A Quick Guide – How Do Dogs Get Pneumonia?

how do dogs get pneumonia

Has your dog started to lose weight all of a sudden? Has he been coughing frequently over the past few days?

In that case, you need to visit the vet because these symptoms point to Pneumonia.

Pneumonia affects the lower respiratory tract and can be life-threatening for dogs. Understanding Pneumonia’s causes and symptoms will help you care for your dog in a much better way.  

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “How Do Dogs Get Pneumonia?” in detail and tell you everything you need to know about the disease. 
So, let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics: What is Pneumonia?

Just like humans, dogs also have a respiratory system. 

The respiratory system is divided into two parts – the upper respiratory system and the lower respiratory system.

  • The upper respiratory system consists of nose, throat, nasal sinuses, and trachea. 
  • The lower respiratory tract has bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. 

The bronchi and bronchioles are the small airways, whereas the alveoli are the tiny air sacs found in the lung tissue. It is responsible for the exchange of oxygen.

Pneumonia is the disease of the lungs. It affects breathing in dogs. Dogs who suffer from acute pneumonia experience trouble breathing. Pneumonia in dogs causes inflammation in the small air sacs or alveoli in the lungs. 

It causes the air sacs to swell due to pus and fluid circulation inside the air sacs. 

In a healthy lung, there is an absence of any kind of fluid. 
The condition of Pneumonia fills the lungs sacs with fluids causing them to swell. This results in less amount of oxygen reaching the lungs. Thus dogs will have difficulty breathing due to less oxygen supply

What are the causes of Pneumonia in dogs?

Before we answer the question, “How do I know if my dog has pneumonia?” we need to look at some of its causes.

how to diagnose pneumonia in dogs

Pneumonia in your dog can develop due to several factors. The inflammation in the lung tissue can be caused due to cell injury, irritation, or infection. Knowing the cause of the lung infection in your dog will help to understand the nature of the disease and its seriousness. 

It will also help to determine the risk factor for your dog’s life.
The reason behind the lung infection or Pneumonia in your dog will give a better idea of how to treat it effectively. Some of the common causes of Pneumonia in dogs are:

  • Irritants: It may be that your dog has been in an environment with Aerosols, sprays, and air pollutants in the air. He then would have been inhaling these irritants and, as a result, got the lung infection.
  • Smoking: Dog owners who smoke a lot in their homes put their pets at risk of developing Pneumonia. The dog inhales the contaminated air filled with smoke from cigarettes and ends up infecting their lungs.
  • Aspiration: This happens when a small amount of food or other liquid gets accidentally into the dogs’ air tract. You can easily know this if your dog has constantly been vomiting. The case of aspiration can also be related to anesthesia.
  • Diseases: several diseases like cancer, laryngeal paralysis, megaesophagus, and cleft palate can also cause Pneumonia in dogs. They weaken the dog’s immune system and cause bacterial infection in the lungs’ tissues.
  • Viruses: Viral infections such as canine flu, canine adenovirus type-2, and parainfluenza may cause inflammation and bacterial infections. This eventually leads to your dog developing pneumonia conditions. This type of viral infection can quickly spread from one infected dog to another dog. In this case, you must be very cautious if you have more pets.
  • Bacteria: Escherichia coli, Streptococcus zooepidemicus, Pasteurella multocida, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and different Mycoplasma cause bacterial infections in the lungs that result in Pneumonia. This is one of the most common causes of Pneumonia in dogs.
  • Trauma: if your dog has suffered an injury to the chest while playing or running in the past, this may also be one reason for developing Pneumonia. 

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Pneumonia: The Types of Pneumonia in Dogs

We’re commonly asked how to diagnose Pneumonia in dogs, but most people don’t know about the types of this disease! It’s important to form a diagnosis. There are two types of Pneumonia in dogs:

  • Bacterial Pneumonia 
  • Aspiration Pneumonia
  • Walking Pneumonia

Pneumonia is treatable.

The early you diagnose it, the better are the chances of your dog getting cured of it. 

Dog owners must know the difference between the two types of Pneumonia as it will help them better understand their dog’s situation. In this way, you can look after your pet dog and take better care of him.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial Pneumonia is also known as infectious Pneumonia

It is commonly caused by bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infection of the lungs’ tissues. Even a common cold or upper respiratory infection could lead to Pneumonia in your dog.

  • Contagious in nature
  • Caused by bacterial contaminated food or water
  • Can spread through pathogens
  • It could also spread when pets are sharing the same food, water, or accessories.
  • Transmitted through water droplets in the air when an infected dog sneezes
  • Dogs with a weak immune system are the ones at risk

Aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia is caused when some particles of food or any liquid are inhaled or accidentally get into the air tract or your dog’s lungs. In case your dog is showing signs of aspiration pneumonia-like vomiting or chocking, then consult your vet doctor immediately.

  • Non-contagious
  • Generally caused by choking on his own vomit
  • Can affect liver, kidneys, and pancreas
  • The vet will recommend undergoing testing to determine the cause of vomiting
  • If your dog is under anesthesia or recovering from it, aspiration can be dangerous for him.
  • Seizures can also put your dog at risk of aspiration
  • Very rare kind of Pneumonia

Walking Pneumonia

In the case of mild Pneumonia in dogs, your vet recommends close observation and care at home. They also prescribe medications and advise you to properly care for your dog. 

In that case, you must keenly observe the signs of Pneumonia – whether the symptoms have started to go or the condition is getting adverse. 

Mild cases of Pneumonia are also called “walking pneumonia,” as in this case, your dog can lead a perfectly normal life. He can walk, run, play, eat, drink, and breathe without any difficulty.

We’ll go into detail about how to help a dog with pneumonia at home later in the article to help you out.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Pneumonia?

how do i know if my dog has pneumonia

The most common question among dog owners is, “How do I know if my dog has pneumonia?”

If you sense sudden abnormal behavior in your dog and carefully observe the symptoms, you can easily identify Pneumonia’s signs in your dog.

The most common symptoms of Pneumonia in dogs are:

  • Coughing
  • High fever
  • Difficulty in exercising
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heavy breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Nasal whistling 
  • Wheezing 
  • Irregular breathing
  • Weight loss 
  • Lung sounds as harsh or incredibly soft
  • Lack of appetite
  • Anorexia 

How to Diagnose Pneumonia in Dogs?

You must consult your vet as soon as you see any of the symptoms mentioned above. When you take your dog to the vet clinic, he will follow the diagnosis process below:

  • Perform a full physical checkup
  • Take notes of signs
  • Observe nasal discharge, coughing tendency and temperature of your dog
  • Listen to the sounds of lungs using a stethoscope
  • X-Ray of the lungs is recommended
  • Sample of nasal discharge is sent for microbial culture
  • A blood test to check the white blood cell count

After carefully examining the test results and symptoms, the vet will tell you about the nature of Pneumonia your dog has developed. 

You are required to follow the treatment sessions carefully.

How to Prevent Pneumonia in Dogs?

Pneumonia is a significant risk to the life and health of your dog. So it is always better to prevent your dog from catching any kind of lung infection than to go through Pneumonia’s painful experience.

You must follow these steps to avoid Pneumonia in your dog:

  • Regular vaccination to prevent infections
  • Regular physical checkups at a vet clinic
  • Maintain a good diet
  • Avoid dogs from dirty areas as they may get infected with unknown bacteria, fungus or viruses
  • Maintain proper hygiene
  • Keep the air clean 
  • Use air purifiers at home
  • Avoid smoking near your dog or in a closed room
  • Keep your house clean
  • Avoid aerosol sprays at home
  • Avoid contact with an infected dog
  • Regularly clean your dog’s toys, bedding, and bowls
  • If one of your dogs has Pneumonia, then isolate him from others

Treatment of Pneumonia in Dogs

Pneumonia is a severe condition in dogs. They must be kept at a vet hospital to monitor his health and symptoms regularly. Dogs with Pneumonia are treated and taken care of in the following manner:

  • Prescribing proper medications like antibiotics, antitussives, anti-inflammatories.
  • Use of humidifiers or nebulizers to loosen the mucus
  • Implying coupage method to break mucus in lungs
  • Brief physical exercise sessions are included in routine
  • Marinating a nutritious diet
  • Oxygen support is given (if required)

Always go with what your vet recommends.

In Conclusion: How Do Dogs Get Pneumonia?

how to help a dog with pneumonia at home

Were we able to answer all the questions you had in mind?

Pneumonia in dogs is a severe disease that has multiple causes. In this article, we went into detail about them, along with prevention techniques and treatment options available for you. 

We recommend you take your vet’s advice seriously and follow along.

About The Author

In this blog post, we went through the different types of eye issues dogs have and some effective natural solutions for them. If you don’t observe any changes in your dog’s condition, or if things worsen, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible.