Symptoms of Allergy Induced Asthma in Dogs

Specific allergens, such as pollen, preservatives and artificial colors in food, may cause symptoms of allergy in dogs with asthma. Allergy induced asthma is an inflammation of the airways that is caused by allergies. Asthma is a common disease that can affect humans, dogs, cats and other animals.


Allergens are specific substances that a dog may absorb through his gastrointestinal tract or skin. A dog may also inhale an allergen, such as second-hand smoke or mold. Allergens are known to cause histamine production, which can lead to inflammation. When a dog is affected by allergy induced asthma, various stimuli can cause the bronchi (the air passages into the lungs) to produce excess mucus, inflammation of the airway and bronchospasms. This airway hyperactivity can make it difficult for the dog to breathe.

Some examples of environmental irritants or allergic triggers for allergy induced asthma include the following:

  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Household dust
  • Dust from a litter box
  • Food additives
  • Food preservatives
  • Artificial colors or dyes in food
  • Specific foods (Some common foods that may cause allergy symptoms include: beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy and milk.)
  • Air fresheners
  • Perfumes
  • Aerosol cleaning products used in the home
  • Fumes from household paints

Physical Symptoms of Allergy Induced Asthma in Dogs

Some common symptoms of asthma in dogs include the following:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panting
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Appears frightened, anxious or confused
  • Poor appetite
  • Possible weight loss
  • Lethargy

If your dog seems to be gasping for air with an open mouth, or if his gums or tongue are blue, he may not be getting an adequate amount of oxygen. You should immediately notify your veterinarian, so your dog can receive the proper medical treatment.

Diagnosis for Allergy Induced Asthma in Dogs

Your veterinarian may order tests to rule out other illnesses, such as kennel cough, heart disease, respiratory infection or heartworms. In addition to the physical examination and blood work, your vet may order a chest x-ray to check for respiratory infection or obstruction in the dog's airway.

If your vet doesn't find any other medical cause for your dog's symptoms, he may decide to prescribe medication to treat asthma and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. If asthma is not properly treated, it can lead to further respiratory distress. Dog owners can work with their veterinarian to help them determine the right treatment to control the dog's asthma. It may be helpful for dog owners to write accurate notes at home relating to environmental factors that seem to improve or worsen their dog's symptoms of asthma.

It would be important to note if the dog experiences breathing problems when he is outside, when the pollen or mold count is high, or if he gets symptoms when he is exposed to second-hand smoke. This information may help the veterinarian identify the causes for the dog's allergy induced asthma. It is important for dog owners to be able to effectively communicate with their vet and to follow accurate instructions.

Treatment for Allergy Induced Asthma in Dogs

Treatment may include medications, such as steroids, antihistamines or bronchodilators. It is beneficial to keep your home free of common allergens and environmental irritants, and make sure your dog gets adequate rest every day. With proper treatment, dogs with allergy induced asthma can lead normal and happy lives.