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Why is My Pet Wheezing?

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Wheezing in pets is a symptom that should never be overlooked. It can serve as an early warning sign of serious respiratory distress or other health issues. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we believe in the power of preventative medicine and the importance of recognizing and addressing such symptoms promptly. Our veterinarians provide insight into the potential causes of wheezing in pets and provide actionable advice for pet owners. If you notice your pet having breathing difficulties, call our office right away.

Understanding the Causes of Wheezing

Environmental Factors

Sometimes, the environment around your pet can trigger wheezing. Poor air quality caused by wildfires, dust, or pollens can cause the bronchial passages to inflame, leading to wheezing. Even changes in weather conditions can trigger respiratory distress in some pets.


Viral or bacterial infections such as kennel cough or pneumonia can cause wheezing in pets. These infections often result in inflammation of the airways, which can lead to the production of excess mucus and a characteristic whistling sound in the lungs.


Allergies are another common cause of wheezing. Household cleaning products, perfumes, flea control products, insect bites or stings, and even certain foods can trigger allergic reactions that lead to wheezing.

Respiratory Problems

Respiratory conditions like heartworm, tumors, collapsing trachea, and canine asthma can also lead to wheezing. These conditions often cause the airways to constrict, making it difficult for your pet to breathe normally.

Other Physical Issues

Physical issues like obesity can put extra pressure on your pet’s airways, leading to wheezing. If you notice your pet struggling to breathe after physical activity, it might be a sign that they need to shed a few pounds.

What to Do When Your Pet is Wheezing

If you observe your pet wheezing, it’s crucial to monitor the symptoms closely. Look out for other signs of distress, such as coughing, panting, gagging, a pale or bluish tinge to the tongue and gums, appetite loss, and lethargy. If these symptoms are present, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet.

At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we use detailed history, physical exams, and X-rays to determine the cause of your pet’s wheezing. Once diagnosed, we can provide appropriate treatment, which often starts with antihistamines and can progress to bronchodilators and steroids, depending on the severity of the condition.

One of the most effective ways to manage wheezing is to identify and remove potential allergens. This requires diligence from pet owners. Keeping a diary of each asthma attack, noting severity, length, behavior, and possible exposure, can help narrow down potential triggers.

In cases where asthma attacks continue to occur regularly, we prescribe a metered dose inhaler designed to fit a pet’s muzzle. This ensures that the medication is inhaled directly, treating the inflamed bronchial passages effectively.

Call Our Veterinarians For Assistance

Recognizing and addressing wheezing in pets is essential for their health and overall well-being. While wheezing can indicate serious health issues, early detection and treatment can prevent permanent damage to the airways and ensure a normal lifespan with good quality of life.

At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we’re committed to helping pets live healthier lives. If you notice your furry friend wheezing, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. Let’s work together to ensure your pet enjoys a long, happy, and healthy life.

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Visit Our Online Pharmacy

Managing your pet’s medical needs is easy when you use our online pharmacy. Renew your pet’s prescription and purchase FDA-approved medication right from the comfort of your home. If you have any questions, contact us to speak with a trusted veterinarian.