Tuesday, March 14, 2023

How to Cope with a Golden Retriever and Asthma

by Mel Dawn

Dogs are mammals, and unfortunately, they can get the same health conditions that their human admirers can. But the good news is that asthma in dogs, including golden retrievers, is not only treatable, it’s fairly simple to give medication as prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.

You’ll still need some guidance on how to cope with a golden retriever who has asthma though. It may seem overwhelming at first, and you may feel quite bad as your loved one has a bad health condition. Here we offer you some tips on how to cope with a golden retriever and asthma, along with the treatment plan that your veterinarian will provide to you. 

Can a Golden Retriever Get Asthma?

Yes, a golden retriever, or any type of dog can get asthma, just like us humans, and other types of mammals too. Not everyone gets this condition, but it’s important to be aware of any symptoms so you can quickly get your pup or adult dog to the vet for proper diagnosis. If you believe it’s life-threatening, immediately take your dog to your local 24-hour emergency pet hospital! And don’t worry, this condition is fully treatable, and your golden retriever with asthma can still live a long and happy life!

What Exactly is Asthma?

There are a few different causes for asthma, but unless your dog has been diagnosed as a pup, most likely it’s due to an allergic reaction to something in the environment. It will be airborne particles that they breath in. Their immune systems will react negatively to the allergens in the air, which can lead to mucus or fluid in their airways. This can fill up, causing the airways to constrict. This results in your dog having difficulties in breathing. Most times, it will resolve on its own, but if it doesn’t, the most severe form of asthma can lead to hypoxia. This is when your dog can no long breath in oxygen. Over time, if asthma isn’t treated, a dog’s airways and lungs can be permanently damaged. The most severe form can lead to death. 

What Are the Symptoms of Golden Retriever and Asthma?

It’s normal for your dog to pant, but they may exhibit other signs that can lead to asthma. These may include being out of breath, even if they’re not running, or with any difficulties in breathing. Your dog may have pale or blue gums. They may be tired and not interested in eating. They may cough and wheeze like humans do. The severity can vary from a minor inconvenience, to be seriously life-threatening. It’s best to book a vet visit, as asthma can worsen if left untreated, particularly if you don’t understand what is triggering symptoms in your golden retriever. 

Why Types of Things Can Trigger My Dog’s Asthma?

Generally, it’s airborne particles that can trigger an asthma attack, though foods can do it too. Cigarette smoke is a common one, as well as campfire smoke. Exhaust fumes from vehicles or machinery is common too. If you don’t do housework on a regular basis, the household dust can affect your dog. Mold spores can be an issue in the home if there isn’t adequate ventilation. Aerosol sprays can affect your dog, including hairspray, scented air fresheners, and pesticide. Burning candles with fragrance, or air freshener plug-ins can be problematic, as well as burning incense. Wheat-based and clay-based cat litter can be a problem if your dog likes to sniff their boxes. Our perfume, hand lotion, and deodorant can trigger asthma in dogs. Cooking smells from the oven can trigger asthma, as well as deep frying or frying  foods. Keep in mind that certain foods are toxic to pets, including chocolate, garlic, onions, and peppers, and even their cooking smells can cause an allergic reaction in our furry ones. Dogs can also be susceptible to flower, tree, and plant pollen. Keep in mind that flowers from the lily family are highly toxic to pets, and that includes Easter lilies and aloe vera plants. 

What Types of Medications Will Be Prescribed?

There are three different types of medications that may be prescribed for your golden retriever dog. The first type you will be familiar with, as they are antihistamines. These block the allergic response in your dog’s body. The second type are bronchodilators. These are inhalers, much like the type we use for our asthma. The medication will help to open the bronchi in the lungs to make it easier for your dog to breath. The third type of medication will be anti-inflammatories. These help to reduce the swelling in the lungs. The lungs will strengthen over time and help the immune system to fight off any triggers. 

What Can I Do to Protect My Golden Retriever?

The best thing you can do is a survey of your house and your dog’s environment. This includes removing all toxins that may be triggering their asthma. You can opt to use fragrance-free and unscented personal care products and cleansers. Adjust your cooking menus or turn on the fans and open the windows, while placing the dog in a room away from harmful smells. If you have a cat, opt for a plant-based cat litter, such as grass or tofu. Avoid using pesticides and aerosol sprays around the home. In fact, go through your home and toss anything problematic into a box and give it away. Also include any perfumes, candles, and air fresheners too. And just because there may be one item triggering your dog’s asthma, other items could trigger it in the future. 

Your wonderful golden retriever dog is a part of your family, and soon their asthma treatments (whether daily or as required), will quickly become part of your daily routine. You’ll be relieved that your dog has a proper diagnosis, and a good treatment plan. Now you can focus on making your dog as happy as possible, which will also make you feel happier and relieved that you can do something to make them feel better!

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