Why Is Your Dog Wheezing?

By Jen Davis

Wheezing occurs when your dog's airways become constricted and the air your dog breathes does not have a clear way in and out of his lungs. This condition can occur due to a variety of causes. You will need to work with your veterinarian to determine why your dog is wheezing and what type of veterinary treatment is appropriate.

Owning a Wheezing Dog

When an overweight dog who rarely gets much exercise suddenly embarks on a physically rigorous task, you shouldn't be too surprised when that dog comes back to you wheezing. Allow your pet to rest and catch his breath; the wheezing should stop shortly. You should be concerned, however, when your dog starts wheezing without any clear reason for doing so or if he is wheezing while completing activities he previously had no problems with. If your dog has started wheezing regularly with no explanation, take him to the veterinarian.

Medical Causes for Wheezing

Wheezing is not a healthy problem in and of itself. Wheezing is a symptom of an underlying condition that is causing your dog to have difficulty breathing. Wheezing can be caused by a variety of different things, including irritation or inflammation of the airways, infectious diseases, parasites, foreign bodies in the trachea or bronchi, allergic reactions, physical abnormalities in your pet, inhalation or ingestion of a toxic substance and quite a few noncontagious medical aliments.

Veterinary Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will perform a number of tests to figure out why your dog is wheezing. He will listen to your dog's lungs and heart with his stethoscope. He also will draw blood and perform tests to figure out if your dog has heartworms or any other conditions that will show up in the blood. Once your veterinarian has confirmed a diagnosis for the cause of your dog's wheezing, he can begin treating the underlying condition that is responsible for your pet's breathing problems.

Emergency Situations

Wheezing is not normally a sign of an emergency condition, but it can be if it is directly following a situation that may have caused a severe allergic reaction. Wheezing can occur immediately after an insect bite, insect sting or a bite from a poisonous reptile such as a snake. Your dog may begin wheezing after the consumption of something poisonous. Poisons can cause your dog's airways to close. You should rush your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible when wheezing develops suddenly during a situation that is out of the ordinary for your pet.