Dog gasping for air even on short walks

April 13, 2012

Dogs are very energetic animals. Dogs would not walk if they can run. Dog owners aware of the pet’s high exercise requirements would make sure that running, walking and romping activities are provided. Dogs that are not given opportunities to let off steam have the tendency to develop unwanted habits. Dogs make wonderful walking and jogging companions. Always eager for the master’s company, the dog would not complain about the master’s goal of running several miles a day. Dogs can outrun and out walk their human friend anytime. However, there are conditions that prevent the dogs from doing these strenuous activities. The owner would be surprised if the once energetic dog would be gasping for breath after a short walk. Something must be wrong with the pet. Similar to humans, breathing difficulties can happen to canines too and the owner has to pay attention because the condition can have serious consequences to the health of the pet.

There are a whole range of reasons why a dog would gasp for air. Some of the reasons would need immediate medical attention to save the life of the pet. Shortness of breath can be an indication of parasite infestation, a respiratory problem or an easy to resolve obesity concern of the pet. Dog owners would know how dogs pant thus a pet that is gasping for air would easily be noticed.

Heartworm infestation is one of the causes for a dog’s shortness of breath. This parasite infestation is a major health concern as left untreated; this can result to the death of the pet. Exposure to heartworms will start with a bite of microfilaria-carrying mosquito. Once these “baby heartworms” are injected into a dog, they will find their way into the lungs and to the right chamber of the dog’s heart. A handful of heartworms will cause the heart to increase in size. As the valve cannot be closed, the blood will flow backwards creating pressure and fluid buildup in the abdomen. The dog will gasp for breath even with the least exertion. Shortness of breath is a symptom of heart and lung diseases. Chronic bronchitis and asthma would make a dog gasp for air even with mild exertion. Inflammation of the bronchi will hinder the easy passage of air from the trachea into the lungs of the dog. Fluid buildup in the chest attributed to a lung disease will prevent the lungs from expanding the way they should do so that the pet would take shallow breaths.

Another reason why a dog would catch its breath is an obstruction in the windpipe. We know how inquisitive dogs are. Anything that they find interesting will be investigated by the mouth. It is not uncommon for dogs to have foreign objects in their throat and on their stomach. A small ball that was lodged in the windpipe will block the normal flow of air so that shortness of breath will be noticed in the pet.

Dogs are hardy animals. Dog owners though must realize that the pet gets old too. The dog owner may not realize that the pet is already a senior citizen. A 12 year old dog is equivalent to a 70 year old human. This means that the pet will no longer be active as it was once. The strength of the dog will wane as well. As the age advances, the body gets older too. The heart may no longer be pumping blood the way it used to and the lungs are less efficient I the performance of its functions. Even climbing stairs would be difficult for the pet more so of it is obese. Dogs advanced in age have the tendency to be obese due to less inclination for activities. These reasons would make a dog gasp for air.

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