Have you been noticing your dog panting, but they haven't been playing or exercising? In this blog, our Tigard vets share some potential reasons why your dog may be panting excessively and when you should bring them to the vet.
Panting in Dogs
Knowing your dog's healthy respiratory (breathing) rate will help you spot abnormal breathing and panting in them. A healthy dog will typically breathe between 15 and 35 times per minute while at rest. When exercising, your dog will naturally breathe more heavily and pant. Therefore, anything above 40 breaths per minute while your dog is at rest is regarded as abnormal and needs to be looked into.
Although, it's essential to know that panting doesn't always point to an issue and that it's your furry friend's way of cooling themselves down, regulating their body temperature, and letting heat and water evaporate from their mouth tongue, and upper respiratory tract.
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
Count your dog's breaths for a minute while they are relaxing or sleeping to determine if they are panting excessively. (You might also want to do this to find out your dog's typical respiratory rate when you're not worried.) Anything less than 30 breaths per minute is regarded as normal; anything greater than 35 may be cause for concern and warrant talking to your veterinarian. From prior examinations, your veterinarian will have a solid understanding of 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.
Not only breeds with short noses can experience problems with normal breathing. Heavy panting can indicate discomfort, an illness, or injury that needs immediate veterinary attention, regardless of the breed of your dog. The following are a few potential causes of rapid or vigorous breathing in dogs:
- Smoke Inhalation
- Kennel Cough
- Stiffening of Airways
- Windpipe Issues
- Pressure on Wind Pipe
- Fungal Respiratory Infection
- Bacterial Respiratory Infection
- Lung Diseases such as cancer
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Breed Characteristics
- Heat Stroke
- Compressed Lungs
- Collapsing Windpipe
When to Call Your Vet For Your Dog's Panting
Your dog may be experiencing respiratory distress if you notice them panting excessively while they are resting or breathing heavily while they are sleeping. The first thing you should do if your dog shows any of the following symptoms is phone your veterinarian right away. They will tell you what to do until you get to the animal hospital.
- Heavy, fast breathing that’s louder or different sounding than normal panting
- Their panting starts suddenly
- Open-mouthed breathing while at rest
- Reluctance to drink, eat or move
- Pale, blue-tinged, or brick red gums
- Out-of-character drooling
- Noticeably labored breathing (engaging stomach muscles to help breathe)
Diagnosing The Cause of Your Dog's Excessive Panting
In order to identify the source of your dog's excessive panting, such as a problem with the heart, circulatory system, lungs, airway, neck, head, or another area, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your dog. The issue might also be due to your dog's general state of 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.
How to Stop Excessive Panting in Dogs
The treatments used for your dog's excessive panting will be determined by the underlying cause of the issue. Your vet might prescribe pain relief, intravenous fluids, or other medications to help restore your dog to good 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.
Your dog's path to recovery will probably begin with rest and oxygen therapy. Although the majority of dogs will recover sufficiently to receive care at home, some serious cases may necessitate hospitalization to monitor the dog's breathing and to treat the underlying medical condition.
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.