Loki and Freyja the dogs Loki and Freyja the dogs

Can Dogs Get Asthma?

Read time: 3 mins

10 Sep 2023

Just like humans, our pooches can experience respiratory issues, so it's essential to recognise the signs, understand the causes, and know how to manage this condition.

In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know about asthma in dogs, from identifying symptoms to treatment options.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Asthma?

If you've ever wondered whether your dog can have asthma, you're not alone. Dogs can indeed suffer from this respiratory condition. To determine if your dog has asthma, look out for these common signs:


Persistent coughing, especially after exercise or excitement, can be a sign of asthma in dogs.

Laboured breathing

If your dog appears to be struggling to breathe, with rapid or shallow breaths, it's a cause for concern.


Wheezing sounds during breathing are another indicator of potential asthma.

Decreased energy

Asthmatic dogs may become lethargic due to their difficulty in breathing.

How Do Vets Test for Asthma?

To diagnose asthma in dogs, vets use a combination of methods, including:

Physical examination

Vets will conduct a thorough physical exam, listening for abnormal lung sounds and checking for other respiratory issues.


Chest X-rays can reveal any abnormalities in the lungs.


This procedure involves inserting a small camera into the airways to visualise any obstructions or inflammation.

Blood tests

Blood-work can help rule out other potential causes of respiratory distress.

Can a Dog Have an Asthma Attack?

Yes, dogs with asthma can experience asthma attacks.

These attacks are characterised by sudden and severe respiratory distress. During an attack, your dog may exhibit extreme coughing, wheezing, and gasping for breath. It's crucial to remain calm and seek immediate vet attention if your dog has an asthma attack.

What Triggers Asthma in Dogs?

Understanding the triggers of asthma in dogs is essential for managing the condition. Common asthma triggers include:

  • Pollen, dust mites, mould spores, and other allergens

  • Cigarette smoke and other air pollutants

  • Intense physical activity, particularly in overweight or out-of-shape dogs

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Infections of the respiratory tract

How Do You Treat Asthma in Dogs?

Managing asthma in dogs involves a multi-faceted approach. Treatment options may include:


Vets often prescribe bronchodilators and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and open airways.

Environmental consideration

Minimise exposure to known triggers such as smoke and allergens.

Weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help reduce asthma symptoms.

Stress reduction

Create a calm and stress-free environment for your dog.

Allergen control

Use air purifiers and keep your home clean to minimise allergen exposure.

Can Dogs Use Human Inhalers? 

No, you should not use human inhalers for dogs.

Human inhalers are not designed for dogs, instead vets will prescribe inhalers specifically formulated for dogs. These inhalers deliver medication in a way that's safe and effective for dogs. It's crucial never to use a human inhaler on your dog without veterinary guidance, as it can be harmful to them.