What Does It Mean When A Dog Is Panting?
It’s normal for dogs to pant, especially when they’re hot, excited, or energetic. Heavy panting is different, though, and may be a sign your dog is dangerously overheated, coping with a chronic health problem, or has experienced a life-threatening trauma. Here are answers to three important questions every dog owner should know:
What are the common causes of heavy panting in dogs?What can I do about them?When is it time to see the vet?
Panting helps dogs cool off when they’re hot or engaged in vigorous exercise. Dogs take between ten and thirty breaths a minute, depending on their size. Get to know what your dog’s everyday breathing and panting looks like so you’ll more quickly notice suspicious changes.
Some common reasons dogs pant heavily include: Heatstroke or poisoning. It’s normal for a dog to start breathing harder or panting after exertion. And some dogs, like Boston terriers, bulldogs, and pugs, are prone to heavier breathing than other dogs because of their short snouts. However, heavy panting is also a sign a dog may be suffering from heatstroke or may have consumed a toxic substance.
If you can’t find any obvious reason for a sudden change in your dog’s breathing, take them to a veterinarian immediately. If you suspect heatstroke, first follow the steps at the end of this article to help cool your dog safely. Chronic illness. Illnesses like heart failure, Cushing’s syndrome, or respiratory disorders can all cause heavy breathing or panting in dogs:
Heart failure : Like people, dogs can suffer from heart failure. And just like people, dogs may show some of the same symptoms, including breathing difficulty, reduced exercise tolerance, and coughing, How your dog’s heart failure is treated depends on the cause. But treatment may include medications such as ACE inhibitors and diuretics. Cushing’s syndrome, This occurs when a dog’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Along with heavy panting, symptoms can include excessive hunger, thirst and urination, hair loss, and a pot-bellied appearance. Treatment varies but may include adrenal-suppressing drugs or surgery. Respiratory disorders, Several respiratory disorders, such as laryngeal paralysis, pneumonia, and lung tumors, may all lead to heavy breathing or panting. Treatment depends on the condition and how far it’s progressed.
Injury and pain. Dogs can’t tell us with words when they’re in pain. So, it’s up to us to know what to look for. Heavy panting is one sign your dog may have suffered an injury. Other signs of pain or trauma in pets include enlarged pupils, reduced appetite, a reluctance to lie down, restlessness, anxiety, and licking or biting at the pain site.
Dogs may mask their pain with normal behaviors, such as wagging their tail. And an injury may be internal – for example, as a result of being hit by a car. So if you suspect your pet may be in pain, don’t delay. Seek veterinary care right away. Medication. Some medications, such as prednisone, may also lead to heavy panting in dogs.
Talk to your veterinarian if you think your dog’s medication is causing heavy panting. Heavy breathing or deep, intense panting can also be a symptom of eclampsia, also called milk fever. Eclampsia is a dangerous condition that affects nursing mothers; low blood calcium levels lead to an inability to stand or walk and tremors.
And allergies, infection, or irritation within the airways can cause wheezy, noisy breathing in dogs. No matter what kind of breathing your dog usually has, any unexplained change – whether heavy panting, coughing, or wheezing – always rates a call to your vet. Overheating is a medical emergency – and one of the most serious reasons for heavy panting in dogs.
If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, a quick response can be lifesaving. Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, glassy eyes, weakness, fast heart rate, drooling, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and a body temperature over 104 F. If possible, take a rectal temp.
Move your dog inside or to a shady spot.Submerge your dog in cool water (avoid cold water, which constricts blood vessels) or cold towels to your dog’s chest, neck, and head. Don’t spray your dog with a yard hose – on hot days the water inside a hose can reach near boiling temperatures. You want to cool them off gradually.Give your dog cool, not cold, water. Or give them ice cubes to lick.After you’ve started cooling your dog down, take your dog to the vet immediately.
The best way to manage heatstroke is to avoid it. Never leave your pet in a parked car. It’s better to leave your pet at home than to risk heatstroke. At home, be sure to provide all pets with shade and water or a way to get inside during the hottest part of the day.
Your dog’s panting starts suddenly.You think your dog may be in pain.The panting is constant and intense.Your dog’s tongue or gums appear blue, purple, or white – a sign your pet isn’t getting enough oxygen.
- 0.1 When should I worry about dog panting?
- 1 Does panting mean a dog is in pain?
- 2 Why is my dog panting and won’t lay down?
- 3 Should my dog be panting at rest?
- 4 Is it bad if my dog is panting really hard?
When should I worry about dog panting?
Dogs & Panting – To help you recognize abnormal breathing or excessive panting in your dog, you need to know your dog’s healthy breathing pattern. On average a healthy dog will take between 15 to 35 breaths per minute when they are resting. (By nature your dog will breathe more heavily and pant when exercising).
- Therefore, anything more than 40 breaths a minute when your dog is at rest is considered to be abnormal and should be investigated.
- 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 four-legged friend get their body temperature back to normal.
Why is my dog panting so much for no reason?
As temperatures rise, so too do the numbers of dogs we see panting. We tend to take this behavior for granted simply because it seems so darned normal. But, is it always normal? While most panting occurs as a means of counteracting overheating (the canine version of sweating), it can also be prompted for a whole host of other reasons.
- Normal panting Dogs rely on panting as their primary means for getting rid of excess body heat,
- Panting allows evaporation of water and heat across the moist surfaces of the lungs, tongue, and surfaces within the mouth.
- So it makes physiologic sense for a dog to pant on a hot day or following exercise,
Dogs do have sweat glands on the undersides of their paws and within their ears, but these glands really have only minimal cooling capabilities. Abnormal panting Panting is considered abnormal when it occurs for reasons other than heat dissipation, and can be recognized by one or more of the following characteristics:
Appears excessive compared to the dog’s normal panting patternOccurs at inappropriate times (when the dog is not overly warm)Sounds raspier, louder, or harsher than normalOccurs with more exertion than normal
Listed below are some of the more common causes of abnormal panting: 1. Anxiety, stress or fear Panting is one of the primary behaviors exhibited by anxious, stressed, or fearful dogs. This “behavioral panting” may be accompanied by other fear or stress indicators such as:
YawningWhiningReclusive behaviorA tucked tailHidingClingy behaviorFlattened earsDroolingLip lickingA crouched postureDilated pupilsTremblingFood refusalLoss of bladder or bowel control
2. Pain Excessive panting is a common symptom of discomfort or pain, In fact, dogs who are uncomfortable often exhibit panting well before more obvious indicators of pain, such as whining or limping, arise.3. Heart failure When the heart is doing an inadequate job of pumping blood around the body, the tissues become deprived of oxygen.
- One of the best ways to correct this oxygen depletion is by increasing the respiratory rate, and this often results in panting.4.
- Lung disease The lungs are where the transfer of oxygen to the bloodstream takes place.
- When lung disease prevents this from occurring, oxygen deprivation results.
- Just as is the case with heart failure, the natural response of the dog is to breathe faster and harder which translates into excessive and exertional panting.5.
Anemia Anemia is defined as a decrease in the red blood cell count. Given that red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the body’s tissues, it makes sense that moderate or severe anemia results in oxygen deprivation. Just as is the case with heart failure and lung disease, the dog’s natural response to this is escalated respirations and panting.6.
- Laryngeal paralysis The larynx is the opening to the windpipe (trachea).
- It contains cartilage flaps that operate like saloon doors- opening wide during breathing and closing during swallowing.
- With laryngeal paralysis, one or both of the laryngeal cartilages fail to open normally, creating turbulent, restricted airflow and panting that is often raspy sounding and much louder than usual.7.
Cushing’s disease Cushing’s disease is a hormonal imbalance that occurs primarily in middle aged and older dogs. It is caused by the overproduction of cortisone (steroids) by the adrenal glands. One of the earliest and most common symptoms of this disease is excessive and inappropriate panting.
- Successful treatment of the Cushing’s disease typically resolves the abnormal panting.8.
- Cortisone (steroid) therapy Treatment with prednisone, prednisolone, or other forms of cortisone mimics Cushing’s disease (see above).
- Many dogs receiving steroids demonstrate excessive and inappropriate panting that typically goes away within a few weeks after the medication is discontinued.
Abnormal panting deserves attention! Observation of abnormal panting should prompt an office visit with your veterinarian, even if everything else about your dog appears to be perfectly normal. The sooner the cause of the abnormal panting is discovered, the greater the likelihood of a good outcome.
Is my dog’s panting normal or abnormal?What can be done to determine the cause of my dog’s abnormal panting?What can be done to treat the cause of my dog’s abnormal panting?
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
How long is too long for a dog to pant?
An in-shape, healthy dog typically pants for around 10 minutes after vigorous exercise, though this can vary widely depending on circumstances. Discover when panting could be problematic and when it warrants a trip to the vet.
Why is my dog panting so fast while resting?
When should I be concerned about my dog’s rapid breathing? – If your dog is breathing fast while at rest or sleeping, they could be exhibiting symptoms of respiratory distress. Contact your vet if you notice any of the following signs:
Engaging stomach muscles to help breathe Reluctance to drink, eat or move Pale, blue-tinged, or brick red gums Uncharacteristic drooling Open-mouthed breathing Heavy, fast breathing (sounding different from their normal panting)
Does panting mean a dog is in pain?
Do dogs pant when in pain? If your dog is panting heavily but hasn’t been exercising, it could be that they’re in pain. Dogs in pain will often pant well before displaying more obvious signs, such as a limp or whining. It’s worth bearing in mind that dogs with shallow breathing could also be suffering pain.
Why is my dog panting and won’t lay down?
A dog who suddenly can’t or won’t lie down, has labored breathing when lying down, or assumes the ‘praying position’ of lying down with his bum in the air, may be experiencing pain or discomfort due to a serious medical condition: pancreatitis, bloat, or heart disease, for example.
Does panting mean a dog is thirsty?
Why Do Dogs Pant? – Dogs pant for a lot of reasons! It’s a way to quickly catch their breath after exercising. Dogs also pant when they’re afraid, anxious, excited, happy, hot, overheated, in pain, stressed, thirsty, or uncomfortable. It’s important to keep in mind that some panting is completely normal.
Are dogs happy when panting?
Play – Panting may simply be a sign of happiness in your dog. If so, the rest of your dog’s body language will reflect this happy mood. The tail will usually be wagging in a happy way, Your dog’s body and facial features will be somewhat relaxed. The eyes will appear bright and happy.
Should my dog be panting at rest?
Take Note of What Your Dog Is Doing – Panting should correlate with the outside temperature or activity. Healthy dogs usually don’t need to pant in the absence of exercise or excitement. Could your dog be stressed, excited, or hot? If so, this is probably normal dog panting. If your dog is panting or breathing rapidly during rest or sleep, however, this is often abnormal panting.
Is stress panting bad for dogs?
Feeling Pain – Dogs in pain will often pant excessively. If your dog is panting and seems to be in pain, it’s best to take them to the vet right away. Once you have determined the reason for the panting, the next step is to take some deep breaths yourself and try to remain calm.
Dogs can sense when their owners are stressed and this will only make the situation worse. If you’re calm, your dog will be more likely to calm down as well. The next step is to offer your dog some water. A panting dog can become dehydrated quickly, so it’s important to offer them water as soon as possible.
If they’re not interested in drinking, you can try offering them some ice cubes or frozen dog treats. If your dog is still panting excessively, the next step is to take them to the vet. They may need to be seen by a doctor if they are panting due to a high fever, pain, or anxiety.
Is it bad if my dog is panting really hard?
Panting is normal for dogs. Since they sweat only through their paw pads, they need to pant to dispel excess heat. Panting that starts suddenly, occurs for no apparent reason, sounds unusually harsh, or is accompanied by symptoms such as shaking and pain is not normal. If you observe this kind of panting, call a vet. Heavy panting has a number of causes including anxiety, trauma, and a variety of diseases and conditions. Treatment is different for different causes. Heavy panting caused by heatstroke is a medical emergency and must be addressed immediately.
Sometimes an animal needs immediate hands-on treatment and requires a visit to a local veterinary clinic. However, much of your pet’s routine care doesn’t require a live face-to-face meeting with a doctor. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to maintain pet health without taking time off work or waiting weeks for an appointment? Well, there is.
- Dutch is a veterinary company that provides online care for your animals.
- It’s becoming more commonplace for people to consult their human doctors over the internet, and now Dutch makes it possible to do the same thing for pets.
- Just as tele-medicine connects people with actual doctors, Dutch maintains board-certified veterinarians who are experienced in animal health care.
To work with Dutch, you start with an online visit. A veterinarian determines if your animal is a good fit for the program. If they are, Dutch vets customize a treatment plan and send drugs and even prescription medications right to your front door. Dutch maintains a relationship with local vets across the country and will recommend that you see one for issues that can’t be dealt with remotely.
Why is my dog panting for 30 minutes?
Being overly warm will cause your dog to pant in order to cool down. Typically, if your dog’s panting does not subside, you will want to do a thorough examination of your dog. Feel your dog’s groin and if it feels hot to the touch, your dog is overheated, either from heatstroke or a fever.
Check your dog’s mouth, tongue and gums, they should be a pink color. A very pale pink or white color or a bluish purple to the tongue and gums means that there could be a serious health issue. You will need to seek emergency veterinary care. Allergic reactions or poisonings will need immediate veterinary care.
Allergic reactions could be from insect stings, food or an environmental cause. Poisonings could be intentional or unintentional and can come from food, chemicals or plants. If you see your dog eating something unusual, try to get a sample to take with you to the veterinary clinic.
- Other possible causes that may not require an emergency visit to a veterinary clinic but will require veterinary care include heartworms, anemia or infection.
- In most cases where your dog is overstimulated from nervousness, fear or excitability, you can speak with your veterinarian about different ways to calm your dog.
Some veterinarians will recommend natural ways to calm your dog’s nervousness or fear. Seeking the advice of a qualified dog trainer could also help your dog.
Is 40 breaths per minute bad for a dog?
Why is my dog breathing fast? – To be able to spot abnormal breathing, we need to understand what a healthy respiratory (breathing) rate for a dog is. An average healthy pet should take between 15 to 35 breaths per minute when resting. (Of course, while exercising, your pooch will naturally breathe faster).
- Anything above 40 breaths per minute while your dog is at rest, is considered abnormal and worth investigating.
- That said, pet parents need to keep in mind that not all panting is bad.
- Panting helps your pup to regulate their body temperature, cooling them down and allowing water and heat to evaporate from the tongue, the mouth, and upper respiratory tract.
Unlike people, your pup doesn’t sweat to cool down, instead, they need to breathe fast to allow air to circulate efficiently through the body. Rapid breathing allows a dog’s body to get back to a normal temperature.
Do dogs pant when sick?
Pain or Discomfort – Dogs are pretty good at hiding pain and illness from humans. Some dogs try harder than others to hide their discomfort. However, once they reach a certain level of discomfort, they often cannot help but show signs, such as panting.
How do you tell if my dog is panting too fast?
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.
Should I take my dog to the vet for panting?
When to see a vet – You must see a veterinarian if your dog seems unwell or has other symptoms. Weight changes, episodes of lethargy or collapse, drinking excessively, coughing, and discomfort are all signs that need investigating. If your dog pants a lot at rest or when they are not hot, then this is another indication you should see your veterinarian.
Does panting mean a dog is having trouble breathing?
Panting is natural for dogs — it’s how they cool themselves. However, sometimes panting and wheezing can be signs your dog is experiencing respiratory distress — symptoms related to breathing problems.