Breathing problems in puppies are quite common, though they occur for many different reasons. While some breathing problems are passing or due to the breed of the dog, some problems are more serious and need immediate treatment. Knowing what to look for can help pet owners identify breathing problems early on so treatment can be sought if necessary.
Breathing problems in puppies are not always serious, but they do need to be identified. Breathing problems can generally be identified by a dog taking more then 60 breaths per minute, panting that does not seem to align with activity level, or labored breathing. These could all be signs that your puppy has a breathing problem, serious or otherwise.
The most common breathing problem in puppies is obstruction of the airway. This is often caused by puppies chewing on things that they shouldn't necessarily have. The result is that something may become lodged in their airway and cause them to have difficulty breathing.
Other puppies may have breathing problems associated with their anatomy. Dogs with the squished or pug looking face will generally have more labored breathing after exercise. This should subside within 30 minutes after exercise.
There also are viruses and bacteria that can cause breathing problems in your puppy. The Bordetella bacteria is the most common cause for kennel cough, which is most likely to strike dogs that are in groups in settings such as shows or kennels. Strep throat and infections of the airways also can cause breathing problems.
It's important to take note of how long these problems last as breathing problems may also be the result of broken ribs, congestive heart failure or even abnormal growths in the airway or the lungs.
There are different types of breathing problems and each is unique to the puppy and its environment and heredity. It's important to note that while one dog may present with coughing when he or she has tonsillitis, another may present the same way with congestive heart failure. Pay attention to these potential symptoms:
--- Constant panting
--- Rapid breathing of more than 60 breaths per minute
--- Labored breathing
--- Coughing that does not subside
--- Less than 25 breaths per minute for long periods of time
--- Discharge from the nose
Breathing problems in puppies will often resolve on their own, but you should keep a close eye on any puppy that is exhibiting any signs of breathing problems. A dog that suffers from breathing problems for more than 24 hours, despite behaving normally otherwise, should be seen by a veterinarian. If the puppy seems to be in pain or is non-responsive it should be taken to a vet immediately.
Risks associated with breathing problems are vast if they are not responded to in a timely manner. While some breathing problems will resolve on their own, serious ones need to be treated with antibiotics or through surgery if an obstruction or growth is the cause of the breathing problems. If in doubt, it's better to seek treatment.