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Excessive Panting in Dogs

Have you noticed your dog panting without having been playing or exercising? Here, our Mechanicsburg veterinarians share some of the possible reasons why your dog may be panting excessively and when it's time to bring them to your vet for assessment.

Panting in Dogs

You must be aware of your dog's normal breathing and panting patterns in order to spot any abnormalities. Healthy dogs will typically breathe between 15 and 35 times per minute while at rest. When your dog is exercising, they will naturally breathe more deeply and pant more. Accordingly, anything occurring more frequently than 40 times per minute while your dog is sleeping will be regarded as abnormal and should be investigated.

It's also crucial that you comprehend that panting is your pup's way of regulating their body temperature and cooling off, allowing heat and moisture to escape through their mouth, tongue, and respiratory tract. Panting is also not always a sign of a problem.

Dogs aren't able to sweat to cool themselves off, instead, they have to breathe faster in order to let air circulate in their bodies. Panting helps your pooch get their body temperature back to normal.

Signs of Excessive Panting in Dogs

In order to tell if your dog is panting heavily, count their breaths for a minute while they are resting or sleeping. It can be a good idea to do this even if your dog isn't showing worrying behaviors to determine what their normal respiratory rate is.

Anything that is less than 30 breaths per minute is considered to be normal, and anything that is over 35 breaths per minute is typically regarded as cause for concern. Because of previous examinations, your veterinarian will be well-versed in your dog's typical respiratory rate.

Causes of Heavy Panting in Dogs

Brachycephalic dog breeds, (breeds with 'squished faces' or shortened snouts), such as Boston terriers, boxers, and pugs face a higher risk of developing breathing issues and should always be closely monitored by pet owners for signs of increased respiratory effort.

However, dogs of all breeds can have trouble breathing normally, not just those with short noses. Strong panting and rapid breathing, regardless of the breed of your dog, could indicate that he needs immediate veterinary care because of an illness or injury. Dogs' rapid or unusually heavy breathing may be caused by a few different things.

  • Exercise
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Asthma
  • Windpipe Issues
  • Smoke Inhalation
  • Kennel Cough
  • Pressure on Wind Pipe
  • Stiffening of Airways
  • Fungal Respiratory Infection
  • Lung Diseases such as cancer
  • Bacterial Respiratory Infection
  • Heat Stroke
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Nausea
  • Parasites
  • Hernia
  • Anemia
  • Pneumonia
  • Collapsing Windpipe
  • Compressed Lungs
  • Breed Characteristics

When to Call Your Vet For Your Dog's Panting

If you notice your dog panting excessively while resting or sleeping, he or she may be suffering from respiratory distress. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, the first thing you should do is contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on what steps to take until you reach an animal hospital.

  • Their panting starts suddenly
  • Pale, blue-tinged, or brick red gums
  • Open-mouthed breathing while at rest
  • Reluctance to drink, eat or move
  • Out of character drooling
  • Noticeably labored breathing (engaging stomach muscles to help breathe)
  • Heavy, fast breathing that’s louder or different sounding than normal panting

Diagnosing The Cause of Your Dog's Excessive Panting

Your veterinarian will be able to perform a thorough physical examination on your dog to determine the specific cause of their excessive panting, such as their airways, neck, head, or another area. The problem could also be caused by your dog's overall health.

Your vet will need to know about any previous medical issues that your pooch has experienced and may recommend diagnostic tests such as X-rays to check the heart, lungs and abdomen for issues such as lung tumors or broken ribs.

The veterinarian will also watch your dog for any signs of anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors that could be causing the fast breathing.

Treating Excessive Panting in Dogs

The treatments that are used for your dog's excessive panting will be determined by the underlying cause of their symptoms. Your may may prescribe a number of treatments or medications including pain killers, intravenous fluids or other medications to help restore your dog ot their normal shelves and full health.

If your pup's heavy breathing is the result of anxiety or stress, your vet may recommend special training with a certified dog behaviorist.

Rest and oxygen therapy may be required depending on the severity of your dog's condition. While most dogs are healthy enough to be treated at home, hospitalization may be necessary to treat serious injuries or illness, monitor your dog's breathing, and resolve the underlying health conditions that are causing your dog's excessive panting.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you worried about your dog's panting while resting or sleeping? Contact our vets in Mechanicsburg immediately for emergency care in our advanced facility.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center you never need an appointment to access our full complement of emergency services. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

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Contact (717) 796-2334