Respiratory Problems in Dogs

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) report, the pet insurance sector in the U.S. grew by almost 28 percent between 2019 and 2020 alone, showing pet owners are getting increasingly concerned about their pet’s wellness. 

One of the most significant looming concerns for many dog owners is the respiratory problems dogs may develop due to any reason. Therefore, it is necessary to know the causes and traits of these problems. 

For example, if you know the symptoms of collapsed trachea in dogs, you might be able to take immediate action to ensure the best possible treatment for your pup.

Respiration in Dogs

To stay more aware of the respiratory problems of your dog, you should first develop a rudimentary understanding of their breathing system. 

A dog’s respiratory system includes: 

  • Nose or mouth 
  • Throat, which comprises of pharynx and larynx 
  • Windpipe or trachea 
  • Lungs

When the dog breathes in air through the mouth or nose, it first travels through the throat and the trachea to reach the lungs. When your dog inhales in the air, it is called inspiration, while breathing out of the air containing carbon dioxide is known as expiration.  

Is Your Dog Breathing Normally?

To discern the answer to this question, you should develop an idea of how your dog usually breathes while engaging in various activities, like sleeping, running, jumping, etc. Generally, a dog should have a respiratory rate of 20 to 34 breaths per minute in a relaxed state without much effort.

Exceptionally, a change in temperature, activity, and excitement levels may cause a rise in the breathing rate. But watch out for the following symptoms that may indicate a more insidious problem inside.


Also known as labored breathing, you will find your pup striving hard to breathe in this condition. The ailment can happen only while your pet is trying to inhale or exhale air, but in some cases, you can witness difficulty in breathing both during inspiration and expiration.   

Symptoms of dyspnea:

  • Increased movement of the chest wall or belly while breathing
  • Flaring of nostrils while breathing
  • Always breathing with the mouth open
  • Neck and head protruded out low in front of the body  
  • Elbows sticking out while breathing 
  • Loud or rasping breaths 

Possible Causes:

  • Small nostrils
  • Infection in the respiratory system, especially lungs
  • Tumorous growth in the respiratory system
  • Lodging of a foreign object
  • Elongated soft palate (roof of the mouth)
  • Bleeding or bruising of the lungs
  • Electrocution
  • Trauma


If your dog is going through this ailment, he will breathe much faster than usual, even when he’s resting. That’s why it’s known as rapid breathing in dogs.

Symptoms of tachypnea:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Breathing with the mouth partially open or closed

Possible causes:

  • Hypoxemia or diminished oxygen level in the blood
  • Anemia or low red blood cell level in the blood 
  • Blood clots in the lungs

You should remember that factors that cause labored breathing may also result in tachypnea.

Collapsed Trachea 

In dogs, the trachea is a tube that transports air to and from the lungs. The trachea is held open by C-shaped rings of cartilage, which may collapse progressively with time. As the rings collapse, the trachea closes down, causing breathing problems. 

Symptoms of a collapsed trachea in dogs:

  • Persistent, dry, harsh coughing
  • Wheezy or labored breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Retching
  • Blue or purple gums
  • Fainting
  • Change in breathing when being picked up

The exact reasons for tracheal collapses are unknown in most cases, although genetic factors play a significant role in their cause. However, it has resulted in limited treatment options for this condition.

Nonetheless, CBD-rich full spectrum hemp extract has shown remarkable results in alleviating the symptoms of this condition. It is also a safer choice than going with conventional medicines.

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