Asthma in dogs is a condition that affects the respiratory system, especially the bronchi, causing coughing. This condition is an allergic reaction, which is due to different substances inhaled by the dog. Asthma occurs when the dog’s immune system responds negatively to these substances, producing serotonin and inflammatory cells, which will constrict the air passages. The causes of asthma may differ from one pet to another, so you need to know what causes asthma in your dog to be able to avoid asthma attacks. Some of the most common triggers of asthma include: pollens, grasses, dust mites, mold, cigarette smoke, chemicals and food.
Pollens are the number one cause of asthma in canines. Pollen can come from different plants and trees and the dog may be allergic to one or several types of pollen. If the dog reacts negatively to pollens, the asthma attacks will only be present during pollen seasons (i.e., spring and fall). The pollens are airborne and may be inhaled by the dog, causing the activation of the inflammatory cells, the coughing and breathing problems. Reducing the dog’s time spent outdoors during pollen seasons can benefit and diminish your pet’s negative reactions.
Just like pollens, grasses can be a common allergen. The dog may have asthma attacks after playing in the grass. There are different types of grass, but the dog is most likely allergic to all. Grass cannot be avoided, so the dog needs to get medication treatment to prevent asthma attacks.
Dust mites are present in all environments, including homes, and may not always be visible. If dust mites cause asthma attacks in your pet, you will have to pay attention to removing the dust on a daily basis and purchase air cleaners that will reduce the amount of dust mites from your house.
Mold can be present in a lot of homes or buildings, especially if the rooms are humid and there is not enough ventilation. Mold can be removed from the walls using anti-mold cleaners or apple cider vinegar. Get a dehumidifier and try to get proper ventilation in your home.
Chemicals are also top irritants in dogs. The inhalation of chemicals can cause respiratory problems and dry cough. Avoid the dog’s exposure to common chemicals such as:
- Cleaning products
- Paints and varnishes
- Air sprays
- Dog sprays (i.e., flea sprays)
- Cat litter
Asthma can be caused by cigarette smoke. Dogs can be second hand smokers, and some dogs can develop asthma over time. Don’t smoke near your dog, or quit smoking for the sake of your pet. Fireplace smoke can be equally harmful, so if you have a fireplace, keep your asthmatic dog in a different room.
The ingredients in the dog’s food can cause an asthma attack. Try to switch to a different type of food or wet food, which can be better tolerated. By Dr Ruan Du Toit Bester
Hope this info helps
Till next week
Dr Ruan Bester
Ask the Vet: Royal Veterinary Centre
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