If your dog is wheezing for just a couple of seconds, probably it’s nothing to worry about. Wheezing may occur when your dog’s windpipe is obstructed by something. This can be swelling and inflammation of the airways, stranger objects stuck in the windpipe or other medical problems.

How to Identify If My Dog Is Wheezing?

Most of the visits to the vet because of wheezing are in fact reverse sneezing, or by its name, paroxysmal respiration. This occurs when the dog inhales air fast, commonly to remove any irritation agent allocated in the nose.

Reverse sneezing will sound like if the dog is snoring. That leads owners to think their dogs are struggling in breathing. But this doesn't implicate any medical risk for the dog.

Wheezing, on the other hand, produces a very high-pitched sound normally when the dog exhales. If your dog is in respiratory distress, he will search for a place to rest and try to breathe properly.

Common Causes of Wheezing


The allergenic agents of the air like pollen, dust, or mold, can irritate the nasal cavity or respiratory tract, causing swelling. This will derive from wheezing and allergies are the top cause for this affection.

Dogs with short or flat snouts are more susceptible to wheezing because of allergies and can be a common problem during allergies seasons.


The main symptom of canine chronic bronchitis is coughing. This affection causes lung inflammation, signifying shortness of breath, causing this way wheezing when the condition is severe.

Collapsed Trachea

A dog windpipe is composed of cartilage closed by a flexible membrane. When this cartilage is too weak, supportive rings that surround the trachea collapses. This can cause mild to severe respiratory obstruction.

This can be common in small breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Maltese, and short-nosed small breeds.

Foreign Body

Perhaps your dog eats too fast or inhales while he’s eating. This could cause a piece of food to get in the wrong place. When some foreign body gets lodged in your dog’s windpipe will cause the dog to start wheezing.

It could also be a piece of a chew toy that your dog tried to swallow. A common occurrence in puppies.

Whichever is the case, this needs medical attention and the dog won’t stop wheezing until the obstruction is removed.


When an infestation of heartworms goes unnoticed and unattended will likely conduce to having the worms traveling to others organs. Which includes the lungs, causing this way wheezing.

Sadly this will mean that the disease will be in an advanced stage, and while still treatable, your dog may never fully recover from this.

Heart Disease

Wheezing isn’t the main symptom of heart disease. Yet some like congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve disease could cause it. This is because of lethargy or exercises intolerance, derived from these diseases.

Respiratory Infections

Similar affections to flu or colds can cause irritation in the trachea or nasal passages. In spite of causing wheezing, this will mean that the dog may be in trouble.

Respiratory infections will manifest first coughing and sneezing.

Kennel Cough

In addition to being a very contagious respiratory disease, kennel cough could cause your dog to start wheezing if he exercises.

The most obvious symptom of kennel cough is a forceful, hacking cough. Which will often sound like your dog has something stuck in his throat.

Fortunately, there’s a vaccine to prevent this disease and if your dog hasn’t it, you may want to ask his veterinarian. It should be noted that the vaccine isn’t the cure, and treatment is necessary in order to heal.

Nasal Mites

Nasal mites are not a major problem for dogs. Very much like heartworms, they can travel to the lungs and cause discomfort which will lead to wheezing.

Complexing things, mites can be transmitted between dogs easily, meaning that if you have more than one dog, your other pups will have nasal mites too.

Despite not being of high risk, this needs to be treated by a vet in order to heal properly and avoid sequels.

Please note that nasal mites can also cause reverse sneezing. And as we said before, this isn't wheezing and isn't dangerous to the dog.

How Can I Help a Wheezing Dog

If you ever see a dog wheezing, you may be feared by its sounds, it seems like the dog isn't able to breathe. But in order to help him, keep calm and do the following:

  • Get the dog in an area with a good flow of air, open windows, or take him outside if necessary.
  • If he is outside, try getting him in, since it can be some environmental agent. If this happens indoors, try to take away all possible allergy-causing products.
  • In some way record or film your dog’s symptoms, this will help later at the vet.

Help Your Dog Stay Healthy

Some of the wheezing triggers are chronic. This will mean your dog may have some respiratory crisis during his life. If you know what causes your dog to start wheezing, reduce the exposure to these triggers.

Keeping the correct treatment of the specific case will also help reduce this problem. Following these indications, your dog will surely have a comfortable life.

Finally, remember to make periodic visits to the vet to monitor your dog’s health status. This is key for your dog to have a long-lasting life!