Asthma Concerns and Your Dog
Author, Noelle Dunn for Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Just like humans, dogs can also have asthma. Asthma is simply a term that describes having difficulty with breathing and is medically referred to as dyspnea. It is usually caused by a reaction to an allergen in the environment which results in constriction and spasms of the airways and it presents as shortness of breath and wheezing. In dogs, this problem is usually called allergic bronchitis and it is usually acute, although long term allergic bronchitis can also result. The latter can cause progressive degradation of the respiratory tissues and results in permanent damage.
It is important to state that dog asthma is not a disease and it is not contagious or infectious. It is simply a response to inhaled allergens like pollutants and irritants, some of which are more common in winter.
Causes of Asthma in Dogs
Asthma in dogs happens more in dogs with compromised immune systems and older dogs than the young and healthy ones. Generally, dogs have asthma because of exposure to irritants and allergens in the air like dust, pollen, little seeds from plants, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, air fresheners, deodorizers, floor or carpet cleaners, cigarette smoke or smoke from incense. Therefore, these things should be avoided this winter to keep your dog safe.
In addition, some breeds of dogs are more prone to asthma than others because of the way their airways are formed; this applies to small dogs like malteses and pugs. Gender is not a predisposing factor.
Asthma may also be caused by more deep seated problems like viral or bacterial infections, cancers or even worms.
Precautions to Take This Winter
It is winter and the temperature drops to really low levels, which makes it more difficult to breathe even for humans. Therefore, ensure you always keep your dog warm so as to enable them breathe easily.
In addition, it is the holiday season, so you will need to pay closer attention to the kind of items you leave lying around in your home. If you usually use a strong smelling air freshener, you should consider using a milder one so as not to trigger your dog’s asthma. Also, cigar smoke and your dog should be kept far apart from each other. Your decorative plants should not have small pollens that can be inhaled by your dogs, thus precipitating an attack.
Overall, you should pay closer attention to your dog this winter.
Symptoms of Allergic Bronchitis
The major sign that shows a dog has allergic bronchitis is a persistent dry cough that can start without warning or slowly. You can tell if your dog is having an attack by watching out for the following symptoms:
- Respiratory difficulties such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing
- Bluish or pale gums
- Breathing through the mouth
- Avoiding exercises
- Weight loss
If your dog shows any of the listed signs and symptoms, you should take them to the veterinary clinic immediately. There are various treatments available to effectively manage the condition.
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