When To Euthanize A Dog With Tracheal Collapse?

When to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse?

As pet parents, our worst nightmare comes when our pet angels feel unwell. One of the most dreaded conditions our dog friends can face is tracheal collapse. Most dog owners whose dogs suffer from this condition face a difficult question, ‘when to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse?’

When my friend’s dog had to face this condition, I could see how disturbed he was. My friend was constantly worried he would have to put down his childhood friend. In an attempt to understand my friend’s dog’s condition.

So, here are a few of my findings on dogs, their battle with tracheal collapse, and other frequently asked questions. 

When To Euthanize A Dog With Tracheal Collapse?

When to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse? If your dog has no hope of a comfortable life even under the right circumstances and none of the medication work, then euthanizing the dog is the last resort. If your dog’s symptoms cannot be cured at any cost and greatly put his life at a disadvantage, euthanization must be dealt with. 

When To Euthanize A Dog With Tracheal Collapse?

Tracheal collapse is a progressive respiratory disease that can be fatal. It is an irreversible condition that affects a dog’s windpipe. 

Tracheal diseases can range from mild to severe stages. Once tracheal collapse is diagnosed in dogs, it usually starts off with medication to help the condition. 

In some severe cases, surgery or a combination of medication and surgery is used to treat a dog with a collapsed trachea. Oxygen supplementation can also be a part of the treatment process to help the dog maintain a good quality of life. 

Euthanization is the last decision one has to take. If you are unsure whether or not to euthanize your dog, then you can use the HHHHMM quality of life criteria questionnaire to help you make a decision.

Also Read: What Is Reverse Sneezing In Chihuahuas?

5 Symptoms To Look Out For

Some of the symptoms to look out for when tracheal collapse has greatly affected your dog are:

1. Coughing That Cannot Be Cured

If your dog has a cough that does not stop with medication and is disturbing his quality of life, the case of tracheal collapse could be a severe one. Your dog will have a honking cough that cannot be managed at all.

2. Symptoms That Cannot Be Managed By Medication

If your dog has symptoms that cannot be managed by medication and deteriorates the quality of his life, euthanization can be considered. 

3. Inability To Lead A Healthy Life Without Breathing Difficulty

Even with proper medication and surgery, your dog is not able to lead a healthy normal life, it is better to put him down rather than let him suffer. 

If your dog cannot exercise or have a fun playtime without being affected by breathing problems, it might be time to consider the suffering he is going through. Your dog could be suffering from lots of pain that could be affecting his normal course of life.

4. Respiratory Distress

If the condition is severe in your dog, he might be in constant respiratory distress. This can end up affecting him quite severely, leading to his death.

5. Impact on Heart or Lungs

If the collapsed windpipe does not allow the flow of a healthy amount of air in the dog, he might suffer from other diseases such as congestive heart failure. The condition can also end up attacking his lungs.

Tracheal collapse can also lead to other dangerous conditions like aspiration pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension and can cause a complete airway obstruction that can ultimately lead to the death of the dog.

A small dog or a toy breed dog is more at risk of suffering from tracheal collapse compared to any other breed of dog. Some older dogs are more susceptible to this condition compared to younger dogs. 

However, tracheal collapse can also be a congenital issue as dogs as young as two years can suffer from this condition. 

The decision to euthanize your dog is an extremely difficult and heavy one. It can be heartbreaking to say goodbye to your dog. However, it is also extremely difficult to watch your dog suffer from a condition that can prove fatal.

How Long Can A Dog Live With A Collapsing Trachea?

When to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse?

If a dog is given the right treatment and the right environment, he can live up to two years with a collapsed trachea. However, it is important that the dog is treated well and right for a long life

Given the right treatment, a dog can live even up to four years and maybe even more. He should avoid heavy exercise, hot temperatures, and too much physical activity.

Consult with your vet to help sketch out the right treatment and medication to help your dog lead a happy, healthy life. Your vet can also help you figure out how to take care of your dog with a collapsed trachea. 

It is completely possible for your dog to live a happy healthy life in spite of the condition, provided he is given the right medication, atmosphere, and care needed to survive.

A dog with a collapsed trachea might need more care than a normal dog so that he can lead a comfortable, quality life.

Try not to cry watching this emotional video of loving dog owners saying their final goodbyes to their best friends, their fur angels.

Can A Collapsed Trachea Kill A Dog?

A severe case of collapsing trachea can be fatal to a dog. Milder cases of tracheal collapse can be handled with proper medication and surgery.

There are various stages of tracheal collapse in a dog and it is important to know about them. There are four grades to its seriousness and the severe case can result in flat cartilage and the complete collapsing of the tracheal lumen

So, serious cases of tracheal collapse might end up causing respiratory distress in the dog eventually killing him. A dog with a severe case of collapsed trachea might even have to be euthanized by the respective owner.

It is difficult to watch a dog suffer from such conditions and we need to provide them with extra care to help maintain quality living conditions.

Can A Collapsed Trachea Heal Itself?

Unfortunately, a tracheal collapse is not self-healing and it is not reversible. The cartilage of the trachea weakens, resulting in the collapsing of the windpipe and this cannot be reversed.

Proper treatment should be provided to help maintain the trachea. If proper medication and treatment is not provided, the trachea will deteriorate further, resulting in severe health conditions.

A collapsed trachea can be surgically treated using stent placement. These stents can be placed either externally or internally. This can help maintain the trachea to a great extent.

With proper treatment, the collapsed trachea can be maintained in order to help the dog live a comfortable life. However, complete healing of the trachea is impossible and this progressive condition is irreversible.

What Does A Dog Sound Like With A Collapsed Trachea?

A dog with collapsed trachea will have a honking cough and labored breathing. These are the symptoms of having a collapsed trachea. The dog will be trying to get in maximum air as the collapsed trachea restricts the entry of the needed air. 

If the dog has labored breathing, trying very hard to get the air in, especially after heavy exercise or play, he might be suffering from a collapsed trachea. He will also be suffering from a honking cough that can be persistent. 

Watch this video of a dog suffering from tracheal collapse and how he sounds. He has a severe cough that sounds quite unusual.

How Do I Know If My Dog’s Trachea Is Collapsing?

When to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse?

It is important to know the symptoms of tracheal collapse in dogs.  In the earlier stages, these symptoms might seem like the dog has kennel cough. Visit a veterinarian as soon as possible to confirm the disease your dog could be suffering from. 

These symptoms might vary according to the severity of the disease. Some of the major symptoms are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Harsh dry persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Retching
  • Gagging
  • Bluish mucous membranes
  • Episodes where the dog turns blue
  • Vomiting 
  • Respiratory difficulty while exercising, playing, or while eating and drinking

If you notice your dog suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is recommended to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. An expert veterinarian will prescribe the right treatment procedure and medication to help your dog lead a comfortable life. 

How Do You Comfort A Dog With A Collapsed Trachea?

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a collapsed trachea, visit a vet as soon as possible. The vet will prescribe the required medication for your dog. 

At home, you can make your dog feel comforted by helping him stay calm. Anxiety and stress can further aggravate the problem and cause more irritation in your dog. You can try aromatherapy to help calm your dog down. If he is an anxious dog, seeking professional help is recommended.

You can also help him with preventive measures such as avoiding heavy exercise, maintaining proper weight, avoiding respiratory irritants, etc. 

Providing your dog with proper care and treatment is necessary to help him live a life of quality and comfort. Consult with your veterinarian who can help you figure out the do’s and don’ts of taking care of a dog with tracheal collapse. 

What Are The Treatment Options For Tracheal Collapse?

If your dog is suffering from a collapsed trachea, visit a vet as soon as possible.

Your vet will recommend suitable medication to help with the condition. Your vet will also prescribe a suitable medication for the condition. In case the condition gets worse, your vet might recommend a combination of surgical treatment and medication. 

Surgery is recommended only when the quality of life is compromised and they cannot enjoy a normal life even in the proper environment. Surgery includes inserting an external or internal trachea stent. The stent placement will be done as a last resort of treatment options. 

At home, you can help your dog with a collapsed medication by giving him food with plenty of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation. This will in turn help reduce the irritation caused by the collapsed windpipe and help your dog feel more relieved. 

You should also make sure your dog does not go under stress or anxiety. Stress and anxiety are the worst enemies of a collapsed trachea. If your dog suffers from anxiety, consult an expert who can help you with it. 

However, if your dog faces severe problems, do not wait around for a home remedy. Consult your vet as soon as possible for proper treatment and medication. 

What Do You Feed A Dog With A Collapsed Trachea?

With a collapsed windpipe, eating can be a challenge for an affected dog. The best way to feed your dog is to provide him with soft foods and water. 

Foods that can be ingested without much labor will be helpful for your dog with tracheal collapse. These foods such as bananas, honey, oatmeal, and soft fruits can be mixed with water to help in easier ingestion for your dog.

You will also have to help your dog figure out a position that helps him eat comfortably without irritating his windpipe. Once that is done, your dog can eat soft foods without a problem. 


As pet parents, it is disheartening to see your dog suffer and think about questions like when to euthanize a dog with tracheal collapse. 

However, a dog diagnosed with tracheal collapse can lead a healthy, happy life if he is given the right treatment and is taken care of in the right atmosphere. However, if the condition keeps progressing and euthanizing him is the absolute last option, it should be done under expert presence and opinion. 

Saying goodbye to your best friend can be heartbreaking. However, it can be even more difficult to see him suffering. 

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