curly-coated retriever breathing problems

When Every Breath Matters: Understanding Curly-Coated Retriever Breathing Problems

Have you ever noticed that your curly-coated retriever breathing problems? Unfortunately, it turns out that they can also be prone to breathing problems due to their unique anatomy. I felt lost and confused when my pup was diagnosed with a breathing disorder. I researched and talked to a vet to better understand the causes and treatments for curly-coated retriever breathing problems. Fortunately, some steps can help your pup breathe more easily and lead the best life possible.

That’s why I want to share what I learned about curly-coated retriever breathing problems so that you don’t have to go through what I did. So read on as I discussed curly-coated retriever breathing problems and how to treat them.

Identifying the Symptoms of Curly-Coated Retriever Breathing Problems

curly-coated retriever breathing problems

Before looking into the cause of curly coated retriever breathing problems, we need to understand the signs and symptoms of this condition. Below are some of the key signs that you should look out for:

1: Wheezing

When your dog inhales or exhales, it produces a high-pitched whistling sound called wheezing. It’s often a sign of an airway obstruction or an underlying respiratory illness. If you notice your curly-coated retriever wheezing, you must take them to the vet immediately for a proper diagnosis.

2: Coughing

Coughing is a common symptom of respiratory problems in dogs. Your curly-coated retriever may have a persistent cough that sounds dry or hacking. If the cough is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or lethargy, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

3: Shortness of Breath

If your black curly retriever is having trouble breathing or seems to be breathing faster than usual, it could be a sign of shortness of breath. This is often caused by an obstruction in the airways or a respiratory infection. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications, so getting your dog to the vet as soon as possible is essential.

4: Labored Breathing

Labored breathing is characterized by heavy and rapid breathing. Your curly-coated retriever may struggle to catch its breath, and its chest may move unusually. It is often a sign of a severe respiratory illness or heart problem, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

5: Rapid Breathing

Rapid breathing is when your curly-coated retriever dogs breathes faster than usual. It’s often a sign of pain, discomfort, or stress. If your dog is experiencing rapid breathing, it’s important to identify and treat the underlying health issues as soon as possible.

6: Noisy Breathing

This is usually accompanied by wheezing, congestion, and snorting. This sound is made because the dog’s airway is obstructed, and they struggle to breathe. You may also notice that your dog struggles to catch their breath during exercise and has a persistent cough or wheezing.

7: Snoring During Sleep

Snoring is usually caused by the narrowing of the air passageways, which causes the throat to vibrate excessively. It often leads to labored breathing and an overall sense of discomfort during sleep.

8: Gagging or Choking

The curly-coated retriever puppy may also experience difficulties with choking or gagging. This can be a sign of an obstruction in their airway, usually caused by an inflamed or swollen throat, which can make it difficult for them to swallow. Your dog may start clawing their neck or gulping excessively when this happens.

9: Frequent Panting

If your curly coated retriever is panting more often than usual, this could indicate breathing problems. Curly-coated retrievers pant to regulate their body heat, but excessive panting can be dangerous, leading to heatstroke or other respiratory problems.

10: Nasal Congestion

Curly coated retrievers may develop nasal congestion if they have an allergy or infection that causes inflammation in the nasal passage. You may notice that your dog has difficulty breathing through their nose and is constantly sniffing or breathing heavily through their mouth.

As a pet owner, you must be vigilant and monitor your dog’s behavior to detect any signs of respiratory problems.

Common Causes of Breathing Problems in Curly-Coated Retrievers

curly-coated retriever breathing problems

Now that we understand the key symptoms of curly-coated retriever breathing problems let’s take a look at what could be causing them. Here are some of the most common causes:

đź“ŚBrachycephalic Airway Syndrome

This is a common condition in brachycephalic dogs, including curly-coated retrievers. It’s caused by a combination of physical abnormalities in the dog’s respiratory system, including a narrow nostril, elongated soft palate, and narrow trachea. Symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome include loud breathing, snoring, coughing, and exercise intolerance. It may require surgery in severe cases to correct the physical abnormalities and improve the dog’s breathing.


Curly-coated retrievers can be allergic to various things, including pollen, dust, mold, and dog food. Allergies can cause inflammation in the airways, making breathing difficult for your furry friend. Symptoms of allergies in dogs include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin, and ear infections. Treatment for allergies typically involves identifying the allergen, avoiding exposure, and taking medication to control symptoms.

đź“ŚRespiratory Infections

Curly-coated retrievers are also susceptible to respiratory infections like kennel cough and pneumonia. These infections can cause inflammation and irritation in the respiratory tract, leading to coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Treatment for respiratory infections typically involves antibiotics and supportive care, such as rest and hydration.


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects many curly-coated retrievers. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and labored breathing. In some cases, asthma can be triggered by allergies or environmental factors such as dust, mold, or pollen. Unfortunately, asthma is not cured, but medication and environmental management can help control symptoms. If your dog is diagnosed with asthma, your vet may prescribe bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and other medications designed to reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

đź“ŚPulmonary Edema

Pulmonary edema is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, making breathing difficult for your dog. Several factors, including heart disease, lung disease, and toxin exposure, can cause this. Symptoms of pulmonary edema include coughing, wheezing, labored breathing, and an increased heart rate. Treatment for pulmonary edema typically involves addressing the underlying cause, oxygen therapy and diuretics to remove excess fluid from the lungs. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

đź“ŚHeart Disease

Heart disease is a common cause of breathing problems in curly-coated retrievers. Conditions such as congestive heart failure, valve disease, and arrhythmias can all affect your pet’s cardiovascular system, leading to labored breathing, coughing, and fatigue. Treatment for heart disease typically involves medication, dietary changes, and sometimes surgery. Working closely with your veterinarian is crucial to develop a treatment plan that addresses your pet’s specific needs.


Obstruction in the dog’s airway can limit breathing and cause coughing or wheezing. Foreign objects or growths can cause obstruction in the airway or trauma that causes the airway to collapse. If you notice your dog has difficulty breathing, seek veterinary care immediately, as prompt treatment is crucial in preventing long-term damage.

đź“ŚTracheal Collapse

As the name suggests, tracheal collapse occurs when the trachea, or windpipe, collapses in on itself. This causes a chronic cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and exercise intolerance. If left untreated, tracheal collapse can lead to respiratory failure. Although there is no cure for tracheal collapse, treatment options include medication, oxygen therapy, and surgery in severe cases.


Obesity is particularly problematic in curly-coated retrievers due to their already predisposed breathing issues. As excess weight puts pressure on the chest and diaphragm, it can make it harder for them to breathe. Moreover, obesity can cause other health problems as well and become a hindrance to a dog’s general health.

đź“ŚExercise Induced Collapse

While curly-coated retrievers are known for their stamina, they are also prone to exercise-induced collapse, which causes weakness, overheating, and difficulty breathing after vigorous exercise or play. Various factors, such as genetics, a lack of conditioning, or heat stroke, can cause exercise-induced collapse. To prevent this, ensure your dog gets proper exercise and consult your veterinarian if you notice any signs of distress during or after playtime.

By staying vigilant for signs of respiratory distress, seeking prompt veterinary care, and making lifestyle changes such as managing their weight and avoiding excessive exercise, you can help keep your furry friend breathing easy and enjoying a full and happy life with you for many years.

Tips for Caring for a Sick or Injured Curly-Coated Retriever

So if diagnosed with any of the above-mentioned respiratory issues, here are a few tips to take care of your furry friend:

1: Get to Know Your Pup’s Normal Behavior

Begin by familiarizing yourself with your dog’s usual behavior patterns. Take note of their appetite, energy level, and overall demeanor. This will help you recognize when something isn’t quite right. For example, when my dog was feeling unwell, it was very lethargic, refused food and water, and frequently vomited. Since I was familiar with its behavior, I knew to take it to the vet immediately.

2: Communicate with Your Vet

If you suspect something is wrong with your pup, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Be sure to communicate any changes in behavior or symptoms you’ve noticed and any underlying health conditions. While at the vet, ask any questions about treatment options, medication, or dietary changes.

3: Keep Your Pup Comfortable

If your pup is sick or injured, keeping them comfortable and cozy is important. Ensure they have access to a quiet space to rest without disruption and provide plenty of cozy blankets or bedding. For instance, when my curly-coated retriever was under the weather, I set up an area in my room with soft blankets, pillows, and toys. My pup loved being close to me and feeling cozy.

4: Provide Nutritious Food and Snacks

Making sure your pup has the proper nutrition is essential for their recovery. If your pup has digestive issues, try serving small meals throughout the day instead of one big meal, and stick to softer, easily digestible food. Treats can also be beneficial when your pup is feeling under the weather. For example, I gave my dog some baby food because it was easy for her to digest, and she loved it.

5: Give Plenty of Love and Attention

When your pup is feeling unwell, it’s essential to shower them with plenty of love and attention. Spend time sitting with your pup, petting them, and offering comfort. This kind of love and reassurance can go a long way in helping your pup feel better. When my dog was under the weather, I stayed close by, rubbed her belly, and talked to her reassuringly. It helped her to feel calmer, and it helped me feel like I was doing everything I could to help her feel better.

These are just a few tips to help your pup in their need. By staying alert for signs of illness or injury, communicating with your vet, and providing lots of love and comfort, you can help your furry friend get back on the road to recovery.

FAQS About Curly-Coated Retriever Breathing Problems

Q: Are curly-coated Retrievers more prone to breathing issues than other breeds?

Curly coated Retrievers are more prone to breathing issues than other breeds. These problems are mainly due to their larynx being shaped differently from other breeds, causing airway constriction. This means that whenever your curly-coated Retriever is exerting him or herself, there is a risk that their airways will narrow, leading to breathing difficulties. Brachycephalic dog breeds are also prone to breathing problems because of their short snouts and another airway-related anatomy, but for different reasons.

Q: What should I do if my curly-coated Retriever has a breathing emergency?

If your curly-coated Retriever is having difficulty breathing or is in respiratory distress, seek veterinary attention immediately. A breathing emergency in dogs is a severe, life-threatening condition you cannot treat at home. Avoid over-exertion, extreme temperatures, and stress, as these trigger attacks in dogs with existing respiratory problems. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water, and avoid smoking or using any tobacco products around your dog, as this can worsen their condition.

Q: Can breathing problems in curly-coated Retrievers be managed with lifestyle changes or medications?

Yes, you can manage breathing problems in curly-coated Retrievers with lifestyle changes and medications. If your dog experiences mild to moderate respiratory issues, weight loss, a low-fat diet, and moderate exercise may help alleviate their symptoms. Some anti-inflammatory medications and bronchodilators can improve respiratory function in dogs with more severe breathing problems. Consult your veterinarian before trying any medication or supplement on your dog.

Q: What are the long-term effects of breathing issues on curly-coated Retrievers?

Untreated, chronic breathing problems can lead to secondary health problems such as heart disease, pneumonia, and exercise intolerance. Dogs with untreated chronic respiratory disease can face a decreased quality of life, reduced stamina, and may even have shortened life span. Prevent long-term issues by controlling your dog’s respiratory issues and following through with regular consultations with a veterinarian.

Q: Are there any alternative therapies or home remedies that can help alleviate breathing problems in curly-coated Retrievers?

While there may be no proven home remedies for breathing issues in dogs, you can still do some things to ease their discomfort. The first step is to consult with a vet who will be able to diagnose the problem. Depending on the cause of your dog’s breathing problems, supplements such as Omega-3s or glucosamine may be recommended. Additionally, you can practice various breathing exercises with your furry friend that may assist them in calming down, such as slow, deep breathing sessions. Lastly, regularly cleaning your dog’s environment, washing their bedding, and using an air purifier can help remove irritants that cause respiratory issues.

Q: Can breathing problems in curly-coated Retrievers be hereditary?

Unfortunately, yes. Curly-coated Retrievers are susceptible to some genetic conditions that can impact their breathing, such as brachycephalic airway syndrome, laryngeal paralysis, or tracheal collapse. It is important to tell your curly coated retriever breeders about the breathing issues in your Retriever to adequately inform breeding practices and lower the likelihood of passing these conditions to future generations.

Q: How can I ensure the overall well-being and quality of life of my curly-coated Retriever with breathing problems?

As a pet owner, there are several things you can do to improve your dog’s quality of life, regardless of their breathing problems. Keep them healthy with high-quality proteins, fibers, and low-fat content. Ensure their environment is kept as clean and free of harmful chemicals and pollutants as possible. Help them exercise regularly – although gently – to stay strong and have a good muscle tone. And lastly, dogs with respiratory problems need to stay out of extreme temperatures, so managing your dog’s exposure to heat and cold is essential.

Final Words

After learning about the breathing problems that can affect curly-coated retrievers, it’s important to stay educated and prepared. It’s heartbreaking to see our furry friends struggling to breathe, so as an owner myself, I want to be proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure their well-being. Being aware of their symptoms and consulting a veterinarian for diagnosis is essential. With the right lifestyle changes, medications, and supplements, you can help your dog live a comfortable life, no matter their breathing issues. Take care of your pup, and always remember to love them unconditionally!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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