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Why Is My Dog Breathing from His Stomach? Vet-Reviewed Guide

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

medical treatment of sick husky dog in vet clinic

Why Is My Dog Breathing from His Stomach? Vet-Reviewed Guide


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

A healthy dog should have a normal rhythm to their breathing, and their chest and stomach should move in and out together. If the dog is breathing from his stomach, this could mean that he’s having a hard time removing the air from their lungs and the breathing is becoming labored. This could be a form of Dyspnea (shortness of breath or labored breathing in dogs and cats) that should alert you that your dog may be in respiratory distress.

This is a medical emergency; you should get your pet to the vet as soon as possible. The condition could be caused by fluid or air around your pet’s lungs, congestive heart failure, or bronchitis. We’ll talk more about dogs breathing from their stomachs and the possible causes below.

divider-dog paw

What Causes a Dog to Breathe from Their Stomach?

There are a few reasons your dog might be breathing from his stomach.

  • An infection
  • A blocked airway
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heatstroke
  • Heartworm infestation
  • An abdominal disorder
  • Acute trauma
  • Heatstroke

If you suspect any of these conditions in your canine friend, it’s imperative that you get the dog to the vet immediately.

respiratory distress, oxygen mask on dog
Image Credit: mojahata, Shutterstock

What Are the Signs of Dyspnea in Dogs?

Labored breathing can affect dogs of any age, but it’s more common in adults than in puppies.

Here are some of the signs of dyspnea in dogs:
  • The dog is excessively panting
  • Your dog’s nostrils are flaring
  • Your dog is holding his head at a low angle
  • The dog appears to be frantic and anxious
  • The dog’s gums are turning a pale blue
  • The dog is taking shallow and rapid breaths

These signs of Dyspnea can be very frightening to you as the pet owner. However, you need to be calm, help your dog to try and calm down, then get the dog to the vet immediately for a diagnosis and treatment of the condition the dog is suffering from. It’s also a good idea to know how to do CPR on your dog, just in case the worst happens and you need to save the dog’s life.

A dog in respiratory distress is at risk and clearly needs attention, proper diagnosis, and treatment. Please immediately make your way to the veterinary clinic.



Not being able to breathe is a horrible feeling, whether you’re a human or a dog. It’s not normal for a dog to breathe from his stomach, and you should be concerned, especially if it doesn’t return to normal immediately. Prompt veterinary treatment is necessary if your dog has labored breathing, and although some conditions are more severe than others, your vet can treat the issue and help your pet breathe normally again.

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Featured Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

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