Tracheal collapse in dogs? Help your pup today.

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Have you ever heard about collapsing trachea in dogs? 

Although the tracheal collapse can develop in any breed of a dog, most commonly, this chronic respiratory condition affects aging small breeds. If you happen to be the owner of such a little one, pay attention to the following paragraphs.  

Tracheal collapse: What is it, who's endangered, common signs and prevention

To understand the severity of the condition, let's take a closer look at the trachea itself. Trachea, commonly known as windpipe, is a tube inside your dog's throat made up of numerous c-shaped rings of cartilage. These cartilages help to keep the trachea open for proper breathing, getting the air in and out of the lungs. [source petsWebMD]

Tracheal collapse occurs when the rings of cartilage start to fall into the airway, making the breathing more complicated. 

Common signs of tracheal collapse according to petsWebMD include: 

  • Dry hard cough
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Complications related to coughing, like vomiting, gagging or retching
  • Cyanotic episodes, bluish mucous membranes - the gums are turning blue

When to expect a tracheal collapse in your dog and can it even be expected?

Life would be so much easier if we can prepare for certain situations to happen in advance. Unfortunately, that is barely ever a case. However, being aware of what can be a cause of such a collapse and what triggers a collapsing episode, might be of a huge help. 

The tracheal collapse episode usually occurs when your dog is experiencing any kind of distress, something that throws them off of their usual state of peace. Whenever a dog feels a lot of excitement, like getting ready for a walk or quick walk itself. Weather changes such as extreme high or low temperatures can be triggering too. Sometimes even the most basic activity like drinking water can set off the collapse of the trachea.

There are various factors and predispositions your dog might have that can increase the chances of developing a severe collapsing trachea episodes. The experts from Pet Medical Center states following as the most common factors to worsen the tracheal collapse:

Congenital heart enlargement where, in some cases, the heart can get so big that it touches the trachea putting pressure on to the windpipe. 

Another factor worsening or triggering the tracheal collapse is being constantly exposed to the environment containing the increased amount of irritants that affect the respiratory system of the dog, such as dust or cigarette smoke. 

Also, an already ongoing respiratory problem of your dog may contribute to the collapse of the trachea as well. 

American Kennel Club indicates obesity as one of the factors worsening the condition of collapsing trachea too.   

My dog is having a collapsing trachea episode. What should I do now? 

There is no specific guide to follow on that matter. The episodes usually last a couple of minutes until they go away by themselves. Trust your dog to know what to do. Once your puppy is calm the trachea (or the windpipe) opens up allowing your dog to breathe regularly again. 

However this can be manageable in a said way only when it comes to mild tracheal collapses with a rare occurrence. If the condition of your puppy is more severe, is happening more often or keeps worsening, visit your local veterinarian to discuss the proper medicament treatment or in more serious cases, the surgical treatment. 

Are some dogs more prone to developing tracheal collapses than others? 

As mentioned before, tracheal collapse can affect any breed of a dog, however, the middle aged small breeds are the ones that are most in danger. 

Specific breeds commonly known for experiencing breathing issues, such as collapsing trachea are: 

  • Pomeranians
  • Pugs
  • Miniature or toy breeds varieties (e.g.poodles)
  • Yorkshire terriers
  • Chihuahuas


  • Shih tzus

[source petsWebMD]

Fluffy dog tongue out sitting on the grass in Puccissime one-click harness

How can I help my dog with a collapsing trachea? 

Eliminating the exposure to factors that worsen the tracheal collapse condition of your precious dog might be a good starting point. 

If possible, tend to avoid attending dusty and smoky places with your dog, as the air pollution is exacerbating the collapsing trachea condition.

If your dog is overweight, losing some pounds will help to ease off the breathing, allowing your pup to manage the collapsing episodes better. Take your dog for a slow walk a couple of times a day.

When it comes to walking your dog, one may encounter another issue with a negative effect on the collapsing trachea condition. Your dog's walking accessories, such as a collar or a harness. 

The question is - should you use a collar or a harness when walking your dog prone to tracheal collapse? 

The answer is, with any doubt or hesitation, the harness. Regular collars place too much pressure on your dog's neck, causing the rings of the trachea to collapse easier and more often. Unfortunately, there are still many harnesses on the market that are designed in a way that might cause as much trouble as using a collar for your walks. Especially, when your dog is a puller. Not mentioning the hassle you have to put your dog through when trying to put the sturdy harness onto them. 

The ideal choice seems to be the no pull and no choke harness.

Our unique Puccissimé One-Click harnesses, designed to ease off the pressure of the sensitive areas such as spine, neck and head of your dog while preventing unnecessary pulling. This way you can be sure your dog is comfortable in the harness, free from any tight fitting fabric around their neck. 

See how easy it is to put on Puccissimé one-click harness here.

Check out our wide selection of dog harnesses and other dog accessories in our latest Catalog 2022.

We know how important your dog is for you. Making sure their health is well and thriving is our utmost priority. That's why we developed no choke, no pull and no mat unique one-click harness. Keeping the dogs healthy and happy is the greatest feeling in the world. 

If the symptoms of collapsing trachea, despite wearing the harness and following safety precautions persist or keep worsening. We advise you to visit your veterinarian immediately. 

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