Understanding Respiratory Systems in Animals

The respiratory systems of mammals are fairly similar from species to species. All air breathing animals have some sort of lung in which air is brought into where it is absorbed by blood that is coming from the heart and then goes throughout the body. However, understanding the respiratory systems of animals doesn’t just consist of the lungs. Presented here are most of the major components of the respiratory system and a description of the job they perform.

The Lungs Take in Air

When your pet breathes, air is going in and out of her lungs. In the lungs are passageways around which blood flows and absorbs the oxygen from the air, which is then expelled. As the blood flows into the lungs, it gives off the carbon dioxide it contains. This exchange of gases in the lungs takes place in the alveoli capillaries.  Oxygen is required by the body’s cells for the creation of energy. The air passages in the lungs are called bronchi. These bronchi resemble the roots of trees as they get smaller and smaller, exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen between the blood and the air. These smaller branches of bronchi are called bronchioles.

The Nose and Mouth Filters

Your dog’s nose and mouth are how he takes in air, we all know that. What many don’t know is that air is filtered during the respiratory process. The moisture of the mouth and nose helps attract dusts and pollens, keeping them out of the lungs. Also, inside the nose are hundreds of tiny moist hairs that collect most of the rest of the contaminants and irritants before they enter the lungs. Also, when your dog pants, not only is he taking in deeper gulps of air, but he’s also cooling himself off.

The Trachea Connects Lungs to Air Sources

In the throat, just beyond the mouth and nose, after the pharynx and larynx is the trachea. This is a tube lined with C-shaped cartilage that is lined up the other side with muscles to help dislodge contaminants or foreign objects when you cough by speeding the flow of air out of the lungs. The trachea is also lined with tiny hairs to help trap food inadvertently inhaled and other foreign objects before they can reach the lungs.

The Energy Making Process Respiration Fuels

Cellular respiration is how your pet’s body creates energy from the food he eats. Oxygen in the blood is combined with the energy source, usually a carbohydrate and creates carbon dioxide, energy and water. The molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide then exchange places in the blood and the process of oxygenating the blood begins all over again as the blood flows back to the heart and lungs.

Inhalation and Exhalation

Inhalation and exhalation are caused by the diaphragm contracting and relaxing. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts, creating a vacuum in your lungs and causing air to flow in. During exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes, forcing carbon dioxide and unused oxygen out.

The foregoing should give you a better understanding of the respiratory system and process in animals.