What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia in Dogs?

Rhonda Rivera

Some symptoms of pneumonia in dogs are rapid breathing, a bubbly cough that sounds like the lungs have fluid in them, and mucus coming from the nose. Other symptoms may be less obvious, such as running a fever, being depressed, and having a rapid pulse. The tongue and gums of the dog may begin to turn a blue or gray color due to the inadequate supply of oxygen from the dog’s fluid-filled and inflamed lungs. As with pneumonia in humans, pneumonia in dogs most often occurs when an animal is very young or very old, and it is potentially fatal. It is generally considered rare for a healthy dog to acquire this condition.

Dogs tend to enjoy walks, so if one is reluctant to go, pneumonia might be to blame.
Dogs tend to enjoy walks, so if one is reluctant to go, pneumonia might be to blame.

Early detection of pneumonia in dogs can lead to more effective treatment. The first sign of illness is sometimes a lack of energy or depression; for example, the dog might express little to no excitement about going for walks or playing its favorite game. Canine pneumonia may also cause a decrease in appetite, making the dog turn away regular meals or become disinterested in treats. A sudden change in activity level and appetite is an indicator of many types of illnesses, and, with no other symptoms to go on, it may be difficult for the layperson to determine that his or her dog has pneumonia. At this point, it is usually recommended to see a veterinarian who can better determine what is wrong with the dog and how to treat it.

A veterinarian should be consulted in suspected cases of pneumonia.
A veterinarian should be consulted in suspected cases of pneumonia.

Coughing is typically the most common and well-known symptom of illness, regardless of whether the affected is human or canine. When a dog has pneumonia, the cough is usually moist, which is a sign of fluid in the lungs. This is not to be confused with the cough of kennel cough, which is a dry, hacking cough that tends to sound like the dog has something stuck in its throat. Either illness, however, has the potential to become fatal if not treated.

Rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat or pulse, and blue-gray gums are other symptoms of pneumonia in dogs. In fact, all of these symptoms are caused by an insufficient amount of oxygen in the dog’s body. This is normally due to the inflammation of one or both lungs, along with the fluid that causes the moist cough. In an attempt to get more air, the dog might refuse to lay on its side or sit in any way that hinders airflow. At this point, the dog needs immediate medical attention to help fight off the pneumonia, or else it might die.

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Discussion Comments


My dog had a mild case of pneumonia last year. I knew something was wrong when she started sleeping excessively. She also had a very runny nose and looked miserable. She recovered quickly with IV antibiotics.


@donasmrs-- You will be able to tell them apart because pneumonia is much more serious than kennel cough. Kennel cough is due to a mild infection and it usually goes away on its own in about a week.

Sometimes kennel cough can develop into pneumonia but you will know when that happens because the dog will lose appetite, will be very sluggish and will not have any interest in playing. You can also hear wheezing type of sounds while the dog is breathing because the lungs are inflamed.


My dog has developed a cough since coming back from the vet. He was neutered and stayed at the vet for a few days. He developed the cough a few days after he got home. He coughs all the time and it literally sounds like a human coughing. I think it's a dry cough.

I'm thinking that it's kennel cough, but how do I tell apart kennel cough and pneumonia?

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