Pomeranians are high-energy dogs and can often have trouble catching their breath, especially when playing. This is because they have smaller lungs and airways than other breeds, which can make it difficult for them to take in enough oxygen. So, do Pomeranians have breathing problems?
Pomeranians do have breathing problems. The shortened muzzle of a Pomeranian can lead to a number of respiratory problems, including dyspnea, tachypnea, bradypnea due to stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, and tracheal hypoplasia. All of these conditions result in the obstruction of airflow and make it difficult for the dog to breathe properly.
Let’s take a closer look at the different breathing problems Pomeranians may have for different reasons.
6 Types of Pomeranian Breathing Problems
Pomeranians may have breathing problems due to their small size and narrow airways. They can be born with small airways, or their airways can become narrowed from conditions such as allergies, infections, or collapsing tracheas. And while some issues can be resolved with some over-the-counter cough medicine or a no-pull dog harness, others pose a more serious situation. Some of the most common breathing problems include:
1. Dyspnea (Labored Breathing)
Dyspnea is a medical term for difficult breathing characterized by flared nostrils and an open mouth while getting air into the lungs. Respiratory disorders, heart failure, blood clots, asthma, pneumonia, allergic reactions, etc. may cause difficulty in breathing.
Dyspnea is often accompanied by symptoms, such as
- Chest pain
- Short breath
- Abnormal belly and chest movement
- Lower head and neck while inspiring
2. Tachypnea (Fast Breathing)
Tachypnea is defined as a fast respiratory rate. The average respiratory rate for a Pomeranian at rest is 20-30 breaths per minute. A dog with tachypnea is breathing more than 30 times per minute.
Tachypnea can be caused by various conditions, including heart disease, lung disease, anemia (low red blood cells), and hypoxia (low blood oxygen levels). It can also be caused by pain, anxiety, or exercise.
Symptoms of tachypnea include:
- Panting (More than normal and its tongue hanging out of its mouth)
- Open mouth breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy breathing while sleeping
- Chest moving more than normal
3. Bradypnea (Slow Breathing)
Bradypnea is the opposite of tachypnea and is defined as a slow respiratory rate. A dog with bradypnea is breathing less than 20 times per minute.
Bradypnea can be a sign of a metabolism-related illness or another issue, such as sleep apnea, carbon monoxide poisoning, or drug overdose. Symptoms of bradypnea include shallow breathing and increased heart rate.
4. Stertorous Breathing
Stertorous breathing is a harsh, noisy form of breathing that is often described as snoring. It is caused by an obstruction of the airway, which can be due to obesity, allergies, and anatomical abnormalities.
5. Excessive Panting
Panting is a normal dog behavior that helps them regulate their body temperature. However, if your dog is panting excessively, it could be a sign of a medical condition, such as heat stroke, heart disease, or respiratory disorders. Panting can also be a sign of pain, anxiety, or exercise.
6. Hyperventilation (Rapid and Deep Breathing)
Hyperventilation or over breathing is a term used for deep and rapid breathing. When a dog is anxious or stressed, its heart rate and breathing rate increase which then causes the demand for more oxygenated blood to pump through the body.
It can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, heart failure, and blood disorders. It can also be caused by strenuous exercise or hot weather.
Why Small Dog Breeds Can Have Difficulty Breathing
Small breed dogs can have difficulty breathing for a variety of reasons. Some small breeds are born with small airways, while others may develop conditions that lead to difficulty breathing such as infections, collapsing tracheas, dental disease, and Obesity. Additionally, because of their small size, they may overheat more easily and be more prone to respiratory infections. Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons.
Toy breeds of dogs, such as Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc. being brachycephalic breeds are more likely to have breathing problems. They have shorter bones in their skull giving them a flat face and short snout. This causes their nostrils to be smaller, and their airway is narrower which can lead to difficulty in breathing.
Pomeranians may be born with anatomic abnormalities that cause obstruction of the airway. The most common anatomic abnormalities that cause breathing problems in Pomeranians are
- Stenotic nares (Closed or narrowed nasal passage)
- Elongated soft palate creating hindrance in air passage
- Everted laryngeal saccules
- Tracheal hypoplasia
Allergies are a common cause of breathing problems in Pomeranians. Allergies can cause the airways to become inflamed and narrowed which can also lead to reverse sneezing, breathing heavily while sleeping, and make it difficult for the dog to breathe in general. Allergies can be caused by a variety of things, including
- Environmental allergies
- Food allergies
- Contact allergies (carpet, clothes, blanket, etc.)
- Plant allergies
There are a variety of respiratory infections that can cause Pomeranian health issues, including
- Canine Distemper Virus: This virus not only affects the respiratory system, but also the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. This virus can spread very quickly among dogs kept in close quarters.
- Kennel Cough: Kennel cough is a highly contagious lung infection that is caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria like canine adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, Bordetella, Mycoplasma, etc.
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus: It is most commonly seen in young puppies and in severe cases causes respiratory problems.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is an inflammation of the lungs that gets worse over time and it’s irreversible. It can also be called chronic bronchitis. Even though there is no cure for COPD, early detection and treatments might help manage the disease which includes chest physiotherapy, antibiotics, and bronchodilators.
- Pneumonia: It is the inflammation of the lungs that can be caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria, fungi, aspirated food, fluids, or foreign bodies.
- Asthma: It is the chronic inflammation of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It is very rare in dogs but can be seen in some Pomeranians.
Colds and Flu
Much like humans, Pomeranians can also catch colds and flu from each other. The causative bacteria or virus can spread quickly among dogs kept in closed vicinity.
Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs that can be caused by a variety of things, including heart disease, high altitudes, and toxins.
Heart diseases are one of the most common causes of respiratory problems in dogs. Heart diseases can cause the heart to pump less efficiently, which leads to a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Some common types of heart diseases include
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Valvular diseases
- Congenital heart defects
Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia can cause difficulty in breathing as it reduces the amount of oxygen that is being carried to the tissues.
Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that causes the muscles of the larynx to become weak or paralyzed. This can cause difficulty in breathing as the dog is unable to move the air through the throat properly.
Collapsed trachea is a condition in which the trachea (windpipe) collapses or flattens when the dog breathes in. This can cause difficulty in breathing as well as a honking sound when the dog exhales. Collapsing tracheas are most common in a small dog breed, such as Pomeranians. A no-pull dog harness for dogs with collapsed trachea is very effective at alleviating these symptoms.
Tumors can grow anywhere in the body and can compress the airway, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Obesity is one of the most common health problems in dogs and can lead to a variety of other health problems, including respiratory problems. Obesity can make it difficult for the dog to breathe as it puts pressure on the chest and lungs.
Heatstroke is a condition that occurs when the dog’s body temperature becomes too high. This can be caused by exposure to hot weather, exercise, or being left in a car on a hot day. Heatstroke can cause difficulty in breathing as well as other symptoms like panting, drooling, and vomiting.
How Can a Pomeranian Owner Like You Help Your Dog Breathe Easier?
If your Pomeranian is struggling to breathe, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are a few things Pomeranian owners can do to help their dog breathe easier.
Remove Any Allergens from the Environment
If your Pomeranian is allergic to something in their environment, such as dust, pollen, or smoke, it is important to remove the allergen from their environment. This can be done by using air purifiers, vacuuming regularly, and avoiding smoking around your Pomeranian.
Keep Your Pomeranian at a Healthy Weight
Extra weight can put pressure on the chest and lungs, making it difficult for your Pomeranian to breathe. It is important to keep your Pomeranian at a healthy weight by feeding them a balanced diet and providing them with plenty of exercise.
Avoid Hot Weather
Hot weather can make it difficult for your Pomeranian to breathe. It is important to avoid hot weather by keeping your Pomeranian indoors during the hottest part of the day and making sure they have access to fresh, cool water.
Use a Humidifier
Dry air can make it difficult for your Pomeranian to breathe. Using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture to the air and make. it easier for your Pomeranian to breathe.
Keep Your Pomeranian Calm
Stress and anxiety can make it difficult for your Pomeranian to breathe. It is important to keep your Pomeranians calm by providing them with a quiet, comfortable place to rest and avoiding situations that may cause them stress.
To sum it all up, Pomeranians do have more difficulty catching their breath than other dogs. This is due to a variety of factors, including obesity, allergies, and collapsing trachea. While some breathing issues can be alleviated with throat soothers and no-pull dog harnesses, others may require a visit to the vet.
However, there are a number of things that can be done to help your Pom breathe easier, such as removing allergens from their environment, keeping them at a healthy weight, and avoiding hot weather. So if you think your Pom may be having difficulty breathing, be sure to take them to the vet as soon as possible.