Shitzu Breathing Problems

My Shih tzu is about 11 years old and for the past year and a half she has been having these little breathing attacks that scare me it is like she can't get enough air! Does anyone know what this could be? and if there is anything that I can do to either help her or stop it from happening?

By Julie from West Valley, NV

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November 1, 20100 found this helpful

Is your dog overweight? If so, that causes breathing problems and she need to go on a diet and the breathing problems will go away. If this is not the case then you need to take her to the Vet. It could be something serious. Better to have it checked out.

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November 1, 20100 found this helpful

My 10 yr old Shih Tzu Darby has the same occasional wheezing, gasping, abnormal breathing noises. Vet said most smushed nosed dogs do this. I just baby him till it's over, about 30 seconds to a minute.

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful


Plese take her to your Veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

This sounds a little like "reverse sneezing." It is fairly common. However, I would have a Vet check her out to rule out other possibilities, especially given her age.

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

It's good to know that other shih tzu owners have this same breathing episode with their shih tzus. My baby girl is going on 6 and has been doing this more frequently recently. We live in Texas and there are a lot of allergies here. I just rub her back and wait for it to go away, but it does scare me.

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February 10, 20110 found this helpful

We have a Shitzu and we're pretty sure that what most of these comments are referring to is a snoring-type noise, and we're 99% sure it's caused by Heartburn. i.e. an acid bubble coming up from the dog's stomach, and popping in their nose. Squeeze the nose lightly, and get the dog to drink some water if possible, to clear the acid. Then, give a little chunk of an antacid tablet. That works. But, what we're concerned about, is different. Like having a stuffed-up nose,+difficult night-breathing, and we'd like to know if anyone has experience with a Shitzu that has had laser or other correction for that.

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February 10, 20110 found this helpful

I have learned that when either one of my dogs has this problem, I just pick them up and blow in their nose and they stop right away. I think I read that on this site and it seems to do the trick.

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April 22, 20120 found this helpful

Posted from email:

My shitzu mollie is 6 years old this coming November, she snores really bad and also has acid her breath smells of sick sometimes when she hasn't been sick and I am convinced that she has an acid problem.

She sleeps on the bed and every morning at 4 o'clock without fail she starts grunting and making noises this is besides snoring most of the night, which annoys my husband as he cant sleep and has to get up for work. My dog is very clingy and doesn't like to be on her own so we always let her sleep on the bed I am wondering if she had a operation this may help her as it must be very uncomfortable for her.

angela h.

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April 14, 20130 found this helpful

My 10 year old Shih Tzu also has breathing problems, but she is constantly sniffing around the floor. I think she gets dust in her nose as I have to clear her nose once in a while.

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June 26, 20140 found this helpful

I just rescued a 4-5 year old Shih Tzu male about a week ago. Poor thing has had 3 "breathing" attacks...2 of which were today. His body was totally stiff while he gasped for air. I did try to blow air into his nose but that didn't work. I picked him up and rubbed his belly and under his chin-that didn't work either-started to place him in the car to take to vet and it stopped. Now he's resting. It's pretty scarry. He loves being outside. We're in Oklahoma and it's summertime. May be allergies but will check with the vet on this. I took him for a physical once I brought him home and the vet said he's in real good health. That was a week ago.

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September 15, 20150 found this helpful

It's called reverse sneezing , my Shitzu had the same problem last week , she had a bit of a cold and started doing the snorting , also if she got too excited , it lasted about a week , I took her to the vets they gave her a steroid injection but she had got better on her own really . I read up on it and it's mainly the short nosed dogs that have this problem . If you go on U Tube you can see other dogs with the same problem . Hope your dog is better soon 

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October 29, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I know a lot of you ThriftyFunFans have Shih tzus. We have two. One of ours makes this funny noise like he can't breath from time to time. We just try to get him to calm down and it eventually goes away. Does anybody know why they do that? I've heard several theories from allergies, heart problems, etc.


Peggygv from San Antonio, TX


Shitzu Breathing Problems

I have two Shih tzu also and both of mine have issues. My female snores really bad and then sometimes sounds like she is snorting; that does not concern me so much; however my male goes into an all out fit with his choking, coughing, and doing this thing that sounds like he can't get any air into his lungs.

I usually pick him up and calm him down and this helps some. Sometimes I take a medicine dropper and get water into his throat, that seems to help some; and then sometimes I feed him some Vaseline off the tip of my finger and that will sort of lubricate his throat. One thing for sure is when this happens to either one of them they want to be very close to me. I often wonder what happens when I am at work and they have one of these fits. I can only pray that does not happen.
If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. (06/25/2010)

By rjhshop

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June 22, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I know a lot of you ThriftyFunFans have Shitzu's. We have two. One of ours makes this funny noise like he can't breath from time to time. We just try to get him to calm down and it eventually goes away. Does anybody know why they do that? I've heard several theories from allergies, heart problems, etc.

Peggygv from San Antonio, TX


Shitzu Breathing Problems

My vet said it's because they have such a short nasal passage, pug nose. Mine tends to choke sometimes so I pat his chest and it seems to help.
Also, they seem to have more allergies than most breeds, too. Mine gets a foot fungus in the summer.
They are precious though, mine will be 18 soon (04/20/2006)


Shitzu Breathing Problems

My Shih Tzu also has this problem. My daughter said it is a reverse sneeze and a friend called it "herfing". I know this is scary, but it seems to pass with patting her on the back. My Gwendolyn is about 12 years old and her brother, Galileo, is well over 15 now. Both are precious. (04/20/2006)

By Marilyn

Shitzu Breathing Problems

We just took our Shih tzu to the vet. He said it could be 3 things, reversed sneezing, nose mites, or allergies. We are in the process of eliminating these to figure out what is going on. I will keep you updated. (05/11/2006)

By Donna

Shitzu Breathing Problems

We too have two Shitzu's a male and a female brother and sister.
They have this extreme problem you have just described.
It's horrible listening to either of them when they really get going.
The breathing really sounds as if the trachea is collapsing and she can't catch her breath unless we calm her down.
The male does not do it quite as often, but he's just as bad when he gets going.

It only seems to happen when they are either just falling asleep or are already asleep and suddenly awake and they can't catch their breath.
I really don't have an answer, but I am looking for
one too!
The last time she had an attack was just 1/2 hr ago and I usually kind of massage her throat and talk to her and try and calm her down which usually works eventually.
This time by accident I grabbed her lower jaw and slightly opened it trying to open her airway and this had a very positive quick response, so next time I will try this again. I think from reading how many shitzu's have this problem it seems that the trachea collapses and if you open the airway it helps.

By Frank

Shitzu Breathing Problems

Have you had the dogs nostrils checked? Sometimes they are not as open as wide as they should be, which is why air cannot pass through the nostril as well as when the dog is not excited. Simple surgery will correct the problem, but it is not always needed. It is like having a stuffed nose, and not being able to breath correctly. Many dogs have this problem, but often it is not a major problem. (03/30/2007)

By Bell

Shitzu Breathing Problems

We have also had breathing problems with our 11 year old Shitzu. Our vet has used the term reverse sneezing or reverse hiccups. Rubbing the throat with head up helps. It seems to be worse during allergy season (summer). His recent bout led to antibiotics and prednisone to calm his spasms. (07/29/2007)

By Cola

Shitzu Breathing Problems

My vet also said it was reverse sneezing. It was scary when my dog did it the first time. One thing I found to work is to use your fingers and plug it's nose. It makes my dog breath through her mouth and it stops it immediately and she goes on about her way as though nothing has happened. (11/09/2007)

By guest

Shitzu Breathing Problems

My mom just bought a Shitzu yesterday and took to the veterinarian today and he said that many of these dogs have nostrils that are too small. He said that as the dog gets bigger its nostrils will, but many have to have a laser surgery to correct the problem. However this will not happen until it is around six months old. The laser surgery is not suppose to be a big deal and isn't very expensive.

By Cindy

Shitzu Breathing Problems

Our vet told us the most un-evasive method to help our dog with the reverse sneezing is to blow into their nose when they do it and after until they are back to normal.

This forces them to actually focus on their breathing.

By Mike

Shitzu Breathing Problems

I have a 4yr old Shih Tzu. He sometimes starts making an awful snorting noise. My vet is also a Shih Tzu owner. He describes the condition as "reverse sneezing." He suggested cupping my hand over the dog's nose. This will cause him to swallow and this somehow stops the distress. It works for our dog and it works for his. I hope it works for yours! That sound scared the poop out of us the first time it happened. (11/21/2008)

By Jay

Shitzu Breathing Problems

I also have a Shih-Tzu that did the reverse sneeze. My vet said it's nothing to worry about and to just rub her neck to calm her down. She did this at least once a day when she was a puppy. She will be 2 next month and has not had an episode for almost a year. I don't know if she out grew it or because we moved and whatever was bothering her is now gone. It might be allergies. I moved from a carpeted apartment to a house with wood floors. Even my allergies have gotten better! (01/24/2009)

By RikiLynn

RE: Shitzu Breathing Problems

Shitzu Breathing Problems

I suggest that everyone that has a dog research that breed and see the things associated with the breed. I did about a half year research on my Shih-Tzu and investigated the breeders to find one that had purebreds and mine has a 200 dog history of only Shih-Tzu. I asked many questions to find out what I was getting into beforehand knowing that was the fair thing to do for my dog.

I found that when you buy them they should be checked for something that is similar to the bulldog. Soft pallet issues. If there is a soft pallet problem it may need surgery to prevent that flap of skin from blocking the wind pipe. I would suggest that anyone with a Shih-Tzu have a reputable vet check the puppy when it is young to rule that out and not rely on postings about people's other dogs, that is not your dog.

It is a suggestion, but to make sure I would check that first. Once you know that is not the problem then ask your vet what the other possibilities are. I treat my animals as I would my kids and I would not guess or rely on my friend for anything that had to do with their breathing unless I knew for sure she/he was an expert or very, very experienced. That is my suggestion and opinion and you know what they say about them. (02/06/2009)

By another shih-tzu owner

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Pets Dogs Dog Breeds Shih TzuOctober 29, 2010
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