Does Your Dog Have Trouble Breathing?

Some times a dog’s breathing will change. He will pant if he has played hard or the weather is hot. Sometimes a dog will have shallow breathing if he has injured himself in the rib cage area. Sometimes when a dog’s breathing has changed it is a sign of a serious problem. When a dog’s breathing changes he should be checked out by a veterinarian to determine the cause.


Dogs breathe faster after exercise and they also pant in hot weather, when excited and nervous.  They sometimes will pant if they are in pain.  Rapid breathing will also occur in dangerous conditions such as shock, poisoning or heatstroke.  Call your veterinarian immediately if your dogs’ breathing has suddenly increased for no apparent visible reason.

A dog that has shallow breathing will breathe more rapidly and this problem can be caused by pain caused by bruising or damage to the ribs.  If your dog has shallow breathing and has suffered an injury consult your veterinarian.

A dog that is breathing shallow could have something interfering with the normal function of his chest.  There might be something preventing his chest from contracting and expanding normally.  Heart failure could be one of the causes.  Lung disease, buildup of fluid in the chest, trauma such as a torn diaphragm, and tumors are also causes of shallow breathing.  Consult your veterinarian immediately if your dog has this problem.

You must not mistake normal panting for labored breathing.  Panting which is shallow, rapid and open-mouthed breathing is not usually a medical problem.  It is what hot, nervous, excited or tired dogs do.  If your dog pants for no reason consult your veterinarian.

Pain will sometimes cause a dog to pant.  One sign of whether your dog’s panting is healthy is the color of his tongue.  A pink tongue is normal.

Does your dog wheeze or cough?  Sometimes this is caused by an obstruction in the upper respiratory tract and paralysis of the vocal folds.  Consult your veterinarian if your dog develops noisy breathing.

Wheezing is not common in dogs and when it does happen it usually indicates a problem that is affecting the lungs.  It could also be an inflammation of the bronchi caused by allergy, irritation or an infection.  Wheezing dogs should receive veterinary attention immediately.

Coughing is caused by irritation in the respiratory tract and a dog that continues to cough must be taken to the veterinarian to determine the cause.

When a dog seems to have a breathing problem it can be nothing serious or it can be the sign of a serious problem.  Any time you notice your dog is not breathing in his normal manner and there is no apparent reason for it be sure and take him to the veterinarian to be checked out.

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User Comments
  1. smokychristine

    On July 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Very helpful information.

  2. sabanawaz

    On July 23, 2012 at 12:53 am

    helpful information thank you

  3. jennifer eiffel01

    On August 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    My first Chihuahua coughed to death because her heart became enlarged and pushed on her esophagus. I do not believe in putting dogs to sleep so we had about 4 months of watching her cough. My second chihuahua that an eagle stole was starting to get that cough, it was not that bad, but we noticed it.

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