Heavy breathing in older dogs and what to do about it

Heavy breathing in older dogs is a common problem and can lead to difficulty breathing, fatigue, and even death. There are a few things you can do to help prevent heavy breathing in your dog and keep them healthy, including keeping them active and aware of their breath, getting them an air purifier if they’re breathing heavily, and making sure they have regular check-ups to ensure their health is good.

Heavy breathing in older dogs Quick solutions

Heavy breathing in older dogs can be a serious problem. If it’s not fixed, it may lead to additional health problems and even death. Some things you can do to prevent heavy breathing in your dog include:

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  • Check their lungs regularly for signs of infection or disease. If they have any suspicious symptoms, take them to the veterinarian immediately.
  • Keep their airways clear by exercising them regularly and teaching them how to breathe properly.

What causes heavy breathing in older dogs?

Heavy breathing is a common problem in older dogs. It’s usually caused by something that the dog is doing that’s causing its airtight lungs to become irritated. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, and even difficulty breathing. If left untreated, heavy breathing can cause serious health problems for your dog.

  • Some common causes of heavy breathing in older dogs are allergies, pneumonia, and heart disease.
  • If your dog is having difficulty breathing, take him to the veterinarian for an evaluation.
  • There are a number of things you can do to help prevent or reduce the risk of heavy breathing in your dog.

Here are 9 possible causes of heavy breathing in older dogs

1. Allergies

Heavy breathing, rapid panting, coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and blue-tinted gums are common symptoms of asthma in dogs. If your dog suddenly develops the aforementioned symptoms, take him to the vet right away.

2. Nervousness

In addition to panting, anxious dogs may exhibit destructive behaviors, urinate or defecate indoors, and exhibit other signs of distress. While it’s upsetting to see your pet in such distress, anxiety isn’t a medical emergency; however, we still recommend that you contact your veterinarian.

3. Heart disease

Dogs become more susceptible to age-related diseases as they get older. Congestive heart failure is one of the most common. If your dog has a swollen belly, appears fatigued, loses appetite, is restless at night, or becomes exercise intolerant, he may be suffering from heart failure.

4. Medicine

Some medications used to treat medical conditions can cause rapid or heavy breathing. Prednisone, a steroid commonly prescribed to treat arthritis-related inflammation, is one of the worst offenders. Consult your veterinarian about any potential side effects that your dog may experience while on prescription medications.

5. Acidosis metabolic

Metabolic acidosis, caused by an excess of acidity in the bloodstream, can cause heart problems and mineral loss in your dog’s bones. Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If untreated, metabolic acidosis can be fatal, so take your dog to the vet right away if he exhibits these symptoms.

6. Obesity

Excess weight places undue stress on your dog’s heart and respiratory system. Feed him a nutrient-rich diet, make sure he gets plenty of exercises, and consult with your veterinarian if he is having difficulty losing weight.

7. Pain

Arthritis is common in older dogs, and the pain can make breathing difficult. If your dog already has arthritis, giving him a baby aspirin can help relieve his pain and calm his breathing.

8. Respiratory issues

Respiratory conditions range from the common cold to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD). After an hour or two, check your dog’s breathing; if he’s still breathing heavily, it’s time to take him to the vet.

9. Thyroid issues

Skin conditions, heavy breathing, weight gain, and excessive shedding are all symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition that is common in older dogs. Only a veterinarian can correctly diagnose your dog’s thyroid problem and prescribe the necessary medications to control it.

How to tell if your dog is breathing heavily

There are numerous ways to tell if your dog is breathing heavily, but some key signs include:

  • Dogs that are breathless often have an irregular breathing pattern which can be confused with a respiratory infection.
  • Dogs that are gasping for air may be having a difficult time getting enough oxygen into their bloodstream
  • Dogs that are panting or have uneven breath may be suffering from dehydration.


In conclusion, heavy breathing in older dogs is a common problem and can be treated with exercise, ventilation, and rest. Exercise can help to improve breathing because it increases the dog’s heart rate and makes him more active. Ventilation is important because it helps keep the body air-free and cool. Rest is important because it allows the dog to relax and heal.

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