Complete Guide about Respiratory Diseases in Dogs and Types and Treatment –

Complete Guide about Respiratory Diseases in Dogs and Types and Treatment

Respiratory diseases in dogs are pathological conditions that affect the upper and lower respiratory tract, occurring in different ways and having a prognosis depending on the severity.

Diseases rarely develop on their own; sometimes they are present as a symptom in a symptom complex.

If bronchitis or bronchopneumonia in young individuals develops as a result of specific infections, then in older dogs this indicates liver, heart, kidney, etc. problems.

Understanding Dog Breathing

It is believed that respiratory diseases in dogs (excluding the upper respiratory tract) are a kind of indicator of the general state of the body and the immune system.

The breathing rate changes depending on the impact of external causes (stress, heat).

Fact ! Typically, the frequency of breathing movements in a dog is set in the range of 10-30 movements per minute . Rate depends on race, age, size.

In the absence of external causes and changes in breathing, one can speak of diseases:

  • Pneumonia;
  • Pleurisy;
  • Ephysema;

A prolonged inhalation and exhalation with rare breath will occur when the airway is narrowed (nostrils closed with mucus or scabs, swelling, tracheal compression).

List of respiratory diseases in dogs

Most often, in dogs, there are pronounced forms of bronchitis, laryngitis, rhinitis and various forms of pneumonia.

The younger generation of animals is more prone to these diseases, they are more pronounced and often lead to serious consequences.

All  respiratory illnesses in dogs are  generally classified into two main groups:

  1. Upper respiratory tract diseases, of which: laryngitis, rhinitis and tracheitis;
  2. Diseases of the lungs, pleura and bronchi, which are distinguished: pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, pleurisy and pneumothorax.


Rhinitis in dogs is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nasal passages. Another name we use more often is ‘ runny nose ‘, which comes in different forms, degrees of complications and symptoms.

List of possible causes:

  • Hypothermia (humidity, drafts);
  • Home air conditioners;
  • Allergic rhinitis in dogs (smoke, pollen, something chemical, etc.);
  • Foreign bodies in the nasal passages;
  • Parasites (fleas, worms).

Secondary rhinitis develops in response to the effects on the body of viral and bacterial infections.


Laryngitis in dogs is an inflammation of the lining of the larynx. Laryngitis, due to the nature of the inflammation, is catarrhal and croup, in its course – acute and chronic, in origin – primary and secondary.

Primary laryngitis results from poor maintenance and feeding of dogs . The immediate cause of laryngitis can be:

  • Hypothermia;
  • Air currents;
  • Irritation of the laryngeal mucosa as a result of drinking hot or cold water for dogs;
  • Food with frozen food;
  • Cold water bath;
  • Long walk in cold weather;
  • Dust;
  • Certain medications.

The main symptom of acute catarrhal laryngitis in dogs is a severe cough . Early in the disease, it is dry, acute, and very painful. Afterwards, it becomes moist and persistent.

When food and water are ingested, especially cold ones, or when cold or dusty air is inhaled, coughing attacks intensify and may be accompanied by vomiting.


Bronchitis is an inflammation of the submucosa and bronchial mucosa.

The causes of the disease are different:

  • Colds;
  • Hypothermia;
  • Air currents;
  • Inhalation of dust and gases;
  • Lack of vitamins C and A.

Secondary bronchitis develops in the context of infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Symptoms of bronchitis include a dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, a thick runny nose, rapid heart rate, and fever.

Respiratory diseases in dogs: bronchopneumonia

It is common to distinguish between primary and secondary bronchopneumonia.

The main cause of secondary bronchopneumonia is the complication of acute bronchitis, when inflammation passes from the affected bronchi to lung tissue.

Primary bronchopneumonia can occur as a result of foreign objects entering the lungs – food, medicinal substances, etc. Fever, depression, poor appetite, rapid and labored breathing are all symptoms of bronchopneumonia.

Respiratory Diseases in Dogs: Pneumonia

The pneumonia is an acute fibrinous inflammation of the lung tissue that affects the entire lung. As the main cause of the disease is hypothermia and the common cold, hunting and service dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are more susceptible to pneumonia.

Unlike many other diseases of the dog’s respiratory system, which develop mildly, pneumonia usually starts suddenly.

The animal’s appetite drastically decreases or disappears completely, depression is observed, the dog’s activity is minimal.

With the development of the disease, coughing begins, the temperature rises and the presence of secretions in the nasal cavity is noticed.

How can I tell if my dog ​​is breathing badly?

Treating Breathing Difficulties in Dogs | PetMD

For an experienced eye, it takes little to recognize a dog in trouble, but for a novice owner, it’s essential to watch your pet while it’s still healthy.

Once you have memorized your dog’s physiological breathing, it will be much easier to recognize a respiratory problem from the very first breath!

A dog with dyspnoic breathing may present:

  • Very agitated, panting with open mouth;
  • With increased respiratory rate (> 30 breaths per minute);
  • Panting, with large and quick movements of the chest and belly;
  • Hyperthermic (the increase in temperature is related to respiratory effort);
  • With abundant production of foamy saliva.

Beware of brachycephalics!

The genetic evolution of these dogs led to the development of serious anatomical defects:

  • stenosis of the nostrils;
  • Hypoplasia of the nasal cavities;
  • Elongated and thickened soft palate;
  • Hypoplastic trachea.

For this reason, the owner of a dog with such defects should always consider the possibility of submitting his dog to corrective surgery, in order to improve the dog’s breathing and thus avoid some serious complications such as respiratory crises or heat stroke.

Respiratory Diseases in Dogs

Some diseases of the respiratory tract in dogs pose a serious threat to the animal’s life, others are less dangerous, but they also require a professional approach to treatment.

And the similarity of symptoms in most cases makes self-treatment not only useless but extremely dangerous. Therefore, if you suspect laryngitis, bronchitis, rhinitis or other respiratory illness, you should entrust the animal’s health to a qualified veterinarian who can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment.

As a rule, on admission to the clinic, respiratory diseases in dogs respond well to treatment and have a favorable prognosis.

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