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Excessive Panting in Dogs

Your dog panting excessively can be a cause for concern. In this blog, our veterinarians from San Mateo share reasons why your dog may be panting and when to bring them in for a check-up.

What causes heavy panting in dogs?

Dogs typically take between 15 and 35 breaths per minute, but this rate can vary based on factors such as heat or physical activity.

However, if you notice that your dog is panting rapidly or for longer periods than usual, and their breathing exceeds 40 breaths per minute, this may be excessive panting.

If the panting doesn't subside after your dog cools down or relaxes, there may be an underlying issue. Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature since they don't sweat. Panting releases heat from the mouth, tongue, and respiratory tract.

Nevertheless, excessive panting can indicate a more serious problem. At South Hillsdale Animal Hospital, our vets can help you identify excessive panting and provide guidance on how to help your furry friend.

How do I know if my dog is panting excessively?

Dog owners must monitor their dog's breathing regularly while they are healthy. This helps establish a healthy basis for their breathing patterns. Doing so makes it easier to identify any excessive or rapid panting in dogs when it occurs.

Awareness of your dog's breathing patterns makes it easier to notice excessive panting. If you do notice this, taking your pup to the vet for a check-up is recommended to eliminate any concerns.

How do dogs cool off by panting?

Water has a unique property known as high heat vaporization. It takes a lot of heat to turn 1 gram of water into gas or "vaporize." This means that when a dog pants, the water or saliva on its tongue evaporates, cooling their mouth and body.

Excessive Panting in Older Dogs

Excessive panting in older dogs may be caused by health conditions linked to their age, such as laryngeal paralysis, pyothorax, lung tumors, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

However, it's important not to jump to conclusions, as dogs, like humans, lose stamina and athleticism as they age. 

If you've noticed your senior dog panting more than usual, it could simply be due to their lower energy levels. This is normal and expected as dogs get older.

However, if you've noticed a gradual increase in panting over time, it's best to take your furry friend to the vet just to be safe. 

While it's possible that the panting is just due to old age, there could be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Don't take any chances with your dog's health.

It's always better to be safe than sorry. Contact your vet if your senior pup has excessive or rapid panting.

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:

  • Asthma
  • 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
  • Parasites
  • Pneumonia
  • Compressed Lungs
  • Hernia
  • Heat Stroke
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Exercise

When should I be concerned about my dog's rapid panting?

If you want to check your dog's breathing and know whether it's a cause for concern, one of the best ways is to do so while they're asleep or lying down, completely relaxed. If you observe excessive panting or any of the following symptoms while your dog is in a relaxed state, it's crucial to contact your vet right away:

  • 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 observe any of these signs in your dog, or if your dog has been panting for an extended period of time and you are uncertain about the reason, it is advisable to take them to the vet without delay.

Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your dog's respiratory health to identify the possible causes of rapid breathing. They will then provide a diagnosis or treatment plan to help address the issue.

In most cases, your dog should be able to recover at home. However, some serious cases may require hospitalization so your dog's breathing can be monitored and the underlying cause can be treated.

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.

If you are worried about your dog's panting, contact our San Mateo vets to book an examination. Our caring vets are here to help your pup feel better and relieve your worries.

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At South Hillsdale Animal Hospital, our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Mateo companion animals. Get in touch today to learn more about our services and becoming a new client with us.

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