pneumonia dogs
Understanding pneumonia in dogs. Image: Pexels

Home » Pneumonia in dogs: What pet owners should know

Pneumonia in dogs: What pet owners should know

Pneumonia is a serious respiratory condition that can impact dogs, regardless of their age or breed, causing breathing issues.

08-02-24 09:32
pneumonia dogs
Understanding pneumonia in dogs. Image: Pexels

Pneumonia, a common respiratory condition in humans, can also affect our beloved canine companions. While it may sound daunting, understanding the basics of pneumonia in dogs can help pet owners recognise the signs, seek prompt veterinary care, and provide necessary support for their furry friends. Here’s what you need to know:


According to the American Kennel Club, pneumonia in dogs is inflammation of lung air sacs called alveoli. These sacs, crucial for oxygen exchange, can fill with fluid due to inflammation, hindering oxygen absorption. The American Kennel Club states that pneumonia in dogs and humans is similar, involving lung alveoli inflammation. Dr. Klein notes that it’s unlikely for people to catch pneumonia from dogs in typical situations.

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Pneumonia in dogs can be caused by various factors, including bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections. Common pathogens responsible for canine pneumonia include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus spp., and canine influenza virus. Additionally, aspiration pneumonia can occur when dogs inhale foreign objects, vomit, or regurgitated food into their lungs, leading to inflammation and infection. Certain predisposing factors, such as age, pre-existing health conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes), weakened immune system, and environmental factors (e.g., exposure to smoke, pollutants), can increase a dog’s risk of developing pneumonia.

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Recognising the signs of pneumonia in dogs is crucial for early intervention and successful treatment. Common symptoms include coughing (often moist or productive), difficulty breathing, rapid or shallow breathing, lethargy, fever, nasal discharge (often purulent or bloody), loss of appetite, and in severe cases, cyanosis (blue-tinged mucous membranes). If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention promptly. A veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, including listening to the lungs with a stethoscope, and may recommend diagnostic tests such as chest X-rays, blood tests, tracheal wash, or bronchoscopy to confirm the diagnosis and identify the underlying cause of pneumonia.

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Treating pneumonia in dogs depends on what’s causing it, how bad the symptoms are, and how healthy the dog is overall. If it’s caused by bacteria, vets usually prescribe antibiotics to fight the specific bacteria causing the infection. They might also provide supportive care like giving oxygen, using a nebuliser, and giving fluids through a vein to help with breathing and keep the dog hydrated. If it’s caused by inhaling something, they’ll also clear the airways. It’s important to follow the vet’s advice carefully and keep a close eye on your dog’s progress at home. Sometimes, they might need to stay in the hospital for more intense care, especially if it’s a serious or complicated case.


Although it’s not always possible to stop pneumonia in dogs, pet owners can take steps to lower the risk. Vaccinating against respiratory diseases can prevent certain pneumonia types in dogs. Also, keeping your dog away from smoke, pollutants, and other irritants can safeguard their respiratory health. Detecting pneumonia early and treating it promptly is crucial for a good outcome. With the right veterinary care and support, many dogs can recover from pneumonia and go back to their usual routines.

To sum up, pneumonia is a severe breathing problem that can affect dogs of any age and breed. Know causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention to spot and address pet illness for better health. If you think your dog might have pneumonia, make sure to see a vet for evaluation and treatment promptly. Acting early can greatly improve your dog’s chances of getting better and enjoying a good quality of life.


Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.