Your assessment results for:

Breathing Difficulties

Urgency level: Possible emergency

Contact an emergency veterinary hospital

What to do next

Contact an emergency hospital ASAP and keep your dog quiet

  • Contact the vet before travelling to ensure they are able to see your pet. They may also need to give you specific instructions. Your regular veterinary clinic may be able to treat your pet.
  • Keep your dog quiet and calm, and restrict them from any unnecessary movement. We don’t want them to further exert themselves.


Why it’s an emergency

Severe breathing problems are urgent and life-threatening

  • Any condition that causes difficulty breathing requires veterinary intervention. Difficulty breathing can be caused by problems with the heart and lungs, and typically results in inadequate delivery of oxygen throughout your dog’s body, which can lead to organ failure.
  • Based on the severity of the signs you’ve selected, we are concerned that your dog could have a life-threatening problem. These situations are time sensitive and require ER veterinarians with specialized equipment (though some regular clinics may be able to treat your pet).
  • Learn more about breathing problems in dogs


First aid tips

Perform first aid if necessary

  • If your dog is unconscious:
    • Pull their tongue forward and straighten their neck in an upright position.
    • Look for any obstructions in the back of the mouth. If you see something, remove them carefully by hand.
  • If your dog is not breathing:
    • Gently close their mouth and breathe very lightly into the nose approximately every 10 seconds.
  • If there is no heartbeat:
    • Gently compress the chest 15 times then give two breaths. Continue this as needed until you get to the vet.
  • Don’t use a leash that tightens around your dog’s neck (ex. a collar). A harness is preferable.
  • Learn more about breathing problems in dogs


Talk to a veterinarian now

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Please note that our Symptoms Assessments and Results are intended for informational purposes only, and not a medical diagnosis. Our goal is to help pet owners make an informed decision about if, when and how urgently they need to seek veterinary care. Using our site should not and does not replace a consultation with a veterinarian.