6 Causes of Dog Wheezing

Has your dog been wheezing? Are you worried about why? Dog wheezing is not a normal behavior, and your dog may be sick if she is wheezing badly. There are other potential cases of this symptom too, however, and it’s important to try to figure out what’s going on with your pet.

Dog wheezing

What are the Common Causes of Dog Wheezing?

In the article below, you’ll find a list of six potential causes of wheezing in dogs. Use this information to help you figure out what’s causing your dog to wheeze, and help you choose when it’s time to go to the vet, too.

Remember, wheezing is not a common behavior for dogs and should not be taken lightly. If you notice your dog is wheezing, take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Below are 6 of the most common causes of dog wheezing:

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a very common illness among dogs. It most commonly occurs in dogs who are kept in boarding facilities or have been adopted from shelters, but it can affect any unvaccinated dog who is exposed to other dogs in a public location.

Kennel cough mostly causes coughing, hence its common name. However, it may also cause other respiratory symptoms such as wheezing. If the wheezing your dog is experiencing is accompanied by other symptoms, there’s a chance kennel cough could be the underlying cause.


If your dog suffers from allergies, she may wheeze as a result of allergy flare-ups. Dogs who have seasonal or pollen allergies are more likely to wheeze than those who have other types of allergies, but any allergy can potentially cause wheezing in your pet.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from allergies, take her to the vet to be checked out. The vet will need to perform some tests and rule out other conditions to determine whether or not allergies are the cause of your dog’s wheezing and other symptoms. The vet can also help you choose the right treatment plan for your dog to help manage her allergies moving forward.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease may cause dog wheezing, although wheezing is not usually the first symptom dog owners notice when it comes to heartworm disease. Dogs who are sick with heartworm disease will usually first start coughing before any other symptoms become apparent.

The longer heartworm disease progresses, the more respiratory symptoms your dog will begin to show. If your dog has heartworms, she will become lethargic and lose energy, and she will eventually lose her appetite as well. She will start coughing and wheezing with any minimal activity and sometimes from eating.

Inhaled Object

One of the most concerning potential causes of wheezing in dogs is an inhaled foreign object. If your dog inhales any item, including food or pieces of toys, that item could get stuck in your dog’s airways. The item might become trapped in your dog’s trachea or in her nasal passages depending on how she inhaled it.

If this happens, your dog’s wheezing will come on suddenly and will likely sound as though she is in a lot of distress. She may look like she’s having trouble breathing, and she may be very anxious or upset. Take her to the emergency vet right away if this occurs.

Collapsing Trachea

Collapsing trachea is a condition in certain dogs that causes the windpipe to fold up against itself now and then. This can cause sudden severe coughing fits as well as wheezing and difficulty breathing. The condition is more common in certain breeds than in others, but any dog can potentially have this problem.

If your dog suffers from collapsing trachea, she may need to undergo a variety of treatments to help manage the condition. Your vet will work with you to figure out the best course of action to help your dog in the future.

Nasal Tumor

Finally, dogs may start wheezing if they develop nasal cancer or benign nasal tumors. This is not very common in dogs, but it can still occur. If your dog has a large tumor in or on her nose, you’ll likely be able to see it. If not, however, the tumor may be a small one.

If you catch a nasal tumor early enough, you should be able to work with your vet to either have it removed or treat it. However, the longer these tumors go without being treated, the less likely it will be for your dog to recover fully from nasal tumors.

Call an Emergency Vet Right Away for Severe Dog Wheezing

Most causes of wheezing in dogs will require some vet care or intervention. Some causes are more serious than others, but they all usually mean your dog needs some medical assistance. If you notice wheezing and it doesn’t clear up very quickly, then it’s time to take your dog to the vet.

Of course, if you think your dog’s issue is a serious one, don’t wait for your regular vet to be open. Go to the emergency vet instead. The emergency vet is the best choice if your dog has inhaled something that is blocking her airways.

Whether you think the cause of your dog’s wheezing is a serious one or not, don’t hesitate to call our team at The Village Vets at (404) 371-9774. Our emergency animal hospital is open 24 hours a day, every single day of the year so that your pet never has to wait to receive the immediate care they need. We’ll find the underlying cause of your dog’s wheezing and will help develop the best treatment option to get your pet back to feeling as good as new.

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