Most people are aware that dogs pant when they are tired or excited, or nervous. This is normal behavior for dogs, and it is not usually a cause for concern. However, there are instances when you should be worried about your dog panting, and dog owners need to recognize the warning signs of panting that are linked with a health concern. Knowing your own dog’s unique behaviors can also help you to identify instances when panting might not be normal.
If you are not sure what normal panting is compared to panting, which is linked with a health issue, you need to keep reading. There are various signs that can indicate that your dog is panting because they are not feeling well. Recognizing these signs can ensure that your pet gets medical care right away when they need it.
What Are the Common Causes of Heavy Panting in Dogs?
There are some common health concerns that can cause your dog to pant heavily. These conditions are not the only reasons that your pet might be panting very heavily, but they are the common reasons that pets can require medical attention.
This is a very common health issue in dogs that have been outside when the weather is hot, exerting, or just lying in the sun. Heatstroke can happen to any dog of any age when they are outside without access to water when the ambient temperature is above 80 degrees. Dogs should be protected from getting heatstroke, as this is a life-threatening health concern. If your dog is panting heavily, seems confused, or has started vomiting, you need to rush them to the veterinarian immediately. Dogs need medical attention within half an hour of the onset of heatstroke symptoms.
Dogs with heart conditions or heart failure often paint heavily. This is because their heart is not circulating blood through the body correctly or efficiently. This can lead to other symptoms like reduced energy and even collapse as well. Make sure that you have your dog looked at by a vet if they seem to pant very heavily when exercising or if they have suddenly slowed down a lot and seem to have limited energy.
Respiratory Health Issues
Dogs with things like lung tumors or pneumonia might pant heavily. This kind of panting can often be paired with coughing, and your pet might even cough up fluid or blood. Treatment of these conditions can vary depending on the severity of the problem. You will need to be sure that your pet sees the vet right away if they are showing any of these added symptoms, along with heavy panting.
Cushing’s syndrome causes the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol, which can lead to panting, excessive hunger, and thirst, and a pot-bellied appearance in dogs. You will need to take your dog to the vet to have them tested for Cushing’s so that you can begin treating them before their condition worsens. There are other metabolic conditions that can cause symptoms like Cushing’s Syndrome as well, and your vet can help identify these conditions by testing if Cushing’s is not the reason for your pet’s panting.
Dogs might also pant heavily when they are in pain or when they are scared. These kinds of panting can be harder to link with specific physical symptoms, but they still necessitate a visit to the vet. Even if your pet is just panting and pacing around, they might be in pain, or there might be some kind of health issue causing their distress. Your vet can look at your pet and figure out if there is anything going on with their health that is causing them to pant heavily or be distressed.
When is Panting Normal?
Normal panting in dogs can be linked with exertion, worry, or excitement. When your dog is panting normally, they should cease panting after a few minutes or after they have rested for a short time. Dogs that are panting normally will also typically appear to feel well and will not act worried or scared. If your dog is panting for longer than half an hour or they seem anxious, distressed, or in pain, the panting that you are noticing might not be normal.
It is typically very easy to recognize panting that is linked with a health issue because of the dog’s overall demeanor. Pets that feel well should seem happy and content, even if they are panting. Pets that have access to water after they have exerted should pant for a while but then cease panting and act normal again. Tracking the way that your dog expresses panting behaviors can help you to be aware of panting that is happening for health-related reasons.
Panting in Dogs Can be Normal or a Sign of Health Issues
There are many reasons that your dog might pant. You need to be sure that you are aware of your dog’s normal panting behavior when they are exerting or are excited so that you can recognize times when they might be feeling sick. Panting that is excessive, or that is paired with other symptoms like vomiting, confusion, or collapse can indicate a serious health condition. Dogs that have been out in the sun and are panting heavily might need to be rushed to the vet for treatment of heatstroke or for severe dehydration.
When you know more about the reasons that your dog might be panting, you are more likely to be able to get them medical care when they need it. Being sure that you are familiar with healthy panting and that you recognize the signs of unhealthy panting can make a big impact on the care that you provide to your dog. While dog panting is part of a healthy dog’s routine, you will need to be sure that you keep an eye out for times when your dog might be panting due to a health issue.
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