that result from progressive cartilage degeneration.

Again, the collapsed trachea may cause more frequently when your dog becomes more active and excited than normal. You will find the honking cough, abnormal breathing sound while sleeping, and wheezing in your dog, whose have a collapsed trachea. 

So, if you find your dog snoring more often in sleep with cough and wheezing, you should call a veterinarian. The veterinarian will provide proper medication and management that will improve the health condition of your affected dog. 

Why would a trachea collapse? 

The trachea consists of cartilaginous rings that vary from individual to individual. The trachea; rings are not a complete circle; rather, they form a C-shaped structure with an open end. This open end is bridged with trachealis muscle (smooth). 

The lumen diameter and number of tracheal rings may vary in dog breeds. Again, structural changes in the cartilage matrix cause softening and weakening of the cartilage rings. This condition is the tracheomalacia which affects most of the older small breed of dogs. 

So, tracheomalacia is when the cartilaginous ring becomes soft and spongy. The cartilage ring can not hold a C-shaped supportive structure in this condition. 

The tracheal rings become flattened in varying degrees during inspiration and expiration. Thus, it blocks the airflow to the lung from the weakened cartilage ring of the trachea. 

You may find the trachea collapse within the chest, in the neck, or both inside and outside of the chest. But, most commonly, the tracheal collapse is worst where the trachea enters the chest (extrathoracic). 

The trachea collapse leads to increased secretion and inflammation, thus producing more coughing. Again, some enzymes are involved in the inflammation and soft the tracheal cartilage more, making the collapse worse. 

So, the prognosis of tracheal collapse is not good; you should consult a professional veterinarian for it. 

What animals are affected?

This tracheal collapse may commonly be seen in dogs’ toys and small breeds like toy poodles, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Lhasa apsos, Pomeranians, etc. Yorkshire terriers. Again, this condition occurs in the middle to the old-aged dog, but sometime you may find it in the younger dogs.

Some factors may create the tracheal collapse in a dog –

  • Endotracheal intubation during the anesthesia of a dog, 
  • Development of the kennel cough and other upper respiratory problems, 
  • Heart enlargement, obesity, and inhaling irritant substances. 

The most common symptoms found in the affected dogs are –

  • Chronic dry cough with excitement, exercise, and stress, 
  • Vomiting, gagging, difficult breathing, and wheezing are more common. 

You may also find other different symptoms in a dog due to tracheal collapse. 

Why is my dog wheezing due to a heart problem? 

Your dog may have different heart problems like cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve due to these various chronic heart problems. In this part, I will provide the answer to your question – how and why is my dog wheezing due to heart problems?

Quick answer: if your dog has any chronic heart problems, they become very lazy and exercise intolerant. You know these conditions of a dog may lead the wheezing. Again, if your dog has chronic congestive heart failure and it worsens, the lungs’ fluid may develop. Thus, the increased fluid in the lung causes both wheezing and coughing. 

It is impossible to describe all the heart problems in this single article. But, I will try to provide basic information about some of the heart problems of a dog like a cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve problems. 

Again, I will show you how these heart problems create wheezing in your dog. Fine, let’s know some information about a dog’s cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve problems.

Cardiomyopathy and wheezing 

The cardiomyopathy of a dog is a heart muscle problem that becomes weak and frequently causes an abnormal heartbeat. This problem can cause the heart to lose its ability to contract or pump blood appropriately out to the body. Generally, you may find this cardiomyopathy on both sides of the heart (especially in the left ventricle). 

This is a very common heart problem that may occur in older large breeds of the dog. The Doberman Pinscher, Cocker Spaniels, and Boxer breeds are more prone to this cardiomyopathy problems. 

In the cardiomyopathy of a dog, you will find two forms – 

  • The first causes the weak the heart muscle, which leads to improper blood pumping, and 
  • The second form of cardiomyopathy causes an abnormal heartbeat. 

In the early stage of cardiomyopathy, a dog may show normal behavior. Still, your veterinarian will find a murmuring sound in the heart with an abnormal beat in the chronic case. 

As the heart muscle weakens and there are difficulties in blood pumping, the dog becomes lethargic and exercises intolerance. Thus there may develop wheezes with other different difficult problems. 

The most common symptoms of dog cardiomyopathy are –

  • Fast breathing with wheezing while resting or sleeping, 
  • Try to increase the effort associated with difficult breathing, 
  • Restless sleeping, coughing, and gagging, 
  • Decrease appetite, weight loss, and weakness, 
  • Reducing the ability to exercise.

So, if you find restless sleeping, coughing, and wheezing, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. 

Congestive heart failure and wheezing

Heart failure is a chronic, complex condition that develops from a dog’s congenital or acquired heart problems. It can affect both the right and left sides of the dog’s heart and show other respiratory distress and weakness. 

There are two main causes of congestive heart failure in a dog: poor blood flow and circulatory congestion. That means leakage of fluid from the bloodstream into the surrounding tissues. 

  • You may learn about the detailed anatomical facts with its circulation from this article. 

So, if your dog has been suffering from a heart problem for a long time, it may develop into congestive heart failure later. A dog’s left side heart failure results in fluid leakage into the lung tissue that forms the pulmonary edema.

Again, the fluid can accumulates in the chest cavity and abdomen. When the fluid accumulates in the chest cavity, it forms pleural effusion. And fluid accumulates in the abdomen that forms the ascites. 

So, if your dog suffers from the pulmonary edema due to congestive heart failure, you will find the following –

  • Increase the respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, and wheezing, 
  • Exercise intolerance and coughing, 
  • Fainting and others. 

Again, if your dog has pleural effusion and ascites, you will find the followings –

  • Increased the respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, and wheezing (common), 
  • Abdominal distension and exercise intolerance to your dog, 

The prognosis of congestive heart failure is very poor, so you should regularly check your dog previously from a professional veterinarian.

Mitral valve problem in a dog

This common degenerative problem affects older and smaller dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzu, Maltese, Cocker Spaniels, and Whippets. You know the mitral valve acts as a seal on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and left ventricle. 

The ventricle contact and oxygenated blood are pumped around the body. At the same time, the mitral valve closes and prevents blood from going back into the left atrium. 

But, in the degenerative condition, the edge of the mitral valve thickens and becomes knobbly. These changes in the mitral valve cause leakage of blood back into the atrium. Thus, the blood flow goes the wrong way, and the left atrium becomes bigger, leading to congestive heart failure. 

So, you will also find coughing, difficult breathing, and wheezing in your pet dogs due to mitral valve problems.

Kennel cough and wheezing 

The infectious canine tracheobronchitis is the kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection among dogs. This kennel cough may cause by both viruses and bacteria that attach to the cilia lining the respiratory tract. So, these pathogens will cause inflammation of the dog’s upper respiratory tract. 

Thus, upper respiratory tract inflammation leads to irritation of the airways and causes coughing and wheezing. These dogs suffering from kennel cough are more susceptible to a secondary infection.

Who is at risk?

Kennel cough is very contagious and named because it can quickly spread through a kennel and infect every dog. This kennel cough may be transmitted by aerosols released when the sick dog cough. Again, your dog may be infected with the kennel cough by directly contacting the infected animal or by sharing the contaminated objects. 

In addition, if your dog is unvaccinated, young or elder, and immunocompromised, they might experience a kennel cough. Again, the young dog is more serious than the older dog. 

The kennel cough shows persistent, non-productive cough and gagging. Overall, you will find the following symptoms when your dog will affect by the kennel cough. 

  • Dry cough sometime may sound like honking, 
  • Retching and watery nasal discharge, 
  • Decrease appetite, lethargy, and develop pneumonia.

Your dog will generally show these symptoms within three to ten days after exposure to an infected animal.  

Your veterinarian will diagnose kennel cough perfectly, so you need to provide the full history of your dog. Again, your dog’s symptoms should be perfectly provided to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will perform a physical and clinical examination of your dog.

Can I prevent kennel cough?

The most effective way to prevent kennel cough is vaccination. It minimizes your dog’s chances of contracting this condition. You will find three types of vaccine – an injectable, intranasal, and oral forms. So, you may contact your veterinarian for these kennel cough vaccines. 

Again, it would help if you tried to keep fit and in good health for your dog. Again, your dog should stay in a well-ventilated area and reduce your dog’s contact with other dogs. 

Why is my dog wheezing due to influenza?

Canine influenza is a contagious infection problem that causes by the virus and shows severe cough, wheezing, sneezing, lethargy, and nasal discharges. This influenza may transmit to other dogs through the droplets and aerosols created by coughing, wheezing, and contact with nasal discharge.

Most infected dog with canine influenza shows mild clinical symptoms characterized by typical respiratory infection. But, the mild infection becomes very complicated by secondary bacterial infections. 

In the mild canine influenza, you will find the following symptoms in your dogs –

  • Moist to dry cough with wheezing, 
  • Nasal, ocular discharge with sneezing, 
  • Anorexia and lethargy condition develops in dogs. 

Again, in the severe canine influenza, you will find the following symptoms in your affected dogs –

  • Increased the respiratory rate, 
  • Increased the effort of respiration, 
  • Consolidation of the lung, 
  • Present high-grade fever. 

You may control this condition in your dog by vaccination. Again, you should perform some outbreak management to keep fit your dogs.

The upper respiratory infection causes wheezing

Any respiratory infection in the upper respiratory tract will show wheezing and coughing. The canine infectious respiratory disease complex is very common in dogs and caused by one or more bacterial and viral organisms. 

The upper respiratory infection may affect any dog breed and age group. In your dog’s mild case of upper respiratory infection, you will find cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, and mild fever. But, in the progressive case, you will find more coughing with wheezing, sneezing, and more nasal discharge. 

In most of the affected dogs, these symptoms are mild and self-limiting. These symptoms may resolve on their own within one to two weeks. So, you should not worry about coughing and wheezing if your dog is affected by an upper respiratory infection. 

But, it is very important to diagnose this upper respiratory infection of your dog perfectly. A professional veterinarian may perform this. 

In addition, the condition may be very poor if the respiratory infection goes into severe illness. So, in painful conditions, you will find pneumonia complicated with a secondary bacterial infection. 

This is also contagious, and it may spread rapidly from dog to dog. So, it would be best to avoid direct contact from dog to dog. The vaccination is also recommended for your dog to prevent canine infectious respiratory complex. 

Parasite, nasal mite, and excitement cause wheezing

Do you know your dog can also show wheezing when infected by a different parasite like heartworm and lungworm? The lungworm causes inflammation in the respiratory airways of your dog. So, your dog will get irritation by the mucosa of the respiratory passages, and thus it will develop wheezings. 

Again, heartworm causes weakening of the heart muscles; as a result, you will find abnormal blood flow and heartbeat. You know previously, these conditions of the heart may lead to wheezing. You will also find weakness and lethargic conditions when your dog is affected by heartworms.

Sometimes, I also get a call from the pet owner, and they ask – why is my dog wheezing over excitement? This is very normal, and you should not worry about your dog’s condition. Your dog may be very excited after seeing you and running around you for a long time. Some small breed of dog shows some wheezing while running around and excitement. 

Your dog may contract the nasal mite from the other infected dogs. These nasal mites of the dog may affect the nasal passages. They disrupt the nasal mucosa and show sneezing, wheezing, and repeated head shaking. 

When you should be concerned about dog’s wheezing

I hope you got the main idea of why your dog shows wheezing at different times. Some wheezing are normal, and some other need a medical emergency. Here, I will enlist some of the points that might help you decide when you should be concerned about your dog’s wheezing. 

Let’s see the points and observe your dog –

  • Dog shows wheezing with gasping, 
  • They show wheezing and gagging, 
  • Wheezing and coughing at the same time, 
  • The dog shows wheezing and excessive effort in breathing, 
  • Continuous wheezing, sneezing, coughing, 
  • Appetite condition and wheezing of your pet, and 
  • Wheezing with blue gum.

Now, I would like to briefly describe these conditions to understand why you should be concerned about them easily. 

Why should be concerned about these?

Do your dog shows wheezing and gasping for breath at the same time? If so, your dog has difficulty breathing, which may be a life-threatening symptom. You should provide immediate emergency medical support to your dog. This condition may occur due to congestive heart failure and different allergic conditions. 

Do your dog shows wheezing with gagging? If you find these two symptoms simultaneously, you may suspect your dog has cardiomyopathy, other heart problems, or a collapsed trachea. 

Do your dog’s wheeze and cough at the same time? This may occur in different problems, but the main causes of these two conditions are – upper respiratory infection, lower airway infection, kennel cough, and even the collapsed trachea. Again, you may also find wheezing and coughing in congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy. 

Does your dog have wheezing and provide excessive effort during breathing? Probably, your dog has a chronic heart problem and chronic bronchitis. 

You may find your dog more wheezing, coughing, and sneezing in some different infectious diseases. This may be due to chronic heart and lung problems and other contagious conditions, as I provided the information before. 

Again, you may find the wheezing in your dogs with blue gum. This condition is more serious than the others, and this is because of chronic and worsened lung and heart problems. And it would help if you had emergency medical support for your dog for this condition. 

Does your dog have an appetite and wheezing? If so, your dog has a contagious infection, and you need emergency help from the nearest veterinarian. 

What to do when your dog starts wheezing and coughing

If you find your dogs wheezing and coughing, you should try to help them become calm and assist them in breathing efficiently. Here, I will enlist some of the points you should perform when a dog starts to wheeze and cough. 

  • Help them to become calm, 
  • Support them to take proper breathing, 
  • Remove the foregin substances from the mouth and nose if possible, 
  • Please remove the irritant substances from the environment or the dog house, 
  • Provide a well-ventilated environment or home for your dog, 
  • Record your dog wheezing (make a video for your veterinarian), 
  • Visit a professional veterinarian (pet practitioner). 

These are the very common things you should do after starting your dog’s wheezing. If the foregin substances are out of your control (enter deep into the trachea or nose), you should not try this. But, other things like proper ventilation, shifting your dog to a new open environment, and video recording are essential. Then you need call a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Why and how should you do it?

It is very alarming if your dog has coughing, wheezing, and sneezing at a time. At that time, you should try to keep your dog calm. And if you are the owner, you may do it perfectly. As well as you should also remain calm in this condition. If you become more worried, a dog may also show some discomfort. 

If you find any difficulty breathing and excessive effort for breathing, you should immediately call veterinary emergency help. Again, it would help if you tried to support them to take proper breathing primarily. But make sure you should identify the main causes of breathing difficulties. 

If the cause is under your control and you can easily remove that, you should go one a try. But, if you don’t understand why your dog shows these abnormalities, please call a veterinarian. 

Remove foregin substances from the nose and mouth.

In most cases, you already know that young dogs may inhale or eat foregin substances like bone fragments, small toys, and other different particles. They may get stuck in the nose or mouth (esophagus and trachea). 

So, if you think or see your dog eat the foregin hard substance, you should try to remove it as soon as possible. You should check the mouth and nasal cavity first and then remove it manually. But, if the foregin substance goes beyond your control (means entering into the deep), you need emergency veterinary care. 

Remove irritants and provide well ventilation. 

As I told you before, some irritant substances like scented perfumes, candles, air fresheners, and aerosols may trigger your dog’s wheezing and coughing. You should need immediate remove these irritant substances from the environment where your dog is located. 

Again, your dog may be very sensitive to an outdoor allergen like pollen. So, if you find your dog wheezing and coughing outdoor, please bring them indoors. 

In addition, when you see your dog wheeze and cough, you may remove your dog from that house to another house. This house must be well ventilated and have good airflow. The poor air quality may trigger difficulties in breathing and show wheezing and coughing. 

Visit veterinarians with videos.

You should always visit a professional veterinarian for a regular health check. Your dog may show wheeze and cough from time to alarming time. So, it is better to take a video when your dog shows these breathing difficulties. 

This may help your veterinarian to understand why your dog shows these symptoms. As well as, they will go for a physical and clinical diagnosis for wheezing and coughing.  

Home remedies for dog wheezing

I have already provided some of the home remedies for your dog’s wheezing and coughing. But, I nerve to suggest you give any medication to your affected dog without consulting a veterinarian. 

If your dog has chronic bronchitis, chronic heart problem, and any other infectious problem, it may show wheeze and cough. In that case, you need the management and the medication that your veterinarian prescribes. 

So, for home remedies for the dog’s wheezing and coughing, you may perform two important things –

  • Modification of the environment where your dog stays, and 
  • Changes in the diet you provide to your dog (with the help of a veterinarian). 

Again, you have a basic idea of environment modification as I have already provided a few pieces of information about it. Now, I will point out some of the tasks that you may perform in-home to remove the breathing difficulties of your dog. 

Environment management 

I have already mentioned some environmental management for each cause of a dog’s wheezing. So, if you read my previous information from this article, you will come to know all the managemental procedures. Again, I would like to recommend doing the following things in your dog house. 

If you follow these recommendations, I hope you can help your dog breathe easier. So, let’s see what these are –

You should change dog’s bedding materials regularly. Most of the allergen that causes dog’s wheezing and coughing may be present in the bedding materials. Again, you should choose the soft and comfortable bedding material for your dog to reduce wheezing and coughing. 

It is advised to avoid the irritant chemicals, aerosols, and other harmful substances that may cause severe health problems to your dog. 

Again, it will be best to avoid using scented perfume, candles, and other products in your dog house. 

Try to change the airflow direction regularly to your dog’s house. That will provide a comfortable environment to make breathing easier for your dogs. 

Please try to remove the smoke from your dog’s house. 

Finally, you should vacuum and frequently clean your dog’s house to avoid dust particles. 

I think these guides might help you improve the hygienic condition of your dog’s house and improve your dog’s health. 

Provide a proper diet for your dog

It is very important to provide a well-balanced diet for your dogs to keep them fit. Here, I will not recommend any diet for your dog; please contact your veterinarian for a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Why does your dog need a well-balanced and nutritional feed? It’s so simple; your dog needs more nutrients to develop its immune system. Thus, you may prevent some infectious and contagious problems in your dog. 

Again, you should also provide your dog with a low allergen diet to prevent the allergic condition. If your dog is overweight, it is very alarming for you. It would be best to keep your dog fit and have less body weight. For that, you may be training your dog for proper exercise. 

You may also go to a long work every day with your dog. Here, feeding is also important to maintain your dog’s body weight.

Frequently asked questions on dog wheezing

Here, I will enlist the common questions on dog wheezing, coughing, and gagging. I hope this section also might help you answer your common questions – why is my dog wheezing, gagging, shaking, and sneezing. Let’s see the questions and answers – 

Why is my dog wheezing and gagging?

If you see your dog wheezing and gagging simultaneously, there may be a stuck in the windpipe (most commonly). Again, you may also find these two symptoms combined in upper respiratory tract infection, lower respiratory problems, and kennel cough. 

In addition, any foregin body, like bone fragments, small toys, and other sharp particles, may be stuck to the windpipe of the dog’s trachea. This problem also might show the wheezing and gagging in your pet dogs. 

Why is your dog wheezing so much?

Generally, you will find more wheezing in your dogs in seasonal allergies and indoor allergic conditions. The outdoor allergen like pollen and indoor allergens like the scented candles, perfumes, and smoke may cause serious wheezing and cough in your dogs. 

Again, in cardiac myopathy, dogs show more wheezing and coughing. 

Why is my dog wheezing and shaking?

The wheezing and shaking will typically be found in chronic bronchitis and heart disease (if your dog has cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve problems). Again, your dogs show more wheezing and shaking in over-excitement, fear, and even in the simple cold. 

I also found the severe shaking in the breathing difficulties problems. So, you can understand that these symptoms may occur for different issues which your veterinarian will accurately diagnose. 

Why is my dog wheezing and sneezing?

The upper respiratory tract infection and the influenza of the affected dogs show typical wheezing and sneezing. Again, you will find the difficult breathing and low exercise tolerance in the upper respiratory tract infected dog. 

But, the strong scents, perfumes, allergens (both outdoor and indoor), smoke, and dust also cause wheezing and sneezing in your dogs. 

Why is the dog wheezing and panting?

Your dogs may show wheezing and panting due to allergic conditions and severe heart and lung problems. In these conditions, dogs are not taking breaths properly and provide excessive effort for breathing. 

Why is the dog wheezing through his nose?

This condition happens when your dogs have nasal mites. Or you may also find this condition when your dog inhales some small particles through its nose. 

Why is my dog wheezing in his sleep?

The main causes of the wheeze during sleep in a dog are severe heart diseases like congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve problems. I have already described why these heart problems create a serious issue for your dogs. 

Again, if your dog has heartworm and lungworm, they will also show wheezing during sleep. 

Should I be worried if my dog is wheezing?

If you read my previous information, you can understand the different problems that cause wheezing in your dogs. A simple cold or outdoor allergens may cause a simple wheeze in your dogs. So this is very simple wheezing, and you should not worry about it as they are self-limiting. 

Again, chronic heart failure, bronchitis, congestive heart problem, kennel cough, and upper respiratory and lower respiratory problems may create wheezing in your dog.

So, it depends on whether you should be worried or not 

about the dog’s wheezing until you confirm its causes. It will be good if you took your dogs to a professional veterinarian to diagnose why your dog show is wheezing.  

Why is my dog making weird breathing noises?

The main cause of the weird breathing noises in a dog is the presence of tracheal collapse. I have previously described the tracheal collapse details (causes, symptoms, and management) in this article. Please go to that section and learn more about this tracheal collapse in a dog. 

This is mostly a congenital problem, and you will find a crazy honking sound in the tracheal collapse. 

Why is my dog wheezing after eating?

If your dog eats so quickly and inhales while eating, it will show wheeze. Your dog may try to eat some of the bone fragments, small toys, and other small particles. These particles may be stuck to the airways of the dogs and show wheezing. 

Can dogs wheeze from allergies?

Yes, dogs can wheeze from allergies. Environmental allergens (indoor and outdoor) may cause wheeze in your dogs. The most common outdoor allergen is pollen, whereas the indoor allergens are scented candles, perfumes, smoke, dust, and air mites.

What are the signs of respiratory distress (problems) in a dog?

Rapid breathing with continuous panting, inability to settle, standing with the elbow, and abnormal chest movement is the main respiratory distress of a dog. But, you may also find the blue gum, open mouth breathing, and collapse in respiratory distress.


I think you got the perfect answer to your question – why is my dog wheezing and coughing. The canine chronic bronchitis, tracheal collapse, allergies, kennel cough, heart problems, and foreign substances cause different wheezing and coughing in your dogs. 

Normal wheezing is not so serious, whereas wheezing with other complications like coughing, sneezing, difficult breathing, shaking, and panting needs emergency medical care. You should maintain the recommended tips on housing and diet feeding for your dog to keep them physically fit.

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