Do Dogs Get Pneumonia?

As a dog owner, it’s important to learn everything you can about illnesses that may affect your pet. One of the potential diseases you need to know about is dog pneumonia.

Dog pneumonia

You may be surprised to learn that dogs can get pneumonia, and that it’s not really uncommon for dogs to suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. There are some risk factors that make certain dogs more likely to have pneumonia than others, however.

Read through the article below to learn more about this condition and what factors may potentially cause it, too.

What is Pneumonia in Dogs?

Pneumonia in dogs is the same condition as pneumonia in humans. This term refers to either an inflammation of both of the lungs, an inflammation of one lung, or an inflammation of the bronchi as well as the lungs.

If any part of the lower respiratory tract is inflamed, then the condition can be referred to as pneumonia, and is considered quite serious.

What are the Risk Factors for Pneumonia in Dogs?

Now that we know that it is possible for dogs to contract pneumonia, it’s important to learn about the risk factors, or causes, of this condition. By understanding what can lead to your pet developing this illness, you can work with your veterinarian on the best ways to help prevent your pet from getting it.

Below are 5 common risk factors, or causes, of dog pneumonia:

Bacterial Infection

Most dogs who contract pneumonia have bacterial pneumonia. There are many types of bacteria that can lead to a bacterial pneumonia infection in a dog, and some are more common than others.

The bacterium that causes kennel cough, Bordetella, can sometimes worsen into a case of bacterial pneumonia for example, especially in older dogs and young puppies.

Viral Infection

Canine influenza or parainfluenza can also quickly lead to a secondary bacterial infection of pneumonia. This does not mean that a virus caused the pneumonia, but rather that the virus weakened the dog’s body enough to contract the pneumonia bacteria as well.

Environmental Contaminants

Some dogs who live in smoking households or who are exposed to smoke or smog from other sources frequently are more prone to developing pneumonia than others. Environmental contaminants may be a risk factor for dogs who have asthma or allergies.

Underlying Health Conditions

Any dog with a severe underlying health condition such as organ failure, diabetes, collapsing trachea, and other similar problems may be at a greater risk of developing dog pneumonia at any time. Talk to your vet about managing your dog’s chronic health condition while reducing the risk of pneumonia at the same time.


A dog’s age plays a major role in whether or not she may develop pneumonia. Although any dog can potentially suffer from bacterial pneumonia, older dogs who are 7 years of age or more usually have a greater risk.

Additionally, very young puppies who are not yet old enough to have all their shots may be at a higher risk of pneumonia as well.

What are the Signs of Dog Pneumonia?

Due to how serious dog pneumonia can be, it’s important for you to know the signs that your pet may be suffering from this illness. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below, you should take your dog to the veterinarian or emergency vet as soon as possible so she can get the care she needs to recover.

Some common signs of pneumonia in dogs include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:

Trouble Breathing

Dogs who have pneumonia will likely have difficulty breathing. They may wheeze when breathing, or you may notice the dog’s sides moving in and out more visibly when she tries to breathe, even at rest.

Lethargy and Exhaustion

With the added exertion of trying to breathe, dogs may become weakened quickly from pneumonia. The condition leads to lethargy and exhaustion in a short amount of time, although these symptoms can be associated with a wide range of other canine conditions and not just pneumonia.


Dogs who have pneumonia will usually run a high fever with it. If you suspect your dog may have a fever, you can check it at home to find out for sure.

You should take your dog to the emergency vet if you confirm she has a dangerously high fever or if you are unable to check her fever yourself at home.


The longer your dog’s condition persists, the worse her cough may become. Dogs with pneumonia are likely to develop an intense cough that lingers. The cough may be painful, especially in dogs with worsening inflammation of the lungs.

How is Pneumonia in Dogs Treated?

The good news is that bacterial dog pneumonia can sometimes be treated with antibiotics.

However, it is a difficult battle for a dog to recover from pneumonia, so it’s important to follow your vet’s guidance every step of the way. Your dog may be given medication as well as a light exercise plan to help her recover more quickly.

Come to the Village Vets for Dog Pneumonia

Many dogs will go their whole lives without ever suffering from pneumonia. However, there is always a risk that your dog could contract this disease if she experiences some of the risk factors associated with it. Therefore, it is important to work with a trusted vet if your dog gets sick with a respiratory infection, so she can reduce the risk of pneumonia as much as possible.

Your vet can give you plenty of information for your specific dog’s individual needs. By following your vet’s advice, you can help your dog recover from her infection without getting sicker, and you can help her get back to normal in no time.

If you notice that your pet is showing signs of dog pneumonia, or if you have any other concerns about her health, bring her to our team at The Village Vets right away. Our emergency vets are available 24/7 to provide your pet with the care and compassion she needs. Call our team today at (404) 371-9774 or bring your pet right in for any emergency situation.

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