Can Dogs Have Asthma? Signs & Symptoms You Should Recognize

Can dogs have asthma? The short answer is yes — albeit very rare. It’s usually a condition that is expected to occur in humans. It can, however, occur in animals, including dogs. 

Fortunately, asthma is rarely fatal in dogs and can be successfully treated. Having said that, it’s critical to rule out other possible causes of symptoms that suggest your dog has asthma. 

Asthma is most commonly associated with an illness that causes severe shortness of breath. It can, however, cause a variety of symptoms, which we will discuss in this article. 

Once you’ve determined that asthma is the cause of your dog’s symptoms, your vet can put together a comprehensive plan for you to follow to ensure your dog lives a happy, long life. 

Let’s get started and learn more about asthma in dogs and the symptoms that are most commonly associated with asthma.


Can Dogs Have Asthma? – 5 Signs & Symptoms of Asthma in Dogs 

1: Gum Discoloration

When oxygen is inhaled, it rapidly binds to red blood cells and rushes throughout the body to deliver oxygen to every cell. 

Asthma makes this process particularly challenging since it results in less oxygen than the body is used to due to airway inflammation, among other things. 

As a result, there will be fewer red blood cells circulating throughout the body with oxygen, including the gums, resulting in a bluish or pale color. 

If this is the case, it’s important to take your dog to a vet as soon as possible, as this can be caused by something serious, even if it’s not asthma, such as a heart condition

2: Lack of Appetite

Asthma can create symptoms comparable to anemia in dogs due to a lack of oxygen. A loss of appetite is one of these symptoms. 

When the body receives less oxygen than usual, it begins to slow down its metabolism, causing dogs to be less hungry than usual. 

If your dog refuses to eat even his favorite foods, such as treats, this is most likely due to asthma, assuming your dog has already been diagnosed. 

A lack of appetite can lead your dog to get weary, exacerbating his asthma symptoms. Making sure your dog has a healthy diet is even more crucial if it has asthma. 

3: Shortness of Breath

Asthma causes the airways to become irritated, which can lead to shortness of breath. 

Shortness of breath, on the other hand, might be caused by an excess of fluid in the airways.

Since breathlessness can be especially irritating to dogs that have asthma, medicine can help counteract this and is usually effective on its own. 

If your dog is experiencing severe shortness of breath, you must take him to the vet so that he can restore his oxygen levels to a safe level.

4: Fatigue

Muscles cannot perform properly when the body does not receive adequate oxygen. 

Furthermore, because the brain requires oxygen, fatigue might result if it is not getting enough of it. 

All of this is caused by a variety of factors, including irritated airways and fluid buildup, to mention a few. Fortunately, fatigue usually decreases quickly after asthma treatment. 

If your dog can walk around without feeling out of breath, encourage him to do so daily, as sitting stationary all of the time may aggravate his asthma.

5: Mouth Breathing

You’ve probably noticed that when dogs are at rest, they breathe through their nose, and when they’re playing or running, they breathe through their mouth. 

This mouth breathing, however, might start even when your dog is at rest. 

This is because your dog can inhale more air through his mouth than through his nose, allowing him to obtain more oxygen per inhale. 

If your dog wakes up in the middle of the night panting even though it’s chilly indoors, this could be another clue that he has asthma.

Key Points To Remember: 

  1. Some of these symptoms can be from other illnesses such as heart disease, blood conditions, organ failure, and other life-threatening diseases.
  1. If your vet signs off on exercise, ask him about an exercise plan. Exercise is a good way to prevent becoming deconditioned with asthma if you don’t overdo it. 
  1. Log when your dog is experiencing symptoms of asthma. This includes when he eats, uses the potty, goes for a walk, or plays with his toys.
  1. Smoking near your dog may make his symptoms worse. Smoke of any kind can make asthma life-threatening, so avoid having your dog near smoke at all costs. 
  1. Do not wait it out until your dog feels better because he won’t. Asthma is usually a lifelong illness that requires long-term treatment, so consult your vet as soon as possible. 


Asthma is never nice to deal with, and it can be considerably worse in dogs that have asthma because they don’t understand what’s going on. 

Fortunately, treatment has developed over time, making this illness somewhat manageable. 

With good lifestyle arrangements, medication, and happy owners, dogs nearly always live a long and happy life, retaining their ability to engage in their favorite games. 

If your dog is having a breathing problem, contact an emergency veterinarian, who is usually available 24 hours a day. 

If it isn’t an emergency, go to the vet so your pooch can get back to living happily ever after.

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.