Is a Humidifier Good for Dogs Suffering from a Collapsed Trachea?

If your beloved dog is coughing a lot and having difficulty breathing, it could be because of a collapsed trachea. If your vet has diagnosed this condition, it’s important to search for ways to aid your dog’s breathing and better its condition.

What Is a Canine Collapsed Trachea and Why Is It Dangerous?

More commonly known as a windpipe, the trachea is an important part of the respiratory anatomy. It is the connecting tube that allows the air to pass into the lungs from the nose or mouth.

It’s composed of cartilage rings. If rings weaken, they are susceptible to collapse. When this happens, the airway narrows and breathing becomes difficult.

Canine Collapsed Trachea

What Causes a Trachea to Collapse in Dogs?

Many times, trachea conditions are congenital. If a pooch is born with naturally weakened cartilage in the trachea, it will be susceptible to trachea collapse. Some breeds are at risk for this condition including:

      • Chihuahuas
      • Pomeranians
      • Toy Poodles
      • Yorkshire Terriers

Tracheal collapse is a progressive condition and will worsen with time. Generally speaking, symptoms appear at 6 to 7 years of age.

Diseases also place canines at risk for a collapsed trachea such as:

      • Cushing’s Disease
      • Obesity
      • Heart Disease
      • Respiratory diseases that become chronic
      • Repeated exposure to smoke from cigarettes, pipes, or cigars

What Are the Symptoms of Canine Collapsed Trachea?

The most characteristic symptom is a chronic cough. The cough generally will worsen after drinking, eating, excitement, or exercise.

Other symptoms include:

      • Difficulty breathing
      • Rapid breathing
      • Abnormal sounds when breathing
      • Bluish gums
      • Fainting
      • Lethargy or low energy

Dust and smoke exposure as well as obesity can cause symptoms to worsen.

Does a Collapsed Trachea in a Canine Make a Specific Sound?

The cough of a collapsed trachea has a distinct sound, The characteristic cough is dry, and has been described as resembling the sound of a goose honking.

How Is a Diagnosis of a Canine Collapsed Trachea Made?

The characteristic cough is the biggest indication, but your veterinarian will run specific tests to confirm the diagnosis such as:

      • Bronchoscopy 
      • Fluoroscopy
      • X-rays of the chest

Are Humidifiers Safe for Canines?

Yes, they are safe for your dog and will not cause harm. They are quite beneficial and support general health.

Is a Humidifier Good for Dogs Suffering from a Collapsed Trachea?

One of the principal symptoms of a collapsed trachea is excessive coughing, followed by breathing difficulties.

One of the potential benefits of using a humidifier for a dog with a collapsed trachea is the machine’s production of moisture which may help open breathing passages to ease both breathing and diminish somewhat the persistent cough.

Is a Humidifier Good for Dogs Suffering from a Collapsed Trachea

Do Humidifiers Filter Air for Dogs?

Generally, humidifiers come with filtering systems. If you get a humidifier with a quality filtering system, it will remove pollutants, like dust, pollens, allergens, and others, therefore cleaning the air in your dog’s space.

Will a Humidifier Help with the Cough?

Humidifiers can ease cough symptoms because they will open air passages thanks to improved moisture making it easier to breathe.

What’s the Best Humidity Level for Dogs Suffering from a Collapsed Trachea?

If you have acquired a humidifier specifically to ease your dog’s trachea condition, then environmental humidity levels should neither be high nor low.

If your canine has a severe cough, a collapsed trachea, or both, a good humidity level will range between 50% and 60%.

What Features Should a Humidifier Have When Used for a Dog with a Collapsed Trachea?

Humidifiers come in basically two types: 

      • humidifier with warm mist
      • humidifier with a cool mist. 

Warm mist humidifiers create steam and disperse it into the air. A heating element contained inside the machine boils water to produce steam. A cool-mist humidifier can either be ultrasonic or evaporative.

The ultrasonic humidifier uses vibrations at a high frequency to disperse moisture into the air whereas an evaporative humidifier uses a fan to evaporate moisture into the air.

It is generally recommended that dogs with collapsed tracheas use cool-mist humidifiers because boiling water humidifiers are potentially more dangerous in the event of the humidifier being knocked over.

While the marketplace offers a wide variety of humidifiers for purchase, if you are buying a humidifier specifically for your dog’s collapsed trachea, it should have some features crucial to your pup’s needs.  These include:

1.) Size of the water tank

If you need the humidifier to run for extended periods like overnight, the size of the machine’s water reservoir becomes vital in your choice.

How much water can it hold? Will you need to refill it often? Will you be able to sleep all night long before refilling it? Will it run while you are at work without a refill? Consider the water reservoir size and what your needs are before selecting.

2.) Mist Production

The amount of mist produced is fundamental when selecting your humidifier. Defining factors will include how large the room or space is and how arid the environmental air is.

Based on these two factors, select a humidifier that is powerful enough to adequately meet your dog’s health needs.

3.) Adjustable Levels for Mist Control

The best room humidity levels for dogs with collapsed tracheas should measure between 50% and 60% to aid your dog’s health condition. When selecting a room humidifier, choose a machine that allows you to adjust the mist production levels.

4.) A Silence Mode Option

Humidifiers make noise. Some are noisier than others. If your pooch isn’t feeling well, noise may add to its discomfort. A humidifier with a sleep mode or a silence mode option will reduce the machine’s noise production.

5.) Timer

Some humidifiers now feature a timer, so that you are able to program humidification even if you have to run out to do an errand.

6.) Automatic Shut Off Mechanism

This is a great feature to have because machines that are equipped with this will automatically shut off if the machine runs out of water. This will prevent the machine from being damaged in the event no one is present to refill it.

7.) Water Types

Consider if the humidifier uses tap water or if it requires the use of distilled water, adding to the cost and influencing convenience if you must buy specific water.

8.) Refilling and Cleaning Modes

Humidifiers that are top fillers are very convenient to use and much faster when it’s time to refill them. Look for a machine that does not require any disassembly to fill the water reservoir.

9.) Maintenance Requirements

Many humidifiers have filters. The filtering system will remove harmful particles or contaminants from the air. These machines will need frequent filter changes, so your operating costs will increase. Some humidifiers are filter-free and need less maintenance while reducing operating costs.

Can I Do Something Else for My Dog with this Condition?

Along with the acquisition of a humidifier to aid a pooch with a collapsed trachea, there are a few more things to keep in mind to help your dog with its health issues.

Program regular visits with your veterinarian to keep your dog’s trachea condition under control.

Ask your vet about a canine cough medicine to aid in reducing cough.

Avoid using a collar as it may further irritate the neck and throat area and acquire a harness for your dog.

A Final Thought

All things considered, a humidifier is an excellent option to consider if your dog has a collapsed trachea, and consequently experiences difficulty when breathing.

It’s important to have a veterinarian’s constant guidance and advice, to prevent the condition from worsening.

Undoubtedly, maintaining a constant level of humidity in your dog’s room or space will help your dog breathe more easily and help you breathe better, too, and it will keep the air you and your pup are breathing cleaner and freer of allergens and dust particles.

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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