Top 6 Causes of Dog Wheezing


Dogs may be prone to sneezing for a variety of benign reasons, but if you notice your dog wheezing, the underlying cause may be something more serious. A wheezing dog should never be ignored, and if you observe this symptom in your dog, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Causes of dog wheezing

Potential Reasons Why Your Dog is Wheezing

In the meantime, however, you may find yourself wondering what could be causing your dog to wheeze. In this article, we’ll explain some of the most common causes of this condition so you can better know what to expect when you get to the vet.

Six common causes of dog wheezing are:


If your dog has seasonal allergies, he may start wheezing when allergens become more common outdoors. He may also wheeze if he comes into contact with plants or other contaminants that aggravate this condition. In most cases, this is fairly normal, but your vet can give you more information.

If your dog begins wheezing after being bitten, stung, or coming into contact with an allergen and he seems to be having difficulty breathing, this could be a sign of anaphylaxis. You should take him to the emergency vet if you think this could be what’s going on.

Heart Disease

If you have an older dog who has started wheezing and coughing more frequently than usual, this could be an indicator that he has heart disease such as congestive heart failure. As this condition worsens, dogs develop fluid in their lungs which causes an increase in both wheezing and coughing. You may notice your dog coughing up fluid in some cases as well.

Congestive heart failure does not have a cure, but it can be managed with medication and the right treatment. Your vet will give you more information about the right course of action for your dog.

Collapsed Trachea

Some dogs, especially smaller breeds with short noses, may be prone to developing a collapsed trachea later in life. This occurs when the dog’s trachea collapses against itself due to a weakening of the cartilage in the trachea. This condition can be managed with medication and proper treatment with the help of your vet.

If your dog has a known collapsed trachea, you may notice him wheezing when he’s been excited or more active than usual. He may also snore more often in his sleep with this condition. Work with your vet to ensure your dog remains as healthy as possible despite this problem.


Bronchitis can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, including many of the diseases dogs can be vaccinated for. However, bronchitis can sometimes also occur on its own and may be linked to allergies in some dogs. If your dog suffers from bronchitis, it could cause the airways to develop scarring, which can in turn cause more coughing and wheezing in your pet.

If your vet suspects bronchitis is the underlying cause of your dog’s wheezing, he will be given antibiotics and may be put on steroids or some other type of treatment to aggressively target the problem.

Foreign Object

If you believe your dog may have inhaled a foreign object, such as part of a toy he might have been chewing on, this is an emergency and requires the attention of an emergency vet right away.

When this happens, your dog’s airways may become fully or partially obstructed. If they are fully obstructed, he may struggle to breathe and may quickly lose consciousness. However, if they are partially obstructed, he may start wheezing heavily, may pace and be unable to relax even if he tries, and may become extremely afraid or anxious.


Many dog diseases and illnesses can cause wheezing. One of the most common of these is heartworm, which can eventually escape beyond the dog’s heart and start infecting his lungs as well. Kennel cough is another common cause of wheezing, especially in dogs who have recently been spending time around other dogs.

One of the best ways to prevent these issues in your dog is to have him vaccinated, keep up with his booster shots and and administer your dog’s preventatives as directed by your veterinarian.

See a Vet Right Away for Your Dog’s Wheezing

Now that you have this information, you can prepare yourself and your dog for your trip to the vet. Remember that the cause of your dog’s wheezing may be something as simple as allergies, but it could be something more severe. For this reason, you should have him seen by the vet as soon as possible.

If you think your dog may have inhaled a foreign object or may be suffering from anaphylaxis, don’t wait; go to the emergency vet if your regular vet is unavailable. These are severe crisis situations that require immediate attention.

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