Just like in people, breathing problems in dogs can be temporary and insignificant, not to mention going by themselves. In other situations, they can become life-threatening. The problem is dogs cannot tell you how they feel so that problems can escalate much quicker than in people.
If you notice your dog suffers from respiratory distress, you need to see a vet right away. There are also a few things that you can do to learn how to help a dog breathe better, but not before seeing the vet and discussing these options first.
Understanding What Normal Breathing Means
Before getting into smaller details, what does normal breathing mean? Even for experienced dog owners, it might seem difficult to determine issues. A healthy dog will take 20 to 23 breaths during a minute, yet it depends on many factors – how excited it is, whether it has just taken a walk, and so on.
Pay attention to the breathing and make sure it is not labored. If it feels like the dog struggles, you must see a vet immediately.
How can you tell if your dog has breathing problems then? Rapid breathing is not necessarily a sign of problems. Excitement can cause rapid breathing, as well as exercise. Panting, on the other hand, is a common sign. Dogs tend to pant when they feel stressed, unsafe, or even hot. This is their primary way to thermoregulate too.
Rapid breathing in hot weather could be a sign of a heat stroke too. Keep an eye on your furry friend or take it to a vet for treatment. While there are ways to look after it at home, a vet’s advice is more critical than some DIY ideas.
Signs of problems include breathing with the mouth drawn wide, making your dog look like it is grinning. You should also look at the nostrils and see if they move – if they do, there might be a problem. Other times, dogs lie down, stretch their necks, and keep their elbows apart. You can check to breathe by looking at their bellies. If their gums or tongues have an unusual color, get to a vet immediately.
How To Help A Dog Breathe Better
There are a few ideas to help your dog breathe better. It is essential to know that you must be aware of a dog’s condition, if any, as well as any other problems. You cannot just pretend to be a vet and do things out of nowhere. Most of these things should be discussed with the vet upfront.
- Steaming heat – it becomes an option if your dog has been diagnosed with a problem. According to Maddie’s Fund, it is a good idea if the dog suffers from hay fever, sinus related issues, asthma, or various allergies. The stream treatment involves taking your furry friend to the bathroom. Close the door behind you to ensure the dog is not going away. You do not have to put it in the tub. Turn the shower on and have the water as hot as possible. The steam will help loosen the dog’s airways. You must be with the dog at all times because excessive steam can cause fainting. Once the dog starts breathing better, get to a vet right away.
- Over the counter medication – never use such products before discussing their potential effects and side reactions with a vet if the vet prescribes them, fine. Otherwise, do not even think about it. Products rich in caffeine or alcohol can cause other problems. Saline drops for people can help. As for allergies or bee stings, diphenhydramine is the right choice. The human antihistamine can be found in more branded names. Again, discuss each option with the vet first.
There are a few other tips and tricks that you can consider should your dog ever face breathing problems.
- A mix of breathing difficulties and other symptoms can lead to more severe problems. If the dog also shakes or vomits, you need to go to a vet as quickly as possible. The same goes for diarrhea.
- Take a look at the tongue too. If it seems to turn slightly blue, stay away from most home remedies mentioned above. You will have to see a vet right away instead. All these symptoms could underline a heart-related problem or even poisoning.
- If a dog chokes, it will scrape one side of the mouth on the ground, but it will also act desperate. Open the mouth with bare hands and look for something that could be stuck in the throat. If you cannot see anything or you cannot remove it, head to a vet as soon as you can – no delays here.
- Should you ever need to perform artificial respiration, check the mouth and throat for random objects first? Blow through the dog’s nose – around 30 times a minute. Rush to a vet as soon as it starts breathing.
Causes Of Unusual Breathing In Dogs
According to Vets Now, apart from being excited or doing exercise, dogs can breathe unusually fast because of a disease – tachypnea. More issues can cause it – fluid in the lungs, bronchitis, heart affections, or even bloating. Sometimes, it is caused by stress, heat, or feat.
Other times, it can be natural. For instance, short snout dogs have issues in breathing, hence the snoring. Small problems can be overlooked through – a bit of extra weight, a short snout, and stress.
You should know your dog better than anyone, so you need to start worrying when you notice unusual changes in the breathing system.
The bottom line, learning how to help a dog breathe better depends on the situation. In most cases, it is only a matter of lifestyle choices – your buddy could be a bit overweight or hot during the summertime. Small issues are part of everyday life and can be ignored. A vet becomes mandatory when you observe changes, though.
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