If your dog is panting or breathing excessively, it's natural to feel concerned. Today, our Oakwood vets share reasons why your dog may be panting excessively and what you can do for your furry friend.
Why a Dog May Pant Excessively
In order to be able to spot your dog's abnormal breathing, we will need to understand what a healthy rate of breathing is for your pup. An average and healthy dog will generally take between 15 and 35 breaths per minute if they are resting. While exercising, your pup will breathe quite a bit faster than that.
Should your dog exhibit a resting breathing rate exceeding 40 breaths per minute, it falls outside the realm of normalcy and should prompt further investigation.
All of that being said, dog owners need to keep in mind that not all panting is bad for your dog. Panting is your pup's way of regulating their body temperature, cooling them down while allowing answer and heat to evaporate through their tongue, mouth, and upper respiratory tract.
Unlike humans, dogs don't rely on sweating to cool down; instead, they rely on rapid breathing to facilitate efficient air circulation throughout their body. This accelerated breathing process is vital for your dog's body to return to its optimal temperature.
How to Tell if Your Dog Is Panting Too Heavily
To determine whether or not your dog is exhibiting an unusually rapid breathing pattern, simply monitor their respiratory rate while they are at rest or asleep. It can be a good call to do so when you aren't concerned about your dog to gain a better understanding of your pet's normal breathing rate. Anything below 30 breaths per minute is considered normal, while anything above that may be a cause for concern.
Causes for Excessive Panting
Your pet's rapid breathing might also serve as an indicator that your furry companion is grappling with an injury or an illness affecting their respiratory system or another part of their body. In such instances, it is imperative to schedule a visit to your veterinarian promptly.
Breeds of dogs with flat faces, squished snouts, or shorter snouts, like pugs, boxers, and Boston terriers can all be more prone to breathing issues than dogs with longer snouts. They should be monitored closely by their owners for signs of issues and breathing difficulties.
Several potential factors can lead to rapid or labored breathing in dogs, including:
- Compressed Lungs
- Breed Characteristics
- Kennel Cough
- Windpipe Issues
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Pressure on the Windpipe
- Bacterial Respiratory Infection
- Fungal Respiratory Infection
- Lung Diseases such as cancer
- Heat Stroke
- Collapsing Windpipe
When to be Concerned
If your dog is breathing faster than normal while they sleep, it may be experiencing respiratory distress. Contact your vet if you notice any of the following signs in your dog:
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Engaging stomach muscles to help to breathe
- Pale, blue-tinged, or brick-red gums
- Reluctance to drink, eat, or move
- Uncharacteristic drooling
- Heavy, fast breathing that's louder or different sounding than normal panting
Diagnosing the Cause of Your Dog's Heavy Panting
Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your puppy to identify any underlying issues they may be experiencing. This examination will encompass an assessment of your pet's heart, lungs, airway, neck, and other internal organs that could potentially be contributing to their distress. Additionally, your pet's overall health condition could be a contributing factor to their current health issue.
To ensure a comprehensive assessment, it's crucial to provide your vet with information about any past medical problems your pet has encountered. Based on their findings, your vet may recommend diagnostic tests such as X-rays to investigate the heart, lungs, and abdomen for conditions such as broken ribs or lung tumors.
Your vet will also check for signs of anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors that may be influencing your pup's breathing.
Treating Excessive Panting in Dogs
Their underlying cause will determine treatment for abnormally fast breathing in dogs. Your vet may prescribe pain relief, intravenous fluids, or other medications to help combat the underlying cause of your pet's breathing issues.
Special training with a certified dog behaviorist may be required if your pet's rapid breathing is caused by stress or anxiety.
Rest and oxygen therapy may be required for your pet, regardless of the underlying cause.
While most dogs will be well enough to be treated at home, in some serious cases, hospitalization may be required 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.