Why does it sound like my dog is struggling to breathe? Here’s the Answer

What is Gasping for Air/Reverse Sneezing?

There are a few causes for seeing your dog gasping for air or honking , one of these is commonly known as a reverse sneeze. The occasional gasp for air can be caused by an irritation of the soft palate and throat and is a spasm that will likely quickly pass. However, if you notice your dog gasping for air often or severely, or it becomes a chronic occurrence, you may have cause for some concern. Chronic reverse sneezing and gasping for air may indicate one of the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Rhinitis and sinusitis due to viral infections
  • Nasal mites
  • The severity of a reverse sneeze is typically mild, but if your dog’s signs become chronic, you should seek medical assistance to determine the cause. If your dog is gasping for air and cannot catch their breath, that requires emergency treatment.

    Causes of Noisy Breathing in Dogs

    The causes of stertor and stridor in dogs are many. Some are congenital (present at birth), while others may be acquired due to illness or trauma. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice that your canine family member is having a breathing issue. A few of the causes you may want to have your veterinary care team investigate are listed below.

    Nares and nasal cavity

  • Neoplasia (new, uncontrolled tissue growth)
  • Foreign body
  • Collapsed nostrils (stenotic nares)
  • Chronic nasal disease like rhinitis
  • Nasopharynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Foreign body
  • Nasopharyngeal stenosis (results in poor airflow when the mouth is closed)
  • Polyps
  • Pharynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Abscess
  • Tonsillar prolapse
  • Retropharyngeal lymphadenopathy (enlargement at the back of the throat)
  • Soft palate elongation
  • Larynx

  • Neoplasia
  • Laryngeal paralysis (breeds congenitally prone are Bouvier des Flandres, Dalmatian, Siberian Husky, Bulldog and Bull Terrier, while breeds prone to acquire the paralysis are Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Labrador Retriever, Irish Setter and Great Dane)
  • Laryngeal collapse
  • Everted laryngeal saccules (masses between the vocal folds)
  • Trachea

  • Tracheal stenosis (windpipe becomes narrow or constricted)
  • Tracheal collapse (tracheal loss of rigidity and prevention of airflow to the lungs, often seen in Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, and Pomeranians)
  • Foreign object
  • Brachycephalic syndrome is common to breeds with short noses; the complications are a combination of elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules. Breeds predisposed are the Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Chow Chow, Pug, Lhasa Apso, Boxer, Shar Pei, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldog, and Boston Terrier.

    Fast Breathing

    Fast breathing in dogs, also called tachypnea, is a rapid breath unlike panting. Its the second most common dog breathing problems. Fast breathing could be the result of dyspnea (labored breathing) mentioned above, low red blood cells, low blood oxygen levels, or blood clots.

    You will be able to tell the difference from panting because your poochs mouth may be opened less than when they pant normally, or their mouth could be closed. Other symptoms you may notice are when each breath tends to be shallow rather than deep, and the rate of breathing is faster than usual.

    3 Types of Dog Breathing Problems and What to Do

    Loud or unusual sounding breathing coming from your pooch is definitely a reason do cause concern. As a pet parent, though, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s normal and what needs to be brought to Fido’s attention. In this article, we’re going to breakdown what’s most likely causing your canine to breathe so loudly and what you can do about it.