If you have a furry friend at home you might not be a stranger to the fact that they tend to pant quite a lot normally. It is in fact typical, for dogs to pant when they are feeling hot, energetic or excited. But heavy panting is really something that’s different and it could be a red alert for you that your dog is overheated or struggling with some kind of a chronic health issue. It could also be that they have been the subject of life-threatening trauma. Basically, if you own a canine you should always know;
- Why dogs pant?
- What you can do about it
- When you should see the vet
So here is a little help from us on why your dog could be panting and whether or not you should be worried about it.
What are the Common Causes and Treatments for Panting?
- It helps dogs cools off after some rough activity
Usually dogs will start panting if they have been running or engaging in some kind of strenuous exercise. So what can you do about it? Get to know your dog’s usual breathing rate according to their age, weight and breed and then keep an eye out for times when this seems to have changed.
- Heatstroke and poisoning
Keep in mind that some breeds of dogs with short snouts like Boston Terriers, Bulldogs and Pugs are prone to heavy breathing, but if their panting is unusual even for them, they could be struggling with poisoning or a heatstroke. You cannot keep an eye out for what they are eating 24/7 so if you notice something out of the ordinary, and you can’t think of a reason why they are breathing so hard, take them to the vet immediately. During summers and generally hot days, keep your dog cool. In tropical countries this could even mean that you shave a bit of the fur off in long-fur breeds, if you feel that they are getting overheated. Give them enough cool water to drink, do not keep them inside your vehicle while you shop and keep the AC or fan switched on if you are not at home even for ten minutes.
- Chronic illnesses
Your dog could be battling something like heart failure, Cushing’s syndrome or respiratory disorders that could be causing heavy panting. In the case of heart failure you will see symptoms such as breathing difficulties, reduced tolerance to exercise and coughing. You will need to take them to the vet immediately for treatments like ACE inhibitors and diuretics. In the case of Cushing’s syndrome where your dog’s adrenal glands are pumping out too much cortisol they may exhibit heavy panting, excessive thirst and hunger as well as hair-loss and a belly that looks bloated and swollen always. In severe respiratory issues such as laryngeal paralysis, lung tumours and pneumonia, heavy breathing or panting is observed.
Do Dogs Pant During Injury and Pain?
If you think about it, dogs can’t exactly walk up to us or the vet and tell them if they are in pain or not right?
So how do they communicate this?
Through obvious signs that are out of the norm for them that are used to generally signify discomfort and pain. It is up to you as their human to understand these. If your dog looks like they are in discomfort or pain and are panting heavily, take them to the vet. Usually in the case of injury and severe pain this will be accompanied by dilated or enlarged pupils, decreased appetite, anxiety or restlessness, licking and biting at some part of their body and reluctance to lie down even for a bit. Sometimes dogs will mask their pain by wagging their tail or acting normal so if they get into a possible injury, say for example, if they get hit by a vehicle or take a bad fall, even if there’s nothing to be seen, get to the vet ASAP.
My Dog is on Medication and Has Started Panting Suddenly
Certain types of medication like prednisone can cause dogs to breathe heavily or pant. If you feel that your dog’s medication is causing their panting, talk to your vet as soon as you can so that you can perhaps change the medication.
It’s none of these, then why is my dog panting?
Have you ever heard of milk fever? It’s also called eclampsia. This is one of the conditions in dogs that could go undetected and lead to excessive panting. It is however a very dangerous condition that could affect nursing dog moms where a very low level of calcium in blood could eventually make them unable to walk or stand and give them tremors.
There are also other conditions like allergies, infections and irritations in their airways that can cause wheezing and noisy, heavy panting in dogs.
I have a pet at home and they seem to be falling sick a lot. What can I do?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. But now that you understand that something isn’t right, act on it without delay. Take your pets for regular check-ups with your vet but at the same time stay informed and educated about how to take care of your pet. You can do this with animal care courses you can study from home.
Where can I find them?
Global Edulink is a leading online education provider in London with a selection of highly innovative and useful programs that provide you with recognised professional and academic qualifications. Our range of animal care courses for adults are comprehensive, up to date and will give you the insight that you require.
Advanced Diploma in Dog Grooming – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Dog Behaviour and Training – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Animal Psychology – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Animal Physical Therapy – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Animal Care Career – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Animal Care and Business – Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Animal Care – Level 3
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