Pomeranian with Difficulty Breathing

Collapsing Trachea is Common, especially in Overweight Small Breeds

My 9-month-old Pomeranian puppy suffers from a breathing problem. It seems to be an asthma attack. What can I do about it?

Dr. Nichol:

Pomeranians, and other small breeds, can be prone to a variety of respiratory diseases. You are smart to get this problem managed early because it can become much worse if neglected. The first priority is finding the cause.


Asthma can be a problem in dogs, but your nine-month-old Pomeranian puppy has me more concerned about collapsing trachea. Many of these little guys and girls are born with weak cartilage rings in their windpipes causing them to flatten when the dog breaths. Other possible causes include a heart defect or irritants like cigarette smoke, dust, perfumes, and other aerosols. If your dog is overweight or obese, his coughing, choking, and struggling to breathe will be more pronounced. Dental disease can also be a factor because it can seed the airways and lungs with bacteria. Pneumonia makes everything worse.


To really help this little dog your veterinarian needs to do an exam, a blood count, and take chest x-rays. Mucous samples from his windpipe may also be important. Weight loss, eliminating air pollutants, giving oral medications and, in some cases, inhalers could make life a whole lot better for this young man. Breathing is important. Do whatever it takes.