Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
A mysterious connection between your dog's lung health, cough and emotions

A mysterious connection between your dog's lung health, cough and emotions

Health and Longevity Course for Dogs             Chapter 12

If you are looking for the short version - scroll down to the title "lung diseases from a medical point of view." For the less dry Dr. D version, continue reading here.

Today, I'll tell you a story that very few people know about. More than 20 years ago, I adopted another dog before my previous dog, Skai. However, if someone asked me at the time how many dogs I’ve had in my life, I always said only one, Skai.

The following story tells you why.

As a young vet, I worked at a veterinary practice in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. At that time, Whistler was a town of 7,000 people and has since grown into a world-class ski resort.  

Whistler has always been a dog town. I'd estimate that more than half of the families back then had dogs. The stories of the Whistler canines and their people were similar to other places, sometimes happy and sometimes sad.

The story of Bella and James

Bella lived with James, her guardian, in Whistler. She was a two-year-old black and white border collie living a great life on a farm with freedom that most dogs of the west never experience. James' life was a little more turbulent. He lost custody of his children. Emotionally, James never really recovered from losing touch with his children and a decade later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

When I met James at the Whistler clinic, Bella had barely started her life. She was a happy and boisterous canine teenager who was always ready for the next adventure. But when James started losing his battle with cancer, something I've never seen before happened.

Just a week before James was admitted to the hospital one more time, he brought Bella because she was coughing. To my surprise pneumonia was the cause, which is rare, especially in young dogs. When I took X-rays and confirmed the diagnosis, I remember thinking how strange it was that both James and Bella had a lung condition. It was as if she took on James’ disease. The diagnosis was different, but in my mind, it was a lung disease just with a different degree of severity. In other words,  energetically they were same. 

A few days later, I received the news that James had died, and a family friend brought Bella back to the clinic as her condition had started getting worse. Normally, the prognosis for a young dog with pneumonia is good, but Bella was not recovering. She stopped eating and I had to hospitalize her and put her on oxygen.

I could not prevent myself from being emotional about the situation, especially seeing how sad Bella was and it didn’t take long for me to adopt her. I thought it would only be a matter of a few days before she'd recover and enjoy her Whistler life. She was young and I knew I'd really enjoy her, but her plan was different.

Within a couple of days, Bella's condition deteriorated. No matter how much I tried, it seemed she wanted to be reunited with James. When Bella died, it was hard, even though she was mine for only a couple of days. In reality, her heart never belonged to anyone other than James. For her, dying meant a reunion. 

Lungs are the organ of grief

No animal species can connect with humans on such a deep level as dogs. James’ and Bella's story invites us to at least consider eastern medical wisdom that says lungs are the organ of grief and that the stronger the connection between two individuals is, the more likely they will suffer from similar ailments.

Lung diseases from a medical point of view

When I decided to write about lungs and lung disease, I could not resist sharing this story with you before moving on to the practical part of keeping your dog's lungs healthy. 

I often see the western medicine approach to organ disease being too ‘mechanical,’ as if the mind and the rest of the body are not connected. In practice, I often see that dogs’ health is affected by the thoughts and experiences of other individuals.

In Chapters 8 to 11, I explained that spinal segments are responsible for blood, nerve and energy flow to different organs and what happens when the energy stream slows down.

The lung association point is between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae (the fourth thoracic intervertebral space), just before the pericardium and the cardiac points. That is why any injury, strain, sprain and tightness of the shoulders, forelegs and the lower neck may affect both the lungs and the heart. Click here for more info.

Tobie, the dog that stopped coughing

One of the most common forms of lung disease is what conventional medicine classifies as a cough of unknown origin.

Tobie had been a patient of mine for many years and his guardian Edna and her are a perfect pair. They are very lucky to have each other. Edna loves to surf and Tobie is a beach lover. When I sold my clinic, I lost touch with them, but a few years later Edna asked me for help because Tobie was coughing and conventional treatments were not working. 

When I examined Tobie, I noticed she was super tight in the area of the lung points, between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae.

We started some release techniques such as IMS, an acupuncture release technique, massage and worked with a chiropractor and rehabilitation practitioner to ensure Tobie's shoulder region recovered. The exercises also addressed her tendency to carry more of her weight on the forelegs. This often happens in aging dogs as their hind end weakens.  

It took a few months for Tobie to recover, but the effect was clear. Now, years later, she still rarely coughs and when she does, it means that the region between the shoulder blades needs to be treated.

A universal method that can help treat many lung conditions

If I tried to put even just the most common lung diseases in this article, there would be enough material for a book. 

The diagnosis of cough of unknown origin is quite common, but there are other conditions that can greatly improve by taking the above approach. Here are some examples of lung conditions: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, viral and fungal infections, lung congestion due to cardiac disease and cancer.

Where there is lack of flow, cancer is more likely to appear

The rate of cancer in dogs is on the rise. I have diagnosed many dogs with cancer in the course of almost 30 years in practice and while I am fully in favor of a modern approach to reaching a diagnosis, there is one method that makes me suspect cancer even before the symptoms appear. 

There are two forms of cancer in the lungs. The first and more common one is metastatic disease, meaning there is a primary tumor elsewhere in the body that has spread to the lung tissue. The second type is a primary tumor that originated in the lungs first.

It is not the purpose of this article to go through the different types of lung cancer because energetically it is just a different form of the same issue: energy congestion, toxicity, genetic predisposition, nutritional deficiency and a failure of the immune system to stop the spread of cancerous cells.

It's also my experience that dogs with lung cancer are extremely sensitive in the lung point area. Even though a dog is happy and looks healthy, I never waste time. I do X-rays right away if I see them being reactive between the shoulders. 

What it takes to prevent and treat lung disease

Similar to other conditions, applying the Healing Cycle is the key. If you've been reading my articles for some time, you have probably noticed I apply this simple natural principle of healing as part of the treatment of almost any condition.

If you have not watched the Healing Cycle video below, it may further help and you can also click here for an article on cancer prevention.


Thank you for sharing this article with those you care about!

Did you know this is only one article from our free Holistic Health & Longevity Course? Check out the entire course...

To read the entire Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs click the links below. 

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

Health & Longevity Course Chapters

To read the entire Holistic Health and Longevity Course for Dogs click the links below:

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

By clicking "Continue" or continuing to use our site, you acknowledge that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. We also use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website. You can find out more about the cookies we use and learn how to manage them here. Feel free to check out our policies anytime for more information.




Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping