Dog Asthma Symptoms, Treatment, and Natural Home Remedies

dog coughing - common dog asthma symptom

Can a dog have asthma? What are the symptoms and treatment for dog asthma? Is asthma in dogs contagious? What treatment options and home remedies works best in alleviating the symptoms and making your pooch more comfortable? Here is all that and more.

Can Dogs Have Asthma?

You have probably noticed that your dog is having difficulty breathing as well as making strange noises while breathing and wondered, “Can dogs have asthma?” Well, like human beings, dogs and other pets e.g. cats can develop asthma attacks. It is nevertheless a rare condition for dogs and unlike the belief among some pet owners, asthma in dogs is not contagious.

Small dog breeds and older dogs are more prone to canine asthma and so are dogs with compromised immune systems.

When canine asthma (otherwise known as allergic bronchitis) occurs, the bronchi (the airways leading to the lungs) become filled with mucus as a result of an inflammatory response to an environmental irritant. Severe and/or long-running dog asthma can lead to permanent damage in the airways, and cause chronic bronchitis.

Environmental triggers for dog asthma range from smoke to cold air, dust, mold spores, air pollution, washing detergents and other household chemicals, aerosol sprays, pesticides, pollen, and cat dander. Yes, a dog can be allergic to cats. Preservatives, artificial colors, and certain foods could also cause dog asthma attacks.

Dog asthma is often confused with a condition called reverse sneezing. According to Mercola.com, reverse sneezing is characterized by a “sudden, starting sound” that lasts anything between a few seconds and a few minutes.

Reverse sneezing is usually the result of the throat and soft palate spasms often triggered by irritants as well as other factors such as excitement, tight collars, drastic fluctuations in temperatures, and exercise intolerance among others.

During a stint of reverse sneezing, a dog stands with the elbows – the front leg joint area – spread out for extra stability, with the eyes bulged out and the head stretched out or moved backward.

Dog Asthma Symptoms

So how do you know if your dog has asthma? Well, dog asthma symptoms only occur during an attack and your dogs will be free of them most of the times. Your dog may show one or more of the following symptoms during an asthma attack:

  • Coughing: coughing is the primary symptom of asthma in dogs.
  • Wheezing: A wheezing sound is also a rather common symptom of canine asthma.
  • Sneezing
  • Shortness of breath: During a dog asthma attack, your pooch may also appear to struggle with “catching his breath” and breathe through the mouth.
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Blue gums: In more severe cases, your pooch’s gum may turn blue. This is usually indicative of oxygen deprivation which may culminate in brain damage or even death if not addressed fast. Seek emergency care for your pooch if this happens.
  • Tiredness

These common dog asthma symptoms should not be ignored. It is advisable to take your dog to a vet the soonest you can for proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Your vet will also determine if asthma attack secondary to another problem. Diagnosis often involves chest X-rays, blood tests, etc.

Dog Asthma Treatment

Dog asthma treatment entails getting rid of environmental irritants and pollutants coupled with one or more medications and other treatment options to relieve the symptoms. Several home remedies are also available to make the dog comfortable. Below is a general guideline on how to treat asthma in dogs:

Take Charge on Potential Irritant

The first step in controlling dog asthma is to get rid of any predisposing factor in and around your home. This will help reduce the risk of asthma attacks.

Your first starting point is airborne irritants such as cigarette smoke, household cleaners and sprays e.g. air fresheners, pesticides etc. Remove any of these products and see if they are responsible for the allergic reactions in your dog.

Baking soda placed in shallow bowls in strategically hidden areas of the house can be used in the place of air fresheners. For pesticides for example, boric acid is a great alternative; just make sure that you keep it away from pooch’s reach.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are the first line of treatment for dog asthma. Antihistamines blocks and reduce the effectiveness of histamines – a chemical that plays a huge role in triggering of allergic response responsible for inflammation in the airways – which in turn help to open the air passages.

By reducing your dog’s sensitivity to common allergens, antihistamines also helps in drying up the excess mucus in the bronchi.

Antihistamine medications for dogs are widely available over the counter under brands such as Clemastine, Cyproheptadine, and Diphenhydramine HCL.

Bronchodilators

spacer for dog asthma treatmentAs the name suggests, bronchodilators such as Albuterol (Salbutamol) offer relief for asthma in dogs by opening up the inflamed airways (bronchi). This, in turn, reduces resistance to air flow, making it easier for the affected dog to breathe.

A small face mask fitted with a small tube called spacer is commonly used to deliver bronchodilators and other medications administered by inhalation. This is usually fitted over your dog’s face (on the mouth and nose) as a mask. A spacer is like an inhaler for dog asthma. The medication is squeezed in via the spacer.

Oral Theophylline may also be prescribed for your dog. Dogs being treated with this medication should be given lots of clean drinking water.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs are another commonly used treatment option for asthma in dogs. These range from Methylprednisolone which is sold under brand names such as under brand names such as Medrol, Hybrisil etc. to Temaril-P.

As you probably guessed, these anti-inflammatory drugs help dog asthma by reducing the swelling in bronchi (airways).

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are often used as dog asthma attack relief medicine in cases where your vet deems that the allergy is secondary to a respiratory infection.

Epinephrine Injections

Epinephrine injections are usually required for control of severe asthma attacks. This helps to reduce the inflammation in the air passages. Your vet might give you epinephrine to take home for emergency cases if he/she deems it necessary.

Dog Asthma Home Remedies

The following home remedies and tips will also suffice in preventing and managing asthma attacks in dogs and help you to lead a normal life:

Run a Humidifier

By adding moisture to the air around your house, a humidifier helps to loosen and reduce the amount of mucus in your dog’s airways. A cold-moist humidifier is especially recommended. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils also help to aid in easy breathing for your furry friend.

Manage Your Dog’s Weight

Asthma can cause your dog to lose weight and exercise can trigger asthma attacks but on the other hand, weight gain could have played a role in asthma development by hampering your dog’s respiratory function. PetMDs.com thus suggests helping dogs with asthma to lose weight as a way to reverse and control mild cases.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy is also among the most effective natural remedies for dog asthma attacks. This involves the use of a small oxygen cylinder to administer oxygen to a dog in emergency cases. If your dog has a case of chronic bronchitis due to long-running asthma, having one of these cylinders at home could prove very beneficial.

PetAlive AmazaPet Natural and Homeopathic Remedy for Dog Asthma

When it comes to natural remedies for asthma in dogs, any immune boosting remedy is greatly recommended. PetAlive AmazaPet is perhaps the most highly acclaimed herbal and homeopathic natural asthma treatment.

This natural treatment tablets are formulated with various proven natural healing ingredients including Inula helenium, Althea officinalis, Mag. Phos. (D6), Arsen alb., Phosphorus, and Kali. mur.  Among others.

PetAlive AmazaPet is available in pet stores and online on sites such as amazon.

More Tips and Home Remedies for Canine Asthma Alleviation

  1. Do away with carpets and cloth curtains.
  2. Keep dogs in their own bed, recommends petmeds.com.
  3. Vacuuming your house frequently is also recommended to remove dust, cat dander, and other possible culprits.
  4. Bathe your dog frequently.
  5. Use dust-free cat litter such as World’s Best Cat Litter which is 100% natural to keep the air around your house fresh yet dust-free and your asthmatic pooch will thank you.

References

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