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Excessive Panting in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Concerns

Excessive Panting in Dogs: Causes, Signs, and Concerns

If your dog is panting excessively and rapidly, it may be a cause for concern. Our vets in Clearlake have outlined some possible reasons for this behavior, as well as when it may be necessary to bring your dog in for a check-up.

What causes heavy panting in dogs?

Dogs typically breathe between 15 and 35 times per minute, with this rate varying depending on their physical activity and the temperature around them.

However, if you observe your furry friend panting rapidly or for longer than usual, it could be a cause for concern.

Panting occurs when a dog's breathing exceeds 40 times per minute and persists even after they have cooled down from physical activity.

Since dogs cannot sweat, panting is their way of regulating body temperature by releasing heat from their respiratory system, tongue, and mouth.

Nonetheless, excessive panting may signal an underlying problem. Our veterinary experts at Clearlake Veterinary Clinic can help you learn to recognize excessive panting and how to assist your dog.

How do I know if my dog is panting excessively?

It's important for dog owners to regularly monitor their pet's breathing while they're healthy to establish a baseline of what's normal. This will make it easier to notice any excessive or rapid panting in the future.

Knowing your dog's breathing patterns can help you detect any potential health issues early on. If you notice your dog panting excessively, taking them for a check-up is a good idea to rule out any potential concerns.

How do dogs cool off by panting?

Water has a property of high heat vaporization. A large amount of heat must be absorbed into 1 gram of water to turn into gas or "vaporize." This means that as a dog pants, the water or saliva on its tongue evaporates, resulting in a cooling effect on their mouth and body. 

Excessive Panting in Older Dogs

Excessive panting in senior dogs could be caused by health conditions that link to their age, such as laryngeal paralysis, pyothorax, lung tumors, bronchitis, and pneumonia. There's no need to jump to such serious conclusions, though! Just like humans, dogs lose stamina and athleticism as they age. More noticeable panting in your older furry friend could be a result of their lower energy levels. If you've noticed a gradual incline of panting in your senior dog over recent months or years, it is likely due to their age.

However, our vets still recommend you take your senior pup in to the clinic if you notice excessive or rapid panting. As with young dogs, an underlying issue could be at play, so don't risk leaving a serious health condition untreated and contact your vet.

Why is my dog breathing fast?

Dogs with flat faces, like pugs and bulldogs, tend to pant or breathe heavily more often. Nonetheless, there can be numerous reasons why your dog may pant excessively.

  • 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?

One of the best ways to detect if your dog's breathing is at a concerning level is to check it while they're asleep or lying down, completely relaxed. If you notice excessive panting or any of the following symptoms while your dog is relaxed, contact your vet immediately:

  • 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 symptoms or your dog has been panting for an extended period of time, it's best to take them to the vet without delay. Your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive examination of your dog to identify the underlying cause of the rapid breathing. They will examine your pet's respiratory health and provide a diagnosis or treatment plan to address the problem.

Typically, your canine companion can recuperate at home, but severe cases may necessitate hospitalization for monitoring their breathing and addressing the root cause.

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 Clearlake vets to book an examination. Our caring vets are here to help your pup feel better and relieve your worries.

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Clearlake Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clearlake companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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