Is your furry friend suffering from a persistent cough and difficulty breathing? If so, they may be experiencing collapsing trachea, a condition that affects many dogs, especially small breeds. Understanding this mysterious condition is the first step towards providing relief for your beloved pet. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of collapsing trachea, exploring its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

From identifying the risk factors to learning how to alleviate your dog’s discomfort, we will equip you with the tools necessary to navigate this challenging condition. Whether you’re a concerned pet parent or a veterinary professional seeking to expand your expertise, join us as we unravel the mystery of collapsing trachea.

What is collapsing trachea in dogs?

Collapsing trachea, also known as tracheal collapse, is a condition where the trachea, or windpipe, becomes weakened and loses its rigid structure, causing it to flatten or collapse. The trachea plays a crucial role in transporting air to and from the lungs, allowing dogs to breathe properly. When the trachea collapses, it obstructs the airflow, making it difficult for dogs to breathe. This condition is most commonly seen in small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians, although it can also affect larger breeds.

The exact cause of tracheal collapse is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some dogs may be born with a predisposition to the condition, while others may develop it due to age-related degeneration or trauma. Additionally, certain factors such as obesity, respiratory infections, and exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke can contribute to the weakening of the tracheal cartilage.

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Diagnosing collapsing trachea in dogs can be challenging, as the symptoms can vary and mimic other respiratory conditions. However, by recognizing the common signs and seeking veterinary help, you can get a proper diagnosis and start the necessary treatment to improve your dog’s quality of life.

Symptoms and Causes of collapsing trachea

The symptoms of collapsing trachea can be subtle at first but gradually worsen over time. The most common signs include a persistent cough, especially during exercise or excitement, difficulty breathing, wheezing, gagging, and a honking sound when inhaling. These symptoms may be intermittent at first but usually become more frequent and severe as the condition progresses.

Understanding the causes of collapsing trachea can help in managing and preventing the condition. As mentioned earlier, small breed dogs are more prone to tracheal collapse due to their naturally weaker cartilage. 

Tracheal Collapse in Pets Pawprint Oxygen

Diagnosing collapsing trachea in dogs


If you suspect that your dog may have collapsing trachea, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination, including listening to your dog’s breathing and checking for any abnormal sounds or vibrations. They may also recommend further diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, tracheoscopy, or fluoroscopy, to get a clearer view of the trachea and rule out other possible conditions.

Customer Review: Treating Collapsed Trachea with your Rescue Oxygen Kit

PureVent Pet Oxygen Mask

“My 14 year old Yorky poodle was diagnosed with a collapsing trachea. I bought the oxygen in case of emergency and familiarized myself with the kit once it arrived —could not be simpler. The same night, Hank was struggling to breathe, and I thought it was time to take him to the ER to be sent up, got out the oxygen, and he fully recovered within just a few minutes. He quite naturally placed his face right into the cone mask and once he had enough (4-5 minutes) he pawed the mask away. Thank you Pawprint!” 

Oxygen Rescue Kit for Dogs

Our Oxygen Kits for Dogs are an ideal solution for pet owners who want to be prepared for emergency situations, during transportation to a care facility or when administering oxygen to their dog at home for a health condition. This product is available for purchase without the need for a prescription from your veterinarian.

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Treatment options for collapsing trachea


The treatment options for collapsing trachea depend on the severity of the condition and the individual needs of your dog. In mild cases, management and lifestyle changes may be sufficient to alleviate the symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life. However, in more severe cases, medication or surgical intervention may be necessary.

Lifestyle changes can include:

  • weight management to reduce stress on the trachea
  • avoiding exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke
  • using a harness instead of a collar to prevent pressure on the trachea
  • providing a calm and stress-free environment for your dog

These changes, combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition.

Medications for collapsing trachea in dogs


Various medications can be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of collapsing trachea in dogs. Cough suppressants, bronchodilators, and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce coughing, open up the airways, and decrease inflammation.

Supplemental Oxygen is becoming a standard within the industry for this condition. Pet owners can administer Oxygen to their pet while they’re having a respiratory distress episode, immensely improving their chances of the collapse worsening, causing them to be admitted to a hospital. Additionally, your vet may recommend using a humidifier or nebulizer to help moisten the air and ease breathing. Now a days, Oxygen Cages (that come with Nebulizers) can be an effective way of long-term treatment of the condition.

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It is essential to follow your vet’s instructions carefully when administering medications to your dog. They will provide you with the correct dosage and frequency, as well as any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

Getting your pet to Emergency Care: Using Pawprint’s Portable Oxygen Kits For Pets

If you are looking for a oxygen system for pets that’s designed to be mobile and transport friendly, take a look at our line of portable pet oxygen kits. Our portable pet oxygen is made specifically for getting your pet safely to an emergency care facility, in case of acute respiratory distress (ie. collapsed trachea) or to carry with you or store at home for emergency situations (ie. house fires, emergency care).

Long and Short Term Care

Our bundled Oxygen options cover your pet if they’re in need of daily/weekly care as well as emergency mobile or transport Oxygen

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