Why Is My Dog Wheezing?

Why Is My Dog Wheezing?

Justifiably, any sound that our dogs suddenly make that wasn’t once there is a cause of concern for us dog parents.

And that’s why you’re here: wondering, “Why is my dog wheezing?”

Obviously, it’s worrying for you. In most cases, there’s a simple solution.

But if it’s persistent, it’s important to know what the different possible causes of wheezing are so you know if it’s anything serious.

Let’s take a look…

What Is Wheezing?

If your dog is wheezing, he is probably making a high-pitched sound as he’s exhaling (which sounds very similar to a human wheeze).

Wheezing occurs when there’s a problem with your dog’s sensitive airway that constricts oxygen from getting in. It could be swelling or inflammation, or there could be something blocking the windpipe or bronchi.

Reasons for The Wheeze

  • Bronchitis

If your dog has bronchitis, you’ll notice he’s coughing.

Bronchitis in dogs is accompanied by inflammation and swelling that constricts the airways and causes the secretion of mucus.

  • Collapsed Trachea

Most common in small, short-nosed breeds, this chronic condition makes the cartilage around the trachea weak and prone to collapse.

This causes an obstruction in your dog’s airway, making him less able to breathe.

In addition to wheezing, a honking couch is also another symptom of a collapsed trachea.

  • Asthma

Asthma in dogs is caused by allergens that lead to spasms and constrictions in the large upper airways.

It is also known as allergic bronchitis, and some signs of it include a dry hacking cough and respiratory distress, as well as wheezing.

  • Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a highly infectious upper respiratory disease that causes irritation in the airways, which is why one of its most prominent symptoms is a strong cough.

If you notice your dog is not only wheezing and coughing but is also sneezing, lethargic, or suffering a loss of appetite, chances are he might have kennel cough.

  • Allergies

Just like how we get allergies, dogs can also develop an allergic reaction to allergens like pollen, mold, and dust mites.

  • Heart Disease

Congestive heart failure and heart valve diseases often lead to a fluid build-up that would cause your dog to wheeze.

Although your dog has a higher chance of a heart problem if he’s old, young dogs could also get them in rare cases.

You’ll notice your dog might also be persistently coughing and has low energy or an intolerance to exercise, which goes hand in hand with his difficulty breathing.

  • Foreign Body

Any obstruction of the airway could be an emergency.

If your dog is wheezing and is known to chew on bones, balls, or toys, there could be a foreign body stuck in his windpipe.

If you know this to be your dog and suspect this is the case, take him to a vet immediately! If the foreign body completely obstructs the airway, your dog could pass out from not being able to breathe.

  • Parasites

    If anything, being a dog parent has probably taught you to despise parasites.

    Scratching is not the only thing those critters do!

    Certain kinds of parasites can also live in your dog’s lungs and airways and cause irritations, which could be causing wheezing.

When to Be Concerned


It’s one thing to figure out why your dog is wheezing, but it’s another if it comes with another urging symptom that is causing a threat to his life!

We’ve mentioned some of these above, but it’s pressingly important that you lookout for a wheeze that comes with:

  • Gagging
  • Gasping for breath
  • A persistent, strong cough
  • Blue gums or tongue
  • Hyperventilation
  • A loss of appetite

Treatment and Prevention


After you’ve learned about the different causes for wheezing and the different ways they manifest, you’re now a step closer to figuring out which one it is so you know how to treat it.

Not all wheezing reasons can be prevented, but ones like infectious diseases can be prevented through vaccinations.

To build upon that, parasites can be prevented through internal parasite control or medications.

You can also decrease his exposure to allergens and be cautious about him swallowing something that can obstruct his air passage.

If you notice any of the danger signs, the first thing to do is to go to the vet.

Your vet will help you further identify the problem and work with you to find the best course of action!