Dog Respiratory Condition Treatments

While dog asthma and feline chronic bronchitis are caused by different issues, they both trigger inflammation in the lungs. Inflamed airways cause narrowing, constriction, and blockage of the tubes which leads to the symptoms of breathing difficulty and the potential for respiratory attack. 

While these lifelong conditions cannot be cured, your dog can lead a normal playful life with proper medication and management.  

Dog with a lung illustration

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Living with asthma or bronchitis shouldn't mean a lifetime of side effects.

To help keep your cat playing, medication needs to be given regularly and for the rest of your cat’s life. Corticosteroids are routinely prescribed because they work to keep the inflammation down so your cat stays symptom free. Corticosteroids are available in inhaled and systemic (oral and injectable) forms.  

Inhaled forms of steroid are preferred for long-term management

Compare Inhaled and Systemic

Dog running

Inhalant Therapy offers:




Better Quality of Life


Fewer Side Effects


Easier than Pilling


Just Like Children


Types of Inhaled Medication

There are two main types of medication that are prescribed if a dog has been diagnosed with bronchitis: corticosteroids and/or bronchodilators. These are the same medications used to treat bronchitis in humans, but require different doses and administration in canines.ALWAYS consult and follow the instructions of your veterinarian before giving your animal any medication! Only use inhalers as prescribed by your veterinarian.

First Aid icon

Short Acting Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are medications used to expand the airways. They are commonly referred to as rescue medications because they are usually administered in the event of an asthma attack.

  • Opens airways by relaxing muscle constriction
  • Effects usually only last 4-6 hours
  • Does not treat underlying inflammation

NOTE: The effectiveness of bronchodilators in dogs is minimal and has not fully been studied

Drug Names

  • Albuterol
  • Salbutamol
  • Ventolin
  • ProAir
  • Proventil

Where to buy

Illustration of a vet holding a cat

Save a Visit to the Vet!

Inhaled short acting bronchodilators could help your pet regain control at home giving you more time to talk to your vet.

First Aid icon

Inhaled Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids (or glucocorticoids) are anti-inflammatory medications used to treat and manage the underlying causes of asthma and bronchitis symptoms.

  • Reduces airway inflammation and mucus production
  • Used for ongoing management of condition even in the absence of symptoms


Drug Names

  • Fluticasone
  • Flovent
  • Flixotide
  • Alvesco


Where to buy

Combination Inhalers

Often a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a special bronchodilator that acts over a longer period of time.

  • Reduces inflammation and helps prevent airway constriction
  • Used for disease management, not rescue


Drug Names

  • Advair
  • Seretide
  • Sirdupla
  • Sereflow
  • Fluticasone Cipla
  • Symbicort
  • Dulera


Where to buy


Inhaled vs Systemic Steroids

Illustration of a dog with dots representing systemic steroids through the body and another dog with a chamber with inhaled steroids in the lung

Inhaled Steroids

Inhaled steroids are delivered exactly where needed: your dog’s lungs

Check icon 25x lower concentrations of steroid needed

Check icon Safer

Check iconCan be used for long term disease control

Check iconEasier to administer – bonding moments can make it a positive experience

Check iconHelps keep pets able and willing to play with their families

Systemic Steroids

Systemic steroids like Prednisone and Dexamethasone enter the bloodstream and are sent all around the body

Alert icon Higher doses needed to ensure some of it makes it to the lungs

Alert icon Side effects can cause health and behavioral changes

Alert icon Only recommended for short term use after a severe asthma attack

Alert icon Difficult to administer – hard to bond with pills or needles

Alert icon Side effects can halt play and change the personality of your dog

Side Effects of Systemic Steroids

“The goal of oral steroid treatment is to find the lowest dose possible and use it for the shortest period of time.”
Icon of syringe and steroids
  • Lethargy/fatigue (no energy to play)
  • Change in behavior (such as aggression)
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Suppressed immune system function
  • Increased risk of bacterial, fungal, and urinary infections
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain / obesity
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Poor  wound healing
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Hair loss and skin or coat changes
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach Ulcers


These side effects may reduce your dog's quality of life and the family relationship.

Dogs who are lethargic or have a change in behavior may be unable or unwilling to play and may no longer seem like the pet you once knew.


Asthma and Bronchitis Treatment PathALWAYS consult and follow the instructions of your veterinarian before giving your animal any medication! Only use inhalers as prescribed by your veterinarian.




Stop a Respiratory Attack

Provide respiratory relief

  • Your vet may provide an injectable steroid and either inhaled or injectable bronchodilator


Regain Airway Control

Clear the airways

  • For severe attacks, your vet will prescribe a 10-day treatment of prednisone
  • Environmental triggers should be assessed


Transition to Inhalers

Wean off of systemic steroids

  • Your vet will wean your dog off of prednisone while overlapping treatment with an inhaled steroid such as fluticasone
  • Overlap therapy for two weeks


Daily Management

Maintain lung health

  • Continue using inhaled steroids regularly to control inflammation
  • Continue even in the absence of symptoms
  • Inhaled bronchodilator may be prescribed to help during coughing flare-ups, but effectiveness in dogs is minimal
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How the AeroDawg* Chamber Helps

The AeroDawg* Chamber enables the use of inhalers by capturing and holding the medication so your dog can breathe it in. Designed specifically for dogs by the makers of the leading  AeroChamber* brand of spacers for humans, the AeroDawg* Chamber has special masks, valves, and performance characteristics that help ensure your dog gets the medication to its lungs, while feedback features like the Flow-Vu* inhalation indicator make using the device with any inhaler easy.

Learn More


Dog using the AeroDawg*

Make Every Puff Count

The AeroDawg* Chamber offers greater drug availability for a longer time. This helps your dog get the medication to its lungs while reducing medication waste and helping save on your dog’s annual respiratory medication costs.

More time means better performance:

  •     Enables you to puff the inhaler before applying the mask  
  •     Ensures enough time for the 7-10 breaths needed to empty the chamber
  •     Ensures dogs who hold their breath will still get medication

Graph: comparison of drug delivery and cost by chamber


Where to Buy Medications*




Discount Code (Save $10)

Canadian Pharmacy World

** The links to online pharmacies are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or support of the drug product or content of those sites. Drug prices are monthly costs for 120ug(125ug) Flovent† HFA. Get 10.00 off for any purchase of inhaler product, onetime use only at (see their site for full details) ALWAYS consult and follow the instructions of your veterinarian before giving your animal any medication! Only use inhalers as prescribed by your veterinarian.

Questions or Comments? Get in Touch.

We would love to hear from you. If you have questions or comments about one of our chambers, please reach out to us today.

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