Your dog panting quickly and excessively can be cause for concern. Here, our Visalia vets share some reasons why your dog may be panting excessively and when you should bring them in for a checkup.
What causes heavy panting in dogs?
The average dog takes between 15 and 35 breaths per minute, that rate fluctuating depending on the heat or their level of physical activity. However, sometimes a dog owner will notice their pup panting rapidly or for longer periods of time than normal. If you notice their breathing surpassing 40 breaths per minute, this is panting. If the panting does not wear off after they have cooled down or relaxed from their physical activity, you might be wondering what is causing your pooch to excessively pant.
Since they are unable to sweat, dogs need to pant to avoid overheating. Panting allows heat to evaporate from the tongue, mouth, and respiratory tract. But too much panting can be a sign of an underlying concern. Our vets at Tulare-Kings Veterinary Emergency Services will share how to identify excessive panting and what you can do to help.
How do I know if my dog is panting excessively?
All dog owners should make a habit of monitoring their dog's breathing while they're healthy. This way, you can determine a healthy basis for how they should be breathing. Then, any excessive or rapid panting in dogs becomes more apparent when it occurs.
Being attuned to your dog's breathing makes excessive panting more noticeable. If you do notice this, consider taking your pup in for a check-up to eliminate any concerns.
How do dogs cool off by panting?
Water has a property of high heat vaporization. A large amount of heat must be absorbed into 1 gram of water to turn into gas, or "vaporize." This means that as a dog pants, the water or saliva on its tongue evaporates, resulting in a cooling effect on their mouth and body.
Excessive Panting in Older Dogs
Excessive panting in senior dogs could be caused by health conditions that link to their age, such as laryngeal paralysis, pyothorax, lung tumors, bronchitis and pneumonia. There's no need to jump to such serious conclusions, though! Just like humans, dogs lose stamina and athleticism as they age. More noticeable panting in your older furry friend could be a result of their lower energy levels. If you've noticed a gradual incline of panting in your senior dog over recent months or years, it is likely due to their age.
However, our vets still recommend you take your senior pup in to the clinic if you notice excessive or rapid panting. As with young dogs, an underlying issue could be at play, so don't risk leaving a serious health condition untreated and contact your vet.
Why is my dog breathing fast?
Certain dog breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs, are more prone to panting or heavy breathing as they have been bred with flat faces. However, there are still many reasons your dog could be excessively panting, such as:
- Breed Characteristics
- Kennel Cough
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Windpipe Issues
- Bacterial Respiratory Infection
- Fungal Respiratory Infection
- Pressure on the Windpipe
- Stiffening of Airways
- Smoke Inhalation
- Collapsing Windpipe
- Lung Diseases such as cancer
- Compressed Lungs
- Heat Stroke
When should I be concerned about my dog's rapid panting?
One of the best ways to detect if your dog's breathing is at a concerning level is to check it while they're asleep or laying down, completely relaxed. If you notice excessive panting or any of the following symptoms while your dog is relaxed, contact your vet immediately:
- Engaging stomach muscles to help with breathing
- Reluctance to drink, eat or move
- Pale, blue-tinged, or brick-red gums
- Uncharacteristic drooling
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Heavy, fast breathing that’s louder or different sounding than normal panting
If you notice any of these symptoms, or your dog has simply been panting for a longer than normal period of time and you're unsure why, don't risk it and just take them in to the vet. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your dog in order to determine the possible cause of the rapid breathing. They will look over your furry friend's respiratory health and come to a diagnosis or treatment plan to help with the issue.
In the majority of cases, your dog should be able to recover while at home. Some serious instances may require hospitalization in order to monitor the dog's breathing and to treat the underlying cause.
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.