Dog Gasping For Air Even On Short Walks

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy 12 year old lab gasps for air after walking even on very short walks. Is this normal for a dog his age? (Edward Colon - Florida)

Answer

A 12 year old dog is after all approximately equivalent to a 70 year old human so it is not abnormal for a dog of his age to find exercise difficult, and a slowing down of the cardiac or pulmonary system is usually responsible for such symptoms.

This means that either the heart is not pumping fast enough or efficiently enough to supply the lungs with sufficient oxygen, or the lungs are not exchanging the oxygen for the carbon dioxide quickly enough, hence the shortness of breath. Your vet will be able to carry out various tests to indicate what the exact problem is and in some cases can prescribe drugs to help ease the symptoms. A change in exercise routine to include more rests and a shorter walk would certainly be something to think about.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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