Why Is My Dog Panting So Much?

Dogs can’t sweat like humans do, so their bodies cool down by releasing heat through the tongue and mouth when they get hot. This process is also called evaporative cooling. Dogs’ tongues have a moist surface, making it easier for them to release heat this way, unlike humans’ dry mouths that need an added liquid source to achieve the same effect.

Why Is My Dog Panting?

While humans can sweat to regulate their body heat, dogs don’t have the ability to sweat. Panting helps them to regulate their body heat by evaporating water through their mouths and upper respiratory tract. Usually, the animal will stop panting once it returns to its normal body temperature because air-cooling is not required. Dogs may also pant when they are stressed, scared, or anxious.

A healthy dog’s respiratory rate normally ranges from 18 to 34 breaths per minute, whereas a puppy will range from 15-40. As puppies have smaller lungs, they need to pant more often when they get hot, so you should gauge how often and quickly your pup is breathing what the issue may be.

 If your dog is panting and restless, has trouble breathing, or is making wheezing noises, the first sign of something more serious might be occurring.

When Is Dog Panting Abnormal?

Panting is usually not a concern unless it is done in an abnormal manner. Panting is often a response to hot weather and lots of running, but it can also be a sign of many other life-threatening problems for dogs. This could be a sign of a respiratory problem, heatstroke, heart condition, anxiety etc. You should know what is normal for your dog to be able to tell if something is abnormal.

You might notice that your dog is breathing heavily at times which you know isn’t to regulate the temperature, or he may be putting more effort into their breaths than they normally would, and the sound may be louder, harsher, or more labored than usual, it may be an indicator of emotional or physical distress. It’s a good idea for you to take him to the vet.

Why Does My Dog Pant So Much?

Heavy panting is a symptom of a number of different conditions, including:

Of course, it is always a good idea to seek the opinion of a veterinarian when in doubt. They will be able to provide you with a full diagnosis and treatment plan.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a serious, life-threatening condition when a dog’s body can’t produce enough fluid to cool itself. Heatstroke occurs when the dog’s temperature rises rapidly and the cooling mechanisms fail or are overwhelmed by environmental heat. The result is a progressive collapse of various body functions that eventually leads to death.

The most common signs of heatstroke in dogs are weakness, depression, excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, inability to control bladder and bowels, fever, dry mouth and gums, seizures or convulsions. The exaggerated heavy breathing or panting may be the only sign in smaller breeds of dogs.

Dog Poisoning

Dog poisoning is an unintentional accident that can come from several sources. The most common means of dog poisoning is when the animal eats something like human food off the counter or out of their owner’s hands. Toxic substances are also a cause, but in this case, it is usually the owner’s fault for not keeping them safe.

The first thing you need to do if you think your dog might be experiencing the side effects of poisoning is to take them to a veterinarian. Signs of poisoning can vary depending on what type of poison they were exposed to, but common signs include diarrhea, excessive drooling and panting, vomiting, having seizures or convulsions, and losing coordination.

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s disease in dogs is a common problem caused by the overproduction of cortisol from the adrenal glands, which is normally released when the dog has to deal with stressful situations. Normally, cortisol levels should spike and then quickly return to normal after the stressful situation has passed, It can affect any dog breed or size, but it is most often diagnosed in small breed dogs, especially terriers and spaniels.

The symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome in dogs include lethargy, a pot-bellied appearance, thin skin with less hair and a large appetite.

Anxiety

Anxiety in dogs is defined as a psychiatric disorder that is typically characterized by an animal’s inability to be soothed or calmed. It is important to first identify the source of anxiety before it becomes unmanageable. Signs of anxiety are tail tucking, submissiveness, pacing, panting, hyperactivity, abnormally increased vocalization (whining), elimination (urination and/or defecation), licking or chewing at themselves (especially the mouth or paws).

Respiratory disease

There are many potential causes of respiratory disease in dogs. As one example, laryngeal paralysis can be defined as a condition where the nerve supply to the larynx is interrupted or lost, this results in an inability of the muscles used for respiration to function. This condition makes it difficult for affected dogs to swallow, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening complication. Other causes include pneumonia, lung tumors, and collapsed lungs.

Pneumonia is an inflammation or infection of the lung tissue with excessive build-up of fluid and alveoli sacs.

The lung tumor is a growth of abnormal cells in one or more lobes of the lungs, causing it to swell and lose its function.

Anemia 

Anemia in dogs is when there is not enough red blood in the body. Many things can cause this. Some of these things include infections, parasites, excessive bleeding, cancer, kidney failure, and liver disease. There are many symptoms that can be related to anemia in dogs. These symptoms include weakness, lack of energy, weight loss or gain, pale coloration to the gums or tongue, difficulty breathing or panting for extended periods of time without rest, dizziness or lightheadedness and changes in appetite.

Heart Failure

Heart failure in dogs occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently. This can occur for various reasons and is often caused by fluid build-up (congestion) in the lungs and other organs. Heart failure can also be related to disease or trauma of the heart muscle. Congestion may occur due to an upper respiratory infection, while heart muscle disease may be related to old age or high blood pressure.

Dogs’ heart failure may have symptoms that include coughing, difficulty breathing, weight loss, exercise intolerance, pale gums, fatigue, increased thirst and urination, excessive panting even at rest, low appetite/interest in food, and vomiting.

Injured and Sick Dogs

Dogs, like humans, find it difficult to tell us when they are in pain. As a result of this, you must learn what to look for. Heavy panting is one of the signs that your dog may be suffering an injury. Symptoms that indicate that your dog is in pain or has experienced trauma include vomiting, enlarged pupils, loss of appetite, lethargy, restlessness, limping, diarrhea, anxiety, licking the area where he is in pain and behavior changes. If you suspect that your dog is feeling unwell or injured, don’t hesitate to see a vet immediately.

Brachycephalic syndrome

Brachycephalic syndrome is a condition that affects the shape of the skull in dogs. It is present from birth in most cases and is often characterized by a short muzzle and compressed face. It may be caused by a number of factors, such as genetics, injury, or infection. Other symptoms may include breathing difficulties and problems with the teeth and nails. Dogs with short noses and deep chests will find that they need to breathe hard to obtain enough oxygen into their system.

Obesity

Obesity in dogs is a condition where the pet’s body weight is at least 20% higher than what would be considered healthy for their height. It can be caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, or it may simply be hereditary. When a dog becomes obese, it may suffer from different health problems, such as arthritis, breathing difficulties, heart failure and more.

High Blood Pressure

When a dog has high blood pressure, the pressure in the arteries is higher than it should be. This can happen when blood circulates through the dog’s body and it doesn’t flow back into the heart correctly. With high blood pressure, there can be major negative effects on your dog’s health, such as kidney disease, heart failure and strokes. High blood pressure can cause a dog to pant excessively because they are struggling to get enough oxygen from their lungs.

How to Prevent Heatstroke

There are several ways that you can prevent your dog from getting heatstroke:

  1. Make sure that your dog has access to cool shade or water at all times.
  2. To prevent heat exhaustion, never leave your dog in a parked car or a closed garage, and try to avoid exercise during the hottest parts of the day. 
  3. To treat heat exhaustion, give your dog water and have it lie down in a cool location.
  4. Check on your dog during hot temperatures and take them inside if they appear to be overheated (i.e., panting excessively, drooling, etc.).
  5. If your dog starts panting excessively, it’s time to stop your walk and head back home. 
  6. If your dog’s symptoms don’t improve after 15 minutes, call your vet.

If your dog does start showing signs of heatstroke–excessive panting or drooling; dark red tongue; vomiting; excessive thirst; weakness; staggering; confusion; seizures–you’ll want to bring him to the vet immediately.

When Should You Visit the Veterinarian?

Puppies and senior dogs often overheat quickly because of their age and they can’t cool themselves as effectively as adult dogs. Breeds with short muzzles like Pugs and Shih Tzus cannot pant as efficiently as other breeds and may overheat more easily.

If your dog is panting heavily for just a couple of minutes, then there’s likely nothing to worry about. However, if it seems like excessive panting for over an hour or is accompanied by other symptoms like fever or vomiting, you should see your vet. If you have a puppy, senior dog or shorthaired breed, your vet may also want to see the dog.

10 Common Reasons Why Dogs Pant Heavily

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