Excessive Panting in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dogs are super eager to have fun; in my dog’s case, they are always ready and waiting for some quick action. Given their label as man’s best friend, dogs are surely eager to play with us.

After every playtime, my dogs pant out their tiredness and then end up falling asleep at their cozy beds. For us dog owners, it’s important to let our dogs have a good breathing space to make up for the air that they spent during their playtime.

Dogs inhale and exhale at an incredible rate. They respire about 30 to 40 times a minute, twice as much as a human’s normal respiration. When dogs pant, their respiration’s pacing become ten times as fast when they are only resting. Dogs are capable of doing this because of their elastic lungs and airways.

It’s normal to see our dogs pant, especially when they are hot, excited, or tired. However, seeing them pant heavily under normal circumstances such as resting or while laying down at a cold carpet might be signs that your dogs are overheated, experiencing emotional stress, or feeling ill.

Abnormal Excessive Panting in Dogs

If you have a dog, you may have already become familiar with the habits of your dog. We know about the toys that make them go jumping out of fun, the food that makes them drool, and their weird but cute little habits. Above all these things, we should familiarize ourselves with how our dogs breathe and interact with us when they are feeling unwell.

You can easily tell if your dog is panting abnormally by looking for these signs:

•    Abnormal panting in dogs sounds a lot harsher, louder, and rougher than normal

•    It occurs even if your dog doesn’t feel hot and need to cool down its body

•    When your dog pants in an excessive manner compared to their normal panting habits

•    Panting occurs with higher intensity and constant

These signs might lead to more severe disease or illness that may inflict permanent damage to your dog’s health. If your dog exhibits abnormal panting frequently, it is highly advised that you consult a veterinarian. The sooner the cause of the abnormal panting is identified, the sooner the medication could begin. It will improve the welfare of your dog and prevent severe illness.

Why is my dog panting abnormally?

Now that we can identify whether or not the panting of our dog is abnormal, we should determine whether our dog’s health is what causes this uneasiness. There are a lot of possible reasons why our dog is experiencing this, but the most common causes of panting in dogs are the following:

1. Genetic Predisposition – Brachycephalic breeds (e.g., bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and chow chows) or dogs with shortened heads are undeniably cute and lovely. In fact, dogs of this breed are the most photographed dogs at Instagram. But behind their cute face is a problematic airway structure preventing normal breathing.

This breed of dog is the most susceptible to experience rapid panting. When they feel hot or tired, it will always look like they are having a hard time breathing.

Brachycephalic breeds aren’t capable of panting efficiently because of how their upper airways are structured. Dogs of this breed often pant at a faster rate compared to dogs with a longer muzzle.

If you own a flat-faced dog, be sure to take extra precautions when you’re playing or traveling with them. Make sure that they can freely breathe the fresh air to cool off their bodies. Make sure there’s enough ventilation while travelling, so that they won’t have a hard time breathing. Surgery is the only thing that could alleviate these dog’s breathing problems.

2. Overheated – During a hot and sunny summer day, just like humans, dogs can also fall victim of overheating too. When their bodies reach high temperatures over 104 F, they might start to experience severe overheating that could lead to heatstroke.

Constant exposure to direct sunlight can inflict permanent damage into our dog’s body too. This will dehydrate them leading into irreversible kidney damage. Prolonged exposure to a hot environment will deteriorate our dog’s body cells and cause their brains to swell, caus an inevitably painful seizure and heatstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke include thirst, glazed eyes, bright-colored tongue, increased heartbeat, diarrhea, and panting in dogs.

As dog owners, our responsibility is to monitor them and do our best to prevent them from overheating. We should make sure that they have an ample supply of water to quench their thirst and a shed that could shelter them from direct sunlight.

3. Feeling Pain – If you’re able to notice odd changes with your dog’s behavior, especially with its panting patterns, it might be a sign or symptom that your dog is feeling uncomfortable or is dealing with a painful illness such as lymphoma, tumors, and other painful diseases.

Our dogs can’t speak and tell us that they are feeling pain, so it’s always up to the owners, to observe and notice the signals showing that they are in pain. A regular visit to your dog’s veterinarian will certainly help you monitor their health and give them the necessary medications.

 4. Anxiety, Stress, and Phobias – Dogs pant whenever they want to express their joy and excitement, but sometimes it’s the other way around. Dogs also pant when they feel nervous, stressed, or scared about the things that they encounter. This type of panting is also referred to be as “behavioral panting.” There are other signs they show when they feel anxious, such as: yawning, whining, shaking, and loss of bowel control.

Fear-Related anxiety can be triggered by a loud noise, new environment, or scary memory for the dogs. Surprise veterinary visit scares my dog, causing him to make weird faces, although he doesn’t exhibit any negative behavior.

Your dog might have a different reflex, so it’s important that we familiarize ourselves with our dog’s habits and their instincts.

Dogs could also suffer from separation anxiety. They are unable to tell how long their owners will be away for work or school. A destructive behavior occurs when this type of anxiety kicks in. They will often try to break out and go after their owners, causing damage to the entry and exit points of the house. Not only could they inflict damage to furniture, but also themselves.

The prolonged fear and anxiety disorder of your dogs can cause both physical and emotional damage, which can create a negative impact on your dog’s quality of life. They might even develop aggressive behaviors that are dangerous for their owners and themselves.

To prevent our dogs from exhibiting this kind of behavior, as much as possible, train them at an early age. Teach them where to play, where to rest, and things he or she is not allowed to play with.

This will certainly reduce the chances of your dog developing anxieties and increase the chances of your dog growing up with desirable behaviors.

5. Heart and Lungs Disease – Excessive panting is one of the possible symptoms that a dog would show if they are experiencing a heart disease such as dilated cardiomyopathy. Other signs include rapid declination of their ability to exercise, they often get tire a lot more, increased respiration, in worst cases, sudden weakening and sometimes fainting.

Lung diseases are also one of the main reasons why our dogs pant a lot. Once they catch this disease, their lungs will start to get congested with fluids that will cause loss of oxygen in their bloodstream, which will later result to enlargement of abdomen and heavier panting.

Early diagnosis and treatment of a heart or lung disease will significantly increase the longevity of your dog’s life, perhaps cure them of the disease.

6. Cushing’s disease – This disease is not that common to most dogs, but some of them are unlucky enough to catch one. Cushing’s disease can be a result of several factors. A tumor in their adrenal gland or pituitary gland is the most common reason for a dog to have a Cushing’s disease. This tumor causes their glands to overproduce hormones, which in excessive amounts can cause abnormalities about your dog’s thirst and urination, food consumption, hair loss, and restlessness.

If the tumor is benign, a surgery to remove the tumor is the best course of action to cure the disease. However, if the tumor is malignant, surgery will only alleviate the disease. Most veterinarians won’t recommend a prognosis since their chances of survival is significantly low.

Conclusion

Owning a dog is a privilege, and we should be thankful for it. They accompany us and love us unconditionally; however, we should keep in mind the responsibilities that come with owning one. Love your dog and always keep them healthy. Do your best to help them avoid catching diseases and give them the life that a dog deserves. They don’t live that long compared to humans, that’s why we should cherish every moment we spend with them.

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