Why is My Dog Wheezing?

Has your dog been wheezing lately? Are you concerned about what could be causing this issue? Has the wheezing come on suddenly, or is it slowly getting worse over time? What does this symptom mean for your pet?

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In this article, you’ll find information about some of the most common causes of wheezing in dogs. While most causes of wheezing are nothing too concerning and can be rectified with the right treatment plan, some may require an urgent care or emergency vet trip to resolve.  For more serious concerns, our urgent care animal hospital in Milwaukee, WI is here to help!

Mild Causes

Allergies & Other Contaminants

Allergies are by far the most common cause of wheezing in dogs. Dogs may wheeze because of contact, seasonal, or pollen allergies. Understanding what causes your dog’s allergic reaction is the first step in prevention. This might require a trip to the vet for allergy testing. Common allergens include certain foods, pollens, dust mites, molds, and certain fabrics or materials.


Asthma can be serious if left untreated in dogs. However, if your dog has been diagnosed with asthma and is receiving treatment for her symptoms, then this isn’t a major cause for concern either. Just watch your dog to ensure her wheezing will ease up shortly.


Respiratory infections may be very serious if left untreated. However, they are quick and easy to resolve in most instances, with the help of antibiotics from your vet. Some dogs may also need a round of steroids to help them recover fully. These are all decisions that must be made by a professional, and our team of veterinarians is here to help. We encourage you to give us a call so we can determine the best plan of action for your dog.

Flat Face

Dogs that naturally have a flat face are much more likely to wheeze than those that have a longer snout. Dogs with flat faces may have respiratory issues and concerns, so you should talk with your vet for more information about how to manage your dog’s health if she has a flat face.

Moderate Causes

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease can be very serious and even fatal if left untreated. However, with the right treatment and management solutions from your vet, you can help your dog with heartworm disease live a full, happy, healthy life.

If your dog has been diagnosed with heartworm disease, she is likely to wheeze frequently when she eats or overexerts herself. This is a normal symptom of heartworm disease and doesn’t warrant a trip to the vet, as long as your dog is already receiving the appropriate treatment for this condition.

Congestive Heart Failure

Some dogs may develop congestive heart failure as they get older. Although this condition is chronic and often terminal, dogs can live for many years while managing their symptoms relatively easily. If your dog has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you may expect wheezing in her future.

Your vet can talk with you more about how the disease will progress and what to expect from your dog as her condition worsens.

Severe Causes

Inhalation of a Foreign Object

One of the most serious severe causes of wheezing in dogs is inhalation of a foreign object. Your dog could accidentally inhale a piece of her food, a broken piece of a toy, or any small object she finds lying around the home.

When this happens, it is possible for the inhaled object to become lodged in the nasal passages or windpipe, leading to partial or full obstruction of the airways. Your dog will be wheezing because she is unable to breathe in this situation. Call our urgent care veterinarians immediately if you know or suspect this is the cause of your dog’s wheezing


If your dog has a tumor on her neck, throat, or nose, these conditions could all potentially lead to airway obstruction as well. In these situations, your dog’s airways may not be fully obstructed, and she may still be able to breathe partially. However, she will wheeze as she struggles to breathe fully.

If your dog has already been diagnosed with this type of tumor and is receiving treatment or symptom management, you can assume this is the cause of her wheezing. If your wheezing dog has not been diagnosed with any conditions mentioned in this article, you should consider contacting a veterinarian to seek medical advice

Reach Out to Our Milwaukee, WI, Urgent Care Vets If Your Dog’s Wheezing is an Unknown or Serious Problem

As you can see, it is much more likely for your pet to be wheezing due to a mild or moderate issue than because of a severe one. However, if you’re concerned, you should always take your pet to the urgent care vet or emergency vet rather than waiting to see what happens.

If your dog is having difficulty breathing, especially if you don’t know the reason, please reach out to our Milwaukee, WI, urgent care vets immediately at (262) 226-2055.