Bronchitis in Dogs – Its symptoms, causes & treatment

Bronchitis in dogs and puppies is a serious and upsetting condition and although it should clear up after a few days the symptoms can be debilitating.

A quick Guide…

Chronic and acute bronchitis in dogs and puppies is caused by inflammation of the Bronchi. The Bronchi are tubes which are enable air to pass from your dog’s trachea into the lungs.

This condition can affect all breeds of either sex and is no more common in females than males. However, smaller dog breeds and dogs that are of a medium stature are more susceptible to the infection.

Common symptoms seen in Bronchitis in dogs and puppies…

  1. Expect to see your dog coughing
  2. Sometimes the condition can lead to your dog or puppy breathing faster – also known as Tachypnea.
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. You may notice that your dog or puppy is wheezing
  5. Your dog or puppy may also gag intermittently
  6. Anorexia is another symptom
  7. You may notice that your dog or puppy seems depressed.
  8. Your pooch may also develop a fever.

If you suspect that your dog or puppy has bronchitis it will often get worst after exercise (your pooch may cough more). If your dog or puppy is suffering from a severe acute infection then you may notice that their has gums and a tongue appear blue in color – this is when your dog has become Cyanotic

Bronchitis in dogs (common causes).

The cause of Bronchitis is often hard to determine but the infection may be caused by the following…

  1. Environmental pollutants may cause the condition.
  2. Bacterial infections
  3. Viral infections
  4. Cillary Dyskinesis – This is when there is a congenital abnormality of the Cilla.
  5. Cigarette smoke is also thought to be a cause (so don’t smoke around your dog or puppy).
  6. Some people think that poor oral health can be cause bronchitis but this is not proven.

How is the condition diagnosed…

The diagnosis of bronchitis can be achieved through…

  • Biochemistry – This is when serum blood counts are taken which will determine your dog’s overall health and check whether your dog has any other medical conditions.
  • Bronchoscopy – This is when a small fiber optic tube is passed through the airway – via the tube it is possible to see whether there are other problems/illnesses including cancer, lung worms, fungal infections and inflammatory disease.
  • Sputum Tests – A sputum sample will be taken and will be tested for sensitivity and cultured for bacteria – the vet may take a Cytology test which tests for parasites, cancer cells, active infections and even allergies.
  • The vet will check your dog’s medical history and will complete a thorough physical examination to determine if bronchitis is present.
  • Radiography – This is when a chest x-ray is taken.
  • The vet may undertake a thorough examination of your dog’s bronchi and trachea – this is called a tracheobronchial examination.
  • Your dog’s vet may need to undertake other sputum tests. Sputum is the mucus that is found in the lungs. The vet may undertake varied tests to get the sputum, including a (TTW), this is a Trans-Tracheal-Wash – this is when the vet inserts a small needle into your dog’s trachea to get a sample.
  • An ECG may be undertaken.
  • A fecal examination may also be undertaken by the vet – this is when your dog’s poop is examined to determine if lung worms are present.
  • Tests may be done by the vet to see whether heartworms are present.
  • Arterial blood tests – this is when arterial blood is sampled to test how much oxygen is in the blood.

Treatment for Bronchitis in Dogs…

Treatment for bronchitis in dogs may include the following…

keeping your dog dry and warm and away form any chills.

Your dog may need to have anti-inflammatory therapy – specific medications ma be prescribed by your dog’s vet including Prednisolone.

Antibiotics might be prescribed including Cephalexin, Tetracycline, Emofloxacin, Cephalothin, Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and Trimethoprim-sulfonamide.

Bronchodilators might be used by your dog’s vet – these are used to your dog’s respiratory muscles contract.

Sometimes cough suppressants are used to treat the condition – your dog’s vet may prescribe butorphanol or another drug called hydrocodone.

Sometimes the best method to help your pooch is through prevention…below are a few techniques that you should consider…

Never ever smoke around your dog or puppy – not only can this cause bronchitis but it can also cause lung cancer too. Try to keep your House dust free – don’t let your dog hang around smoky areas or near nasty vapors or pollutants.

We advocate the use of body harnesses – don’t use restraint collars as they can irritate and cause problems with your dog’s airway.

Brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis – if your dog has bronchitis you don’t want him to have a nasty dental disease at the same time. Make sure that you take your dog to the vet on a regular basis. Regular check ups enable your vet to spot symptoms of other possible infections and/diseases before they become serious.

Never ever try and treat your dog yourself unless you have received specific advice from a vet. Don’t overfeed your dog with table scraps as obesity can also cause respiratory problems.


Bleby, J and Bishop, G. 2003. The Dogs Health from A-Z. The ultimate handy guide for every dog owner. David and Charles.

Bordwell, S. 1994. The American Animal Hospital Association of Encyclopedia of Dog Health and Care. Quil. new York.

Llewellyn, G. 1998. Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs.

Stein, P. Natural Health Care for Your Dog. Barrons.

How to learn to understand your dog’s cough…

1. If your dog is experiencing a low, wheezy cough then this is a sign of Bronchitis. Wheezing occurs when the breathing becomes strained. Wheezing could also be a sign that there is a problem with the bronchial tubes or even indicate that there is a tumor present. Congestive heart failure and lung disease can also cause wheezing in dogs.

2. If the cough appears forced, convulsive and dehydrated then this is a sign of Kennel Cough.

3. If the cough is wet then this is a sign that there is phlegm present. Gurgling is a sign of Pneumonia.

4. If your dog tends to cough after exercise then this can be a sign of heart disease.

5. Breathing that sounds like snorting could be due to blockage in the air passage.

6. Fast breathing specifically when the dog is resting could be a sign of a high temperature, anxiety, lung or heart disease, dehydartion, shock and even heatstroke.

7. If the breathing appears faint then this could be a sign that the are problems associated with the rib cage (possibly something stopping them from expanding). This could be due to a fracture of the ribs and even pleurisy. Faint breathing can also be a sign of pain.

8. If the breathing is laboured then this could be due to an inflamed voice box. Laboured breathing could be a sign of laryngitis or even mean that there is a tumor present.

9. Panting is a method that dogs and puppies use to reduce their temperature so could be a sign that he or she is suffering from heat distress.

A Quick Guide to Bronchitis in Dogs…

1. Bronchitis is caused by inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs.

2. Chronic bronchitis can develop as a consequence of Acute Bronchitis (if it has been left untreated).

3. There are two forms of Bronchitis (Acute and Chronic). The Acute form is often caused by an infection or virus and the Chronic form mostly develops from the untreated Acute form.

4. To help prevent your dog from getting Bronchitis you should make sure that he or she does not inhale thick bonfire smoke, grain dust or any irritants.

5. The treatment plan should also involve you feeding your pooch a diet that is easy to digest.

Home remedies for treating Bronchitis in Dogs…

Before you attempt to treat your pooch at home it is very important that you check withyour vet first. Below are a few home remedies to get you started.

1. If your pooch is coughing from a normal cold and nothing more serious then you could administer some Bryaconeel tablets or some Cosmochema or Tartephedreel cough drops.

2. If your pooch is weak from consistent coughing then you could administer some Bach Flower remedies including Hornbeam and Olive.

3. If you are aware of the cause of the coughing then you could administer some Husteel drops.

Homeopathic remedies…

1. Aconitum Napellis 6c – this is a great remedy for dry coughs.

2. Belladonna 6c – another great remedy for dry coughs.

3. Spongia Tosta 6c – this is a useful remedy fr harsh coughs.

4. Phosphorus 30c – this remedy is very beneficial for painful coughing.

5. Ledum Palustre 6c – is useful for coughing that is associated with a shortness of breath.