Noticing that your dog is suddenly wheezing, sneezing, or has a strong cough can be alarming, especially if he has never demonstrated any previous signs of being unwell. Sometimes, dogs can have what sounds like an asthma attack and while it can be an indication of ill health, if your dog is young, agile and full of energy it could simply be an allergic reaction to something in the environment. It could be a problem with their dog food, kennel cough, a problem with their lungs, chronic bronchitis, an upper respiratory infection, difficulty breathing caused by a problem with the trachea, or other problem with your dog’s health and requires a trip to your veterinarian. However, it could be something simple. Allergies among dogs are far more common than you would think and even the most resilient of pups can be affected as the seasons change, resulting in wheezing, labored breath, and anxiety.
Regardless of a dog’s age, all breeds can develop allergies at some point during their lifetime that may cause wheezing and sneezing, but certain breeds like Pugs or Bulldogs seem to susceptible to both indoor and outdoor triggers that could cause a flare-up. If you suspect your pup has an allergy or even a cough that is affecting his breathing, then here is what you can do to make life easier for him.
Common Indoor Triggers
There are a huge variety of indoor triggers that can cause your dog to wheeze or other pet allergy that affects their lungs. These include:
If your dog has a sensitive airway, then he is going to be triggered by certain scents that will cause him to start wheezing. If you suspect that any of the above could be causing your dog to have an allergic reaction, then here is what you can do.
Go All Natural
White vinegar and baking soda have been used for centuries as a natural cleaning solution for pretty much everything you can think of. If your dog is wheezing and you are worried that the products you are using in your house are too toxic for your pup, then you can switch to this affordable natural solution instead.
Eliminate the Use of Scented Products
If you use strong perfume, or you like to freshen up your living room with a blast of air freshener, then this could be triggering your dog’s allergies. Dogs are incredibly sensitive to smell, so if you haven’t noticed any rashes on your dog’s skin as well as labored breathing, then start a process of elimination and cut out scented candles, incense, and air fresheners to see if your pup’s breathing improves.
No Smoking Around Your Dog
It is unlikely that you would smoke inside around a small child, so why do it with your dog? Secondhand smoke is not tolerated well by many dogs, so if you don’t want to quit, then make a decision to smoke outside away from your dog and see if it makes a difference to his wheezing.
How about Outdoor Allergens?
Outdoor allergens are equally prevalent as indoor ones, but the irritants primarily come from trees, grasses, and some flowers. Pollen is, in fact, one of the most common allergens that can affect a dog’s respiratory system. And while it wouldn’t be fair to stop your dog from going outside to exercise, there are certain steps you can take to minimize his exposure to irritants.
Keep Your Windows Closed
Outdoor allergens tend to occur depending on the climate and the time of year, so during the summer when pollen counts tend to be higher try to ensure that you keep your windows closed. If you suspect that dust could be triggering your dog’s allergies, then clean out your air ducts and vents regularly.
Bathe Your Pet Frequently
Many people will argue that dog’s coats should never be completely stripped of natural oils so they should be bathed only when really necessary. However, this isn’t an option if your dog is suffering from a skin allergy, as you will need to use a natural soothing shampoo to stop him from being itchy. Oatmeal shampoos can be incredibly soothing, especially if you add a drop of lavender essential oil.
If you aren’t keen on giving your dog a chemical anti-allergen like Benadryl, then there are several natural remedies that you can try. CBD oil can help boost your dog’s immune system and overall health, which could mean he will be more resilient to allergens. It is also great for calming any anxiety that your dog could experience as a result of feeling like he can’t breathe properly.
Check the Pollen Count
In extreme cases, it may be necessary for you to plan your outings with your dog depending on the pollen count outside. Dogs who are highly affected by pollen should also have their paws washed before entering the house, to make sure that the irritant stays outside and doesn’t get wiped on your dog’s bedding.
If you are concerned that your dog is suffering from allergies, then an elimination process is always going to be beneficial to figuring out what is triggering his wheezing. Start by changing one thing on the list above and see if it helps. If not, schedule a visit to the vets to have a blood sample taken and if your dog’s wheezing suddenly gets much worse, then seek emergency treatment immediately with your veterinarian.
Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She's pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she's a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.