Panting is something that all normal dogs do. In some cases, this panting can seem excessive, and there may be an underlying issue. This article covers some common causes and what you should do to help your pet.
Table of Content
- Variety of reasons including heat, behavioral, and illness
- If the cause is not obvious, then an examination by a veterinarian is advised
- Treatment options depend on what is diagnosed
- Some breeds are more prone to excessive panting than others
- Never allow your dog to overheat, heat-stroke can be fatal
Dogs, affecting any age group
Symptoms and types
Signs of excessive panting include noisy open mouth breathing, often with their tongue hanging out. Breathing is more rapid and shallow than usual.
If your dog is struggling to move enough oxygen around, you may notice a change in the color of their gums from a healthy pink to a pale or even blue color.
Understanding the diagnostics
Your veterinarian will check your pet to look for clues on physical examination. They will listen to your dog’s heart and lungs and take their temperature.
If they have any concerns, they may recommend a blood sample as the next step, and possibly diagnostic imaging like x-rays or ultrasound scans.
Learning about the causes
5. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
6. Heart failure
7. Respiratory disease
8. Endocrine disorders
Best treatment options
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your dog’s panting and can vary from no treatment to long-term medication or even surgery for BOAS problems. You may also be referred to a canine behaviorist if panting appears to be related to stress and anxiety.
Home remedies and their effectiveness
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.
There are several possible underlying causes for this including structural abnormalities (flat-nose dogs with difficulty breathing), underlying medical conditions, and behavioral issues.
A check-up with the veterinarian can help you to work out what the cause is
Panting happens when body temperature rises, which normally occurs because of exercise, excitement, or warm weather. So, it would be considered unusual for your dog to be panting when he was relaxed and cool.
Other symptoms which may indicate that his panting behavior is abnormal include a cough, weight loss, a change in thirst/appetite and lethargy.
Panting at night would be considered abnormal, as most dogs should be relaxed and settled. Some medications like prednisolone (steroids) can cause your dog to be disturbed and pant excessively, as can health conditions like Cushing’s disease or cardiac problems. Take your dog to your veterinarian for a check over and some advice.
Avoid overheating, by keeping your dog cool in summer. Keeping them at a lean, healthy weight can help, too. Whilst many of these conditions cannot be prevented, prompt veterinary attention will help manage the symptoms and stop them from getting too bad.
Rebecca is a companion animal vet who has always had a passion for writing and client communication. Since her graduation from the Royal Veterinary college in 2009, she has gained a wealth of experience in first opinion small animal practice, in both clinical and managerial roles. She currently works in the South West and deals with a variety of routine and emergency appointments, but particularly enjoys medicine cases. Outside of work and writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her bouncy flat-coated retriever George!