Most dog owners don’t realize that their pets can develop pneumonia. There are different types of pneumonia, but all can lead to serious breathing issues and other complications for the dog if not treated. Not all pneumonia is infectious. Injuries and exposure to chemicals can also lead to pneumonia in dogs. Boarding facilities, pet daycares, pet hospitals, dog parks, and shelters are high-risk environments for infectious dog pneumonia. Pneumonia in dogs is preventable, but it is also treatable.


1. Why Pneumonia is a Serious Illness

Pneumonia is a progressive condition that can severely affect a dog’s breathing ability. Lung tissue contains alveoli, small clusters of air sacs. As the dog breathes in, air fills these sacs. Cells and small blood vessels in the lining of the alveoli exchange oxygen from the air with carbon dioxide, which the dog exhales. When bacteria, viruses, or fungal organisms invade the nostrils or trachea, they can cause an infection. This infection causes inflammation inside the air sacs in the lungs. In addition to the swelling, pus, and fluid take up additional space. This allows less room for air to fill the lungs and causes respiratory distress for the animal.

pneumonia breathing dog FatCamera / Getty Images


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