Treatment for Tracheal Collapse in Dogs
Has your dog has been diagnosed with collapsed trachea? There is hope and there is help! Conventional veterinary care is very limited in what it can offer for dogs with tracheal collapse. Medical management for tracheal collapse (e.g. cough suppressants, bronchodilators, honey) can offer temporary short-term relief for some dogs. However, if you are looking for how to soothe a dog with collapsed trachea long-term, a holistic approach can yield far better results. The first step involves using supplements to strengthen the trachea. The second step is to make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce the triggers that cause the coughing in the first place. Ask Ariel's time-tested natural treatment for tracheal collapse in dogs has given thousands of pets much-needed relief!
Our dog collapsed trachea home treatment has been used successfully since 2005 and is recommended by veterinarians nationwide.
Benji, Yorkshire Terrier
"My name is Benji. I am 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier and a few years ago I started to have episodes where I couldn't catch my breath. My owners took me to the vet and were told it was a collapsing trachea. My owners do not like pharmaceutical medications so they did a web search and found you. They ordered for me the
Ultra-Flex Collagen For Pets. After about a month my symptoms were gone. I have only had a couple of episodes and that has been on very cold days. Thank you for providing this wonderful product because I was very scared when not being able to catch my breath." - Benji (and his dad Greg), Florida
How to Treat Collapsed Trachea in Dogs
Ask Ariel’s supplements and diet tips are designed to strengthen the trachea and reduce the triggers (e.g. allergies, poor digestion, acid stomach, etc.) of tracheal collapse symptoms. Our natural remedies can help pets feel more comfortable and improve the overall long-term health of your pet.
Below are common triggers that can make your dog's collapsed trachea symptoms worse:
- Poor digestion and acid reflux
- Food allergies
- Heart disease
- Anxiety or getting over-excited
- Pressure applied to the trachea
- Drinking or eating too quickly
What Is Tracheal Collapse?
Tracheal collapse is a genetic or congenital condition where the rings of cartilage in the trachea weaken over time and collapse. The trachea is the windpipe or airway that extends from your dog’s mouth down to the lungs. This flexible tube is held open with a series of rings. These rings are made of cartilage, and they may weaken or collapse due to age or genetic predisposition. When the rings collapse, they can make it harder for your dog to breathe, which can lead to coughing and wheezing. In the image above, you can see that the trachea (air tube) and esophagus (food tube) are beside each other.
Tracheal collapse is a progressive condition that affects mostly toy and small-breed dog breeds, but it can occur in medium- to large-sized dogs as well. While dogs with severe congenital tracheal weakness may be diagnosed as puppies, most dogs are diagnosed when they are over the age of 6. As pets age, they lose elasticity and stability in the cartilage, joints, muscles and connective tissue. This, along with other secondary health conditions, contributes to more dogs being diagnosed later in life.
Breeds most commonly affected are:
- Yorkshire terriers
- Miniature & toy poodles
- Lhasa apsos
- Shih tzus
What Can You Do To Help Your Dog With Collapsed Trachea?
Our holistic approach combines natural high-quality supplements, diet changes, and simple lifestyle changes to reduce your dog's symptoms of tracheal collapse and improve their overall quality of life. Genetics is the most common reason for weak tracheal cartilage. But anatomy does not have to equal destiny. Controllable factors, such as allergies, digestion and environmental, can be managed to help control the progression of collapsed trachea. You’ll want to try to achieve the following:
- Reduce coughing attacks and the anxiety that can come with them, which can worsen tracheal collapse.
- Provide additional support to your pet’s heart and respiratory system, which decline due to the collapsed trachea condition.
- Improve digestion as food allergies and acid stomach irritate the esophagus, increasing coughing and making the collapsed trachea symptoms worse.
"This is Buster, adopted from my local shelter 6 years ago. He has a collapsing trachea, so I’ve been giving him
Ultra-Flex Collagen, Soothing Digestive Relief, Gastro-ULC and Power Probiotic for about the last 6 months. He has had great relief from his symptoms and the vet said his breathing sounds better than it did 6 months ago! His intermittent diarrhea is no longer a problem either...I’m very pleased with how well these products are supporting Buster’s health. Buster also uses LypoZyme for his digestion and collapsing trachea; he is doing so much better since we started with these products!" - Marti, Wyoming
Supplements Can Help Strengthen Your Dog’s Trachea
Natural supplements for collapsed trachea are widely used in conjunction with medical and surgical treatments. Ultra-Flex Collagen supplements can strengthen the cartilage rings within the trachea, helping to maintain proper airflow and respiration. Acid stomach, gulping, burping, vomiting bile and loose stool are common in dogs with collapsed trachea. LypoZyme and Power Probiotic digestive supplements can help to reduce signs of poor digestion. Amazing Omegas and Purrfect Pet CoQ10 can support respiration and heart health. Happy Paws Drops and PSY-stabil calming drops can help reduce inflammation and anxiety. Depending upon what your dog's issues are, different remedies will be more helpful. Not all tracheal collapse supplements are needed for every pet.
Treatment For Tracheal Collapse In Dogs
Ultra-Flex Collagen Strengthens Trachea Cartilage
Ultra-Flex Collagen for Pets is a tasteless powder that is easy to administer once a day mixed in food. Ultra-Flex Collagen is a natural food-based remedy that is scientifically proven to stimulate and strengthen trachea cartilage, helping to reduce coughing and gagging over time. While there isn't a magic pill for collapsed trachea, combining Ultra-Flex Collagen with a few other supplements (depending upon your pet's symptoms) often delivers positive results.
Administer Supplements That Help Support Healthy Digestion in Dogs
Food allergies, poor digestion and food quality greatly affect collapsed trachea symptoms. If a pet has any acid reflux, this can irritate the esophagus making collapsed trachea symptoms such as coughing, gagging or choking much worse. Using the proper diet and collapsed trachea in dogs home remedies to improve digestion can give your pet much needed relief. The supplements listed below help with your dog’s digestion:
- Power Probiotic - Backed by scientific research, this powerful multi-strain pet probiotic supplement promotes the growth of friendly bacteria to support a healthy digestive and immune system.
- LypoZyme - This gentle digestive enzyme for dogs breaks down protein and fats, easing digestive symptoms and reducing the possibility of acid reflux and indigestion.
- Soothing Digestive Relief - A special blend of time-tested herbs and plant enzymes helps to calm and soothe a dog with collapsed trachea. Relieves upset stomach that can irritate the esophageal lining, triggering coughing.
Utilize Supplements That Support Heart Function
- Amazing Omegas – These powerful omegas reduce inflammation, reduce allergy symptoms and strengthen the trachea, joints, and ligaments.
- Purrfect Pet CoQ10 – Many dogs with collapsing trachea develop an enlarged heart due to the stress on the pet as it tries to breathe. Using Purrfect Pet CoQ10 (along with Amazing Omegas) helps maintain healthy heart function and respiration.
- Resveratrol for Dogs – Research shows that Resveratrol provides cardio-protective benefits by reducing inflammation in the heart and cardiovascular system and by improving endothelial function.
Use Calming Drops To Help Manage Stress & Anxiety
- Happy Paws Organic Hemp Extract - Happy Paws Organic Hemp Extract are anti-inflammatory drops that provide a sense of calm, helping to mitigate chronic coughing.
- PSY-stabil – PSY-stabil is a natural homeopathic remedy that can quiet coughing fits and help pets relax.
Note: PSY-stabil can have a calming or sedating effect. If your pet is taking pain medications or has a heart condition, please consult with your veterinarian before ordering.
Diet Changes Help Dogs With Collapsing Trachea
Many dog foods (even the highest quality, grain-free, premium diets) can worsen collapsing trachea symptoms because they contain ingredients that promote inflammation, indigestion or an allergic response. Feeding the best diet for collapsed trachea (switching to a hypoallergenic, novel protein diet) can have a huge impact on a dog's overall well-being. Please be sure to include your dog’s diet on the order form at checkout. Our nutritionist will include FREE diet tips for collapsed trachea in dogs on the packing slip that comes with your product directions.
Recommended Lifestyle Changes for Dogs with Collapsed Trachea
A comprehensive dog tracheal collapse home treatment will yield the best results for you and your pup. Using natural supplements and changing the diet is a great place to start. Once you learn your dog's coughing triggers, you can make simple lifestyle changes to help lessen the severity and frequency of flare-ups.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight means more energy is exerted to complete a short walk or even a trip up the stairs. When a dog with collapsed breathes heavily, it can cause a coughing attack. For overweight dogs, many vets will suggest exercise and diet changes as the first treatment for collapsed trachea. You can help your dog lose weight by adding green vegetables to your dog's meal in place of some of the dog food. Green vegetables help your pet feel more satisfied and offer a low-calorie, nutritious source of bulk food. Dogs with collapsed trachea still need to exercise to stay healthy. They do best when they avoid high-impact and high-intensity activities. A long, slow walk is perfect for dogs with collapsed trachea. Click here for more healthy weight loss tips.
- Use a harness instead of a collar. Any pressure around the trachea and neck area can aggravate the condition. Dogs wearing a harness can still walk well on a leash and be fitted with the proper ID tags. By keeping pressure off the neck and trachea, it can help to prevent coughing attacks.
- Avoid excitement and anxiety. Try to prevent anxiety by sticking to a routine. A huge excitement trigger is when a dog hears the doorbell. By planning for when guests or packages are to arrive, you may be able to prevent a reaction. Excitement and anxiety can cause a coughing fit, rapid breathing, and even fainting.
- Avoid airborne irritants. Cigarette smoke, dust, and strong fragrances can promote coughing. By keeping the windows closed, running an air conditioner or air purifier and regularly cleaning the home, you can minimize respiratory distress.
- Keep your dog cool. Dogs cool themselves by panting. Dogs with collapsed trachea are less effective at panting and can become overheated quite easily. Cooling pads can provide quick relief on hot, humid days.
"I just wanted to take time to thank you for your wonderful products. My 6 year old Morkie, Piper, was starting to suffer from several symptoms of collapsed trachea and I was getting really nervous. One night I researched online and found your products and client testimonials so I purchased the
Ultra-Flex Collagen and Power Probiotic. Within just a couple of days of use, almost all of her symptoms had subsided. I plan to purchase some additional products you recommend for collapsed trachea but wanted to let you know that I am amazed and truly grateful for your products - they work!!!" - Cassandra, Florida
Signs & Symptoms of Collapsed Trachea in Dogs
Excitement and exercise can trigger respiratory symptoms. The most common symptoms of collapsed trachea are:
- Coughing (goose honking)
- Wheezing and noisy respiration
- Difficulty breathing
- Acid reflux and/or digestive upset
- Exercise intolerance
- Fainting spells
- Blue-tinged gums
How Is a Collapsed Trachea Diagnosed in Dogs?
Clinical signs will often be enough for a veterinarian to suspect a collapsed trachea, especially in small-breed dogs. It is very important to have a veterinarian perform a full physical exam and run laboratory tests to rule out other conditions. Chest x-rays are typically used for diagnosis, but tracheal collapse is not always visible on regular x-rays. Some vets will perform a fluoroscopy (video x-ray taken while the dog is breathing). Others will do a bronchoscopy (inserting a flexible tube with a light and camera down the trachea). Both provide detailed imaging of the cartilage rings and can show the severity of the collapse. An ECG, or echocardiogram, can be used to determine if heart function has been affected by the tracheal collapse.
Laryngeal Paralysis & GOLPP In Dogs
Laryngeal paralysis and Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy (GOLPP) can sometimes have the same symptoms of collapsed trachea, though those conditions are different in both diagnosis and treatment. Learn about laryngeal paralysis and GOLPP here.
Collapsed Trachea Success Stories
Below are some testimonials from past and current Ask Ariel customers who have utilized our supplements, recommended lifestyle changes, and diet changes to help their pets with collapsed trachea.
Zoe, Pom Mix
"My beautiful, sweet, soon-to-be 13 year old "baby" girl Zoe is thriving thanks to Ask Ariel supplements. She was diagnosed with a kidney issue over a year ago and today her numbers improved and she is enjoying life. She is my fierce loyal companion. Thanks to Ask Ariel I am sure we will have many more years of memories together. Thank you for giving us both renewed hope!" -
Products used: Power Probiotic, Kidney Health Protein Support, Ultra-Flex, Purrfect Pet CoQ10.
Chip and Princess, Italian Greyhounds
"Here is a picture of our two Italian Greyhounds Chip (on the left) and Princess who are nearly 12 years old. Chip has collapsed trachea but we have been giving him
Ultra-Flex Collagen consistently for over a year which has helped calm the horrible, honking cough he had previously. He still has days when he coughs but it is no longer the coughing that sounds like a goose." - Sharon, Virginia
"I am very happy with your products. In 2016, Bianca had her teeth cleaned and it caused partial damage to her trachea. It was so bad that the medicine they put her on wasn't helping. That's when someone from Facebook told me about your company and your
Ultra-Flex Collagen product. It worked miracles for Bianca and she was able to get off the other medicine. In 2018, she developed kidney disease. I purchased your Kidney Health and Bianca was tested again and her kidney function has improved. That is amazing! I am so grateful for your company and knowledge." - Shelly, Arizona
My 13 yr old maltese has been struggling with a dry cough and passing out due to her collapsing trachea. I got
Ultra-Flex Collagen and I cannot believe it, 3rd day, no coughing or passing out. It is truly a miracle, and I am a customer for the rest of her life. Thank you so much, she is my fur baby." - Laura, California
"I just wanted to thank you for your help and tell you that
Ultra-Flex is a real winner. I noticed my 10 year old Yorkie Tango was breathing differently like he was congested, particularly when he slept at night (and he sleeps with us, so I can hear him). I read about how older Yorkies have a tendency towards trachea issues. I started Tango on the
Ultra-Flex Collagen Support and the whole breathing situation has COMPLETELY cleared up and he is breathing very comfortably. Also, Tango will be 10 years old this October, and he is showing signs of arthritis … a little limping, resisting exercise, not that enthused about walks….. the Ultra-Flex has significantly helped with the limping too. He has more energy and limps less and throws his ball and engages and plays more. Now, glucosamine has not always agreed with Tango. He often reacts with soft stool and intolerance. So the Ultra-Flex is a good option for him in terms of joint support. Finally, another benefit of the Ultra-Flex is I believe it helped to firm up his stools, so collagen helps IBS in some way too." - Leslie, California
"When she was four years old, Sprocket was diagnosed with Microvascular Liver Dysplasia which was not correctable through surgery, and we were told she would only live maybe two more years. We were very concerned about how to give her a good quality of life. We wanted to use natural treatments as much as possible and found Ask Ariel. Ask Ariel provided us with a diet suggestion and supplements that have kept Sprocket going strong. It is now 8 years that we have been following this regimen for Sprocket and it has been wonderful to see how well she is doing. The Ask Ariel supplements we have given her for support are:
Kidney Health (as well as another liver support supplement from the vet) and fish oil. As she got older and started limping, we started her on Curcumin for Pets, ArthroSoothe and Ultra-Flex for her collapsing trachea. Sprocket is feeling well and we are so happy we took this holistic approach. We sincerely believe that Sprocket has the looks and life that she does due to her diet and supplements from Ask Ariel."
UPDATE: "A few years after we’d been giving Sprocket her supplements from Ask Ariel, Sprocket found, and ate, some rat poison at a ranch. The vet said that her diet helped push it through her system and that no doubt, the supplements that she was taking, helped. Although she did have to take medication for the poison, I am certain that her supplement regimen was helpful in keeping her healthy and safe from the medication. A few months later when she had her liver enzymes tested, after the results came in, her vet said: 'If I didn’t know otherwise, I would say that this is a normal healthy dog.' You can only imagine our relief and happiness at hearing that news, and we have Ask Ariel to thank for helping Sprocket live a healthy life." - M. Matsumoto, New Mexico
"My 12 year old dog Maggie loves all the supplements recommended for collapsed trachea. She especially likes the
PSY-stabil Drops for when she has a nasty coughing fit."
Products Used: Ultra-Flex Collagen and PSY-stabil. - Mary, Connecticut
Daisy and Precious
“My dog Holly passed on from a collapsed trachea. I heard about your supplement (for collapsed trachea) about two weeks after she died to my dismay. She had a full blood work done when she started coughing and it came back wonderful due to the supplements she was on (for liver disease). They were amazed! Well my other dog Daisy... has always gagged after drinking and recently started coughing occasionally when she lies down. It shook me up because that is how Holly started a year ago. I immediately purchased your
Ultra-Flex Collagen. She has been taking it for a few weeks now and I noticed she doesn't gag anymore. Listen she has been gagging each time she drank for 2 1/2 years and now she isn't. It is very hard for me not to think I could have saved Holly if I had only known, but I am happy I've found Ultra-Flex Collagen for Daisy. I want to thank you again for another great product!” - Lori, Pennsylvania
Read More Collapsed Trachea Success Stories
Collapsed Trachea Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I treat my dog’s collapsed trachea at home?
Natural home remedies for collapsed trachea have helped thousands of dogs get relief from symptoms such as coughing attacks, anxiety and digestive upset. A comprehensive holistic approach is to use natural supplements to strengthen the tracheal cartilage and to reduce the triggers that cause the coughing and gagging. Many dogs with collapsed trachea have allergies and digestive problems which further aggravate the condition. Food allergies or intolerances can cause stomach upset and acid reflux which can irritate the tissue in the esophagus. Enzymes and probiotics specifically for collapsed trachea can help to improve digestion and reduce the coughing or gagging related to eating. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding anxiety, can further help to reduce the frequency of coughing fits.
What does tracheal collapse sound like in a dog?
The hallmark symptom of collapsed trachea in dogs is a cough that sounds like a goose honk. This dry, honking cough is often brought on by stress, exercise, excitement and eating or drinking. Collapsed trachea can lead to difficulty breathing and exercise intolerance. Dogs with collapsed trachea do best with controlled exercise, a calm environment and a hypoallergenic, low carbohydrate diet.
How long can dogs live with collapsed trachea?
The term collapsed trachea sounds terminal, like the trachea is closed and no longer functions. But dogs with the condition can live to their full life expectancy. Collapsed trachea is a progressive disease. Advancements in surgery, medications and complementary holistic treatments can help minimize the uncomfortable symptoms and delay the progression of the disease. As with any pet medical condition, the earlier you identify the problem and start treatment, the better chance your pup will have at a full, healthy life.
Is collapsed trachea painful?
Collapsed trachea in itself is not a painful condition, but it can cause uncontrollable coughing. In advanced cases, the narrowing of the trachea may make it hard for a dog to breathe. The constant inflammation and irritation can create additional pressure on the heart and lungs. Dogs with collapsed trachea may develop compromised lung capacity and an enlarged heart, especially if steps aren’t taken to reduce the inflammation. Most dogs with collapsed trachea will die from a secondary condition and not solely from tracheal collapse.
How do veterinarians treat collapsed trachea in dogs?
Collapsed trachea is a progressive condition in dogs that can get worse over time. Veterinarians treat collapsed trachea with medications, surgery or a combination of both. The most common surgical repairs are placing C-shaped rings on the outside of the tracheal tube for support or inserting a woven mesh tube. With surgery, there is the risk of complications. Sensitivity to anesthesia is an important consideration, especially for senior dogs and dogs with heart conditions. Medical treatment for collapsed trachea may include a wide range of prescriptions, which can include antibiotics (if any infection is present), bronchodilators (such as theophylline, terbutaline, or albuterol) to help open the airways, cough suppressants (such as butorphanol or hydrocodone) to prevent coughing and relieve irritation in the airways, sedatives (such as acepromazine or diazepam) to help calm anxious or excitable dogs to prevent flare-ups and steroids (such as prednisone or fluticasone) to reduce inflammation in the trachea. The cost to treat collapsed trachea will vary greatly depending on the treatment plan suggested by the veterinarian or surgeon. Medication management can run from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars a month just for prescription refills. Reconstructive surgery can cost between $4,500 and $5,500. The cost includes the specialty surgeon and the stent materials required for the procedure. Pet insurance may help to cover some of the cost. Lifestyle changes are free and can make a huge difference in the dog’s quality of life.
What are the four grades of tracheal collapse?
A normal trachea has rings of cartilage that help keep it open. As the rings become weaker and start to collapse, the air tube becomes flatter. Inflammation in the esophagus can push on the trachea, also adding pressure to the cartilage rings. Veterinarians use a four-grade scale for tracheal collapse. With Grade 1 collapse, the cartilage rings still function but the tracheal lumen (the cells that support the trachea) have been reduced by about 25%. Grade 2 collapse indicates the lumen have decreased by 50% and Grade 3 indicates a 75% reduction in the lumen. With Grade 4, the cartilage has completely collapsed.