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Addressing Breathing Problems in Dogs

Your dog’s respiratory system is pretty amazing. On top of the expected job of delivering oxygen to cells and removing carbon dioxide, it also helps to regulate body temperature! But with so many components and roles comes a range of potential breathing and respiratory issues—and it can be quite scary for us in the moment as we try to figure out what might be wrong with our furry friends and how best to address the issue. We’ve created a guide to tackling respiratory problems in dogs so that you can be better informed and ready to get your pup to a vet should trouble arise.

Breathing Issues in Dogs

It seems like just about everything can cause a respiratory issue for your canine, from bacterial infections to trauma to inhaling a toxic substance. But with some knowledge, you can better prepare yourself to recognize when your dog is suffering. Here are the most common forms of dog breathing problems to keep an eye out for when spending time with your pup. Keep in mind that these are symptoms of an underlying problem, such as pneumonia or tonsillitis, and head straight to an available vet if you suspect your dog is having difficulty breathing.


Labored breathing, or dyspnea, means that a dog is working too hard to get oxygen. You can think of this as the shortness of breath you experience when climbing up several flights of stairs. But in this case, your dog will be struggling to breathe for seemingly no reason.
Dyspnea can be caused by a variety of diseases and issues affecting any part of the respiratory system—the mouth, throat, nose, trachea, or lungs. These include infections, tumors, heartworm, and trauma. That may seem like a long and varied list, but that’s because the individual parts of your dog’s respiratory system all need to function in order to supply oxygen to her entire body! Inflammation of the lungs, an object stuck in the trachea, or a tumor in the nose are all just as likely to cause dyspnea.


This respiratory issue refers to rapid breathing in dogs. While canines will breathe quickly during exercise and periods of excitement, dangerous tachypnea occurs in situations when your dog has no reason to breathe so rapidly. The problem can be caused by the same issues that lead to dyspnea, but also by sinus infections, anemia, hypoxemia (low blood oxygen level), and blood clots inside the lungs. Notably, rapid breathing isn’t always a sign that something is wrong. Keep an eye out for additional symptoms such as coughing, discolored gums, and vomiting or diarrhea.

Treating Canine Respiratory Concerns

Recognizing a respiratory issue in your dog can be difficult. Our furry friends pant and breathe quickly when they’re excited, stressed, and to regulate their body temperature. Here are a few ways to help your dog if you suspect he’s suffering from a breathing issue.

Consult a Veterinarian

Is your dog breathing fast? Does he appear to be in distress, not getting enough air, or reluctant to let you near him? In emergency situations or cases in which you can’t quickly determine the cause of your dog’s distress, get your canine companion to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. He or she is the one best equipped to take care of your dog and get him healthy again.
The vet may run some tests to determine the source of your dog’s difficulty breathing. This could include everything from drawing blood to taking an x-ray to check the condition of the lungs. Depending on the nature of your pup’s respiratory issue, your vet will recommend a course of action and a treatment plan.

Employ Home Remedies

While you should always consult your vet about any health issue your dog may be dealing with, some milder respiratory problems can be managed at home. Have you noticed how your own allergies or sinuses can be cleared up or eased with a steamy shower? You can help your pup in the same way! Put him in the bathroom with the shower creating steam in order to help open up his sinuses. But be sure to keep an eye on him—you don’t want him getting too warm in there. If steaming up the bathroom isn’t convenient, consider investing in a humidifier, which can also help with the same issues.

Support Your Dog’s Respiratory System with Wapiti Lab’s Chest Supplement

Consider starting your healthy dog on a supplement (after consulting your vet) to help his body run the way it should. The key to keeping your dog fit and able to bounce back from issues or injuries is being proactive. Instead of waiting for a health problem to show up, work to keep your dog in peak physical condition so that he’s ready for whatever comes his way! Wapiti’s Chest supplement is specially formulated with natural ingredients to warm his lungs and help support normal respiratory function.

Keep Your Canine Companion Happy and Healthy with Wapiti

When your pup breathes easy, so do we. That’s why we offer a wide range of supplements that can help your dog maintain her bodily functions. All of our formulas are made with natural ingredients like elk velvet antler and herbs that can help your dog feel her best!

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