Gasping for help

By Connie Orcutt • Published: August 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

If you have a short-nosed dog like a pug or Pekingese, the sounds you hear from your pooch may be gasps for help. These dogs often snort, snore or choke their way to a breath of air. Their compressed muzzle includes small nostrils and a long palate crowding a narrow windpipe. It’s a breathing machine fraught with pitfalls.

A surprising number of owners accept their dogs’ respiratory rattlings as par for the course. But struggling for breath is stressful and can quickly cycle into collapse and even death. Prompt treatment is critical, because problems worsen with time.

A short muzzle can also complicate air travel. Sitting in a cargo hold can cause your pet to overheat and stress, making breathing worse. Keep this in mind when planning your summer trip. Travel during cooler times of day and get your pet used to his traveling crate before the trip to ease stress.