Can dogs get asthma?

Over the years Maggie has gone through spells where it appears that she is gasping for air or having trouble breathing. Her mouth is closed, but she is trying to breath through her nose. It kind of reminds me of an asthma attack. Maybe some kind of allergy? These spells are infrequent and only last a few seconds. Sometimes she is playing or walking around and other times she is just lying on her bed. It is hard to describe and I have asked the vet about it; I'm not sure he completly understood what I was talking about, but he said it was nothing to worry about. Until today I had never seen another dog do this, but Riley and I were hiking with a friend today and her lab had the same "gasping" spells, again only lasting a few seconds. This is the first time it was noticed with her. Does anyone know what this is or what might cause it?

Asked by Riley on Dec 2nd 2007 in Other Health & Wellness
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Best Answer


I would highly doubt it is Asthma. If Maggie had Asthma she would also be coughing a lot, wheezing and breathing through her mouth.

What you probably witnessed is a condition in dogs known as reverse sneezing. It actually has nothing to do with sneezing, but is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate. It has sent many a distraught owner to the vet in panic.

Some animals can have this condition for their entire lives, or it may develop as the dog ages. During the spasm, the dog will usually turn her elbows outward and extend her neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Gently massaging the throat area or pinching the dog's nostrils shut so she must breath through her mouth can help shorten the episode. Once the attack ceases, all goes back to normal.

Please Google "reverse sneezing in dogs" to read more about the condition. It will put you at ease to see how common it is.

answered on Dec 3rd.

Other Answers



i know of a cat that has asthma

Member 448207 answered on 12/2/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I have two dogs and they both occasionally get these "spells" as well. I have found that rubbing their throat or bridge of the nose helps. If not you can try covering their nose and that sometimes helps them correct themselves faster. The first time it happened was very scary, but I was told it is a sort of spasm, similar it a hiccup.

Norman answered on 12/3/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I have a maltese that goes through spells like that. Luckily, I was visiting my girlfriend one day, who is also my veteranarian, and Teddy (my dog) when into one of these spells. She (the vet) told me is was nothing but an inverted sneeze. If it continues for a period of time, take the dog outside into the air. It works!

Teddy answered on 12/4/07. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer