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Excessive Panting in Dogs

Have you observed your dog panting without engaging in play or exercise? Our veterinarians in North Providence will outline some of the potential causes for your dog's excessive panting and advise you on when it's necessary to schedule a vet assessment for them.

Panting in Dogs

You should familiarize yourself with your pup's healthy breathing rate to recognize abnormal breathing and panting in your dog. Typically, healthy dogs rest at a rate of 15 to 35 breaths per minute. During exercise, dogs naturally breathe more heavily and may pant. Therefore, if your dog is resting and breathing at a rate exceeding 40 breaths per minute, it should be considered abnormal and warrant further investigation.

It's crucial to understand that panting doesn't always signal a problem. Panting is your pup's method for cooling down and regulating their body temperature. This process involves expelling heat and moisture through their mouth, tongue, and respiratory tract.

Unlike humans, who can sweat to cool down, dogs rely on rapid breathing to facilitate air circulation within their bodies. Panting is an essential mechanism that helps your canine companion return their body temperature to a normal level.

Signs of Excessive Panting in Dogs

To determine if your dog is panting heavily, count their breaths for a minute while they rest or sleep. Establishing their baseline respiratory rate is valuable, even when your dog doesn't behave worrisily.

A normal respiratory rate for a dog is typically less than 30 breaths per minute, while anything exceeding 35 breaths per minute is generally a cause for concern. Your veterinarian will comprehensively understand your dog's usual respiratory rate based on previous examinations.

Causes of Heavy Panting in Dogs

Brachycephalic dog breeds, including Boston terriers, boxers, and pugs, are at a heightened risk of developing breathing problems. Pet owners should closely monitor these breeds, characterized by 'squished faces' or shortened snouts, for any signs of increased respiratory effort.

Nevertheless, it's not only short-nosed breeds that encounter challenges in breathing normally. Regardless of your dog's breed, heavy panting and rapid breathing may indicate an injury or illness that requires immediate veterinary attention. Several potential causes of fast or unusually heavy breathing in dogs include

  • Exercise
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Asthma
  • Windpipe Issues
  • Smoke Inhalation
  • Kennel Cough
  • Pressure on Wind Pipe
  • Stiffening of Airways
  • Fungal Respiratory Infection
  • Lung Diseases such as cancer
  • Bacterial Respiratory Infection
  • Heat Stroke
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Nausea
  • Parasites
  • Hernia
  • Anemia
  • Pneumonia
  • Collapsing Windpipe
  • Compressed Lungs
  • Breed Characteristics

When to Call Your Vet For Your Dog's Panting

If you observe your dog panting excessively while at rest or during sleep, it could indicate respiratory distress. If your dog displays any of the following symptoms, your immediate action should be to contact our emergency vet in North Providence without delay. They will guide you on the necessary steps until you can reach an animal hospital.

  • Their panting starts suddenly
  • Pale, blue-tinged, or brick-red gums
  • Open-mouthed breathing while at rest
  • Reluctance to drink, eat, or move
  • Out-of-character drooling
  • Noticeably labored breathing (engaging stomach muscles to help breathe)
  • Heavy, fast breathing that's louder or different sounding than normal panting

Diagnosing The Cause of Your Dog's Excessive Panting

Your vet can perform a comprehensive physical examination of your dog to pinpoint the underlying cause of your pup's excessive panting, whether it's related to their airways, neck, head, or other areas. Your pup's overall health or condition could also be a contributing factor.

To provide an accurate diagnosis, your vet will inquire about any previous medical issues your pup has encountered and might suggest diagnostic tests, including X-rays, to assess the heart, lungs, and abdomen for potential issues such as lung tumors or fractured ribs.

Additionally, the veterinarian will closely observe your dog for any signs of anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors that could be triggering rapid breathing.

Treating Excessive Panting in Dogs

The treatments for your dog's excessive panting depend on the underlying cause of their symptoms. Your veterinarian may prescribe various treatments or medications, such as painkillers, intravenous fluids, or other medications, to help your dog recover and return to their normal state of health.

If your pup's heavy breathing is due to anxiety or stress, your vet may recommend specialized training with a certified dog behaviorist.

In cases of severe dog conditions, rest and oxygen therapy may be necessary to initiate your pooch's path to recovery. While most dogs can receive treatment at home, hospitalization may be required for serious injuries or illnesses. This allows for monitoring your dog's breathing and resolving underlying health conditions contributing to their excessive panting.

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.

Are you worried about your dog's panting while resting or sleeping? Contact our vets in North Providence immediately for emergency care in our advanced facility.

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Ferguson Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of North Providence companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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