Breathing difficulties are a sign of a strained respiratory system. Your Staffy’s health is dependent on the respiratory system’s ability to take in oxygen and deliver it to red blood cells and organs throughout your Staffy’s body.
Various factors cause breathing issues, and dogs of all ages, breeds, and sexes are susceptible, including the Staffy. However, specific breeds are more vulnerable to certain underlying causes of breathing difficulties.
Due to restricted nostrils, elongated soft palates, and lung tumours and tumours near the heart, short-faced dog breeds, such as the Staffy, are more likely to suffer congenital respiratory difficulties.
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Allowing your Staffy time to cool down and rest will help determine whether or not their rapid breathing or panting is a typical response to exertion or heat. Several symptoms indicate underlying severe health issues, including dyspnea (troubled breathing) and tachypnea (rapid breathing, panting, or coughing).
Are Staffies Brachycephalic Dogs?
Twenty-four dog breeds come under the brachycephalic categorisation, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of them. Brachycephalic dog breeds are not as capable of regulating their temperature as other dogs and have lower oxygen saturation blood levels.
Brachycephalic – “brachy”, meaning shortened, and cephalic is the head. Some dog breeds like the Staffy have longer noses than other brachycephalic dogs, such as the French Bulldog, so Staffies don’t feel the effects as harshly as other dogs.
As a brachycephalic dog owner, there are some signs and symptoms you should know and recognise.
- Breathing noises: Heavy snoring and snorting are common signs.
- Stenosis: Narrowing of the nostrils.
- Eating difficulties: Eating difficulties because of excessive soft tissue.
- Obstructive sleep apnea: Owners often see breathing difficulties during sleep.
- Heat tolerance: Brachycephalic dogs struggle with staying cool. They can quickly overheat.
- Cyanosis: Their oxygen levels can become severely depleted significantly during times of high excitement and exertion.
Why Is My Staffy Breathing Heavy?
Staffy hyperventilation is most likely due to excitement or physical exertion in these dogs. Fear, stress, or heat can also trigger heavy panting. Panting is a critical component of a Staffy’s thermoregulation system.
It’s vital to watch for excessive or rapid breathing, which can indicate heat exhaustion. It would be best if you kept a careful eye out for any signs.
You should look for signs of any abnormal breathing. Your Staffy may drool excessively and appear to be choking or in distress. They may also snort or make rasping noises, which can be pretty loud.
Staffies who pant or breathe hard even if they’re not hot and haven’t been exercising are another common indicator of irregular breathing. In dogs, excessive breathing should be a cause for concern, especially if their mouths are open wide (like a ‘smile’) or their nostrils are moving.
Staffies with breathing difficulties may lie down with their neck stretched out and elbows wide apart. Dogs with breathing difficulties might become agitated if you try to interact with them.
Check your Staffy’s tummy and chest to see if they’re moving more quickly or conspicuously than usual. In addition, look at your dog’s tongue and gums. If they look a different colour than expected, especially if they are blue, consult with your vet as soon as possible.
How to Help Your Staffy Breathe Better
If you notice your Staffy breathing heavy and want to try some simple home remedies, here are a few that might help:
- Avoid hot, humid places. Dogs don’t sweat like humans. Hot, humid weather causes respiratory problems. Open windows and doors or use air conditioning to cool down the room. In warmer weather, make sure you provide water and shade.
- If your Staffy’s breathing difficulties are due to old age, reduce their activity or slow them down.
- Try Benadryl for dogs if your Staffy has hay fever, bee stings, allergies, or a swollen nose.
- Try sterile nasal drops for your Staffy’s dry or congested nose (2 drops per nostril).