14 Nov Cavoodle Breathing Problems
Friendly, loving, and outgoing, Cavoodles are one of the most sought-after breeds in Australia. Being originally a cross between Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Poodles, most cavoodles these days are mae from a cavoodle mother and cavoodle father. This breed is a popular choice for city-dwelling families because of their apartment-friendly size, affectionate nature, lack of shedding, hypoallergenic benefit for people with allergies and their charming antics. Living with a Cavoodle (also referred to as a Cavapoo in the USA) is often described as a life filled with laughter, joy, and lots of cuddles and snuggles. This is the very reason why Cavoodles are described as the perfect companion animals.
While living with Cavoodles brings a lot of happiness and love to our lives, it also brings with it a responsibility to provide for and take care of them. The breed is known to have an average lifespan of 14-18 years. However, as pet parents to a Cavoodle, you may sometimes be concerned about their health, and in particular about their breathing issues. They may experience shortness of breath, heavy breathing, or irregular or abnormal breathing in general.
Signs that your Cavoodle is having difficulty breathing:
- Exercise Intolerance
- Constant panting
- Increased breaths per minute
- Constant coughing
- Foam coming out of the mouth
- Excessive snoring
- Reverse sneezing
The biggest factor contributing towards Cavoodle breathing issues — Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
This is probably the most important factor which may impact your Cavoodle’s breathing. It is important to remember that Cavoodles are a designer breed. While cross-breeding between Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Poodles has given this breed some of its most adorable features—such as their wavy and silky fur, compact size and weight (weighing between 5–12 kgs), and sociable attitude—it is also responsible for contributing towards some of its most common health problems.
Crossbreeding has contributed to this breed having shorter than normal snouts, making Cavoodles prone to Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), also known as Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS). BOAS/BAS is a respiratory condition that arises out of a series of congenital defects. These defects are caused by specialised breeding to make these dogs smaller and cuter, resulting in anatomy that restricts the passage of airflow into the lungs. Thus, Cavoodles have more difficulty breathing as compared to other non-brachycephalic dogs.
The only way to improve the breathing of dogs that suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome is by performing a corrective BOAS surgery which opens up their nasal passage, shortens their elongated soft palate and thereby allows them to breathe better.
Read more about Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) in dogs.
Other factors which may contribute towards your Cavoodle breathing fast
1. Excessive Heat: Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat to regulate body temperature; they pant. On days when the weather is excessively hot, they may pant harder than usual to regulate their body temperature. Similarly, your pet may breathe harder after an intense play session or after an unusually long walk. You can provide them with fresh drinking water, or find them a cool spot in the house to relax in to help them feel and breathe better. On occasions when there are extremely high temperatures, your dog may also be experiencing heatstroke, in which case you must contact your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
2. Fitness: Although Cavoodles do not require intensive exercise or play to help them remain healthy, you still need to take them out for regular walks to help them remain fit. A fitter dog will have fewer respiratory issues as compared to an overweight dog. An adult Cavoodle should generally walk about a mile every day in under 25 minutes to remain healthy. The larger your pet is, the harder their respiratory system has to work to keep oxygen flowing through their body. As pet parents, you must therefore also keep an eye on your cavoodle’s diet and ensure you do not overfeed them.
3. Stress and Anxiety: Stress and anxiety are factors that often affect our pets more than we give them credit for. When our Cavoodle, or any dog for that matter, is stressed, they pant more, continuously lick their lips, and show signs of aggression. While this may affect their breathing in the short term, their breathing will return to normal once they calm down and steps are taken to reduce or manage their anxiety and stress.
4. Age: Senior dogs (dogs over the age of 7) often have more difficulty breathing as compared to younger dogs. At Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic, we therefore advise that senior dogs must visit the vet more frequently (at least twice a year). Regular consultations allow your vet to identify health issues your pet may be suffering from at an early stage. This makes the process of diagnosing and treating your fur baby quicker and more efficient.
5. Other underlying issues: Deeper underlying issues such as chronic respiratory issues, heart failure, and bronchitis may impact your pet’s breathing as well. While the chances of this happening are very slim, you must consult your veterinarian if your pet’s breathing difficulties persist.
Note: This article is not meant to be taken as medical counsel and it is not a replacement for informed consent with your veterinarian. Please book an appointment with your vet immediately if your Cavoodle is having difficulty breathing. Book a FREE Breathing Assessment for your pet now.