A Guide to Recognizing Labored Breathing in Dogs

When our beloved dogs start showing signs of labored breathing, it can be a worrying sign for any pet owner. This blog is here to help you understand what labored breathing in dogs looks like, why it happens, and when it’s time to seek out your vet. At Birch Lake Animal Hospital in White Bear Lake, MN, we’re committed to keeping your best friend healthy and happy. If you notice any of the symptoms we’re about to discuss, or if you have concerns about your dog’s health, please give us a call at (651) 426-2246 to make an appointment or get more information.

dog with labored breathing

What Exactly Is Labored Breathing?

Labored breathing in dogs, also known as dyspnea, refers to difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. This condition can range from mild to severe, and dog owners need to notice the signs early. A dog with labored breathing might breathe more heavily or loudly than normal, seem to struggle to take in air or show signs of discomfort while breathing.

Signs of Labored Breathing in Dogs

Spotting the signs of labored breathing early can make a big difference in your dog’s health. Look for rapid breathing, flaring nostrils, an extended neck, or a blue tint to the gums. Dogs may also show less obvious signs like fatigue, unwillingness to move, or even loss of appetite. These symptoms can indicate that your dog is not getting enough oxygen, which is a signal that something more serious might be going on.

Common Causes of Labored Breathing

Many things can cause labored breathing in dogs, including heart disease, lung problems, or even allergic reactions. Sometimes, it’s something temporary and not too serious, like overexertion on a hot day. Other times, it could be a sign of a more serious condition that needs immediate attention from your vet. Understanding the cause is crucial to treating the condition effectively.

How We Can Help

At Birch Lake Animal Hospital, our team has the knowledge and equipment needed to diagnose and treat labored breathing (and many other health conditions) in dogs. We’ll start with a thorough examination to understand the cause of your dog’s symptoms. From there, we might recommend diagnostic tests like X-rays or blood work to get a better picture of what’s happening inside. Our goal is to identify the cause of your dog’s labored breathing and create a tailored treatment plan to get them back to feeling their best.

Prevention and Care at Home

While you can’t prevent every cause of labored breathing in dogs, there are some things you can do to help keep your dog healthy. Ensuring your dog gets regular exercise, maintains a healthy weight, and avoids exposure to smoke or other harmful chemicals can all help. However, it’s important to understand that even with the best preventive care, some conditions can still occur. That’s why being vigilant and responsive to any signs of distress in your dog is so important. 

Call Us Today

If you’re worried about labored breathing in your dog or have any questions about their health, please call Birch Lake Animal Hospital in White Bear Lake, MN, at (651) 426-2246. Our team is here to provide the care and support your dog needs to breathe easier and live a happy, healthy life. Don’t wait if you’re concerned—getting help early is key to the best possible outcome for your pet.