Is My Dog Panting Too Much?

It is a beautiful day. The sky is not only cloud-free, but the shade of blue could make even the grouchiest person smile. Even though the temperature is approaching triple digits, your dog brings you his leash. You have just been given the ‘dog code’ for, ‘let’s go to the park!’

So, you being the proactive dog owner you are, you pack up some frosty bottles of water and the portable water bowl. Dog park, here we come! The leash snaps to the collar and your off!

An hour after you get back home you notice something rather frightening. Your dog is still panting very heavy and he seems to be in distress. You gave him plenty of cool water during the trip to the park, and you took frequent breaks.

The four-legged member of the family is now looking at you as he never has before. Just by looking into his eyes, you can hear him asking for help. You just don’t know how to help him.

The story above, even though frightening, is meant as a ‘for instance.’ Thank God I have never had to deal with my dog in such a situation. However, every dog owner should be able to recognize when their dog is in distress. And what to do about it.

Today we try to answer the question, ‘is my dog panting too much?’ and the ways you can tell.

Panting explained

All dogs pant. It’s is their way of releasing built-up internal heat. Much like the way your radiator keeps the engine in your car cool. A dog pants like human sweats, it’s all to rid the body of excess heat.

If your dog is still heavily panting from being outside 30 to 45 minutes after coming inside, there’s trouble. Dogs can suffer heat stroke just like humans. They can also go into heat-related seizures. The excess panting is either dehydration or the presence of an illness.

Some dogs are more prone to heavy panting than others. Overweight dogs hardly ever stop their panting. Breeds who suffer from respiratory conditions frequently pant as well. Boston Terriers and Pugs come to mind.

Excessive panting

The most common cause of excessive panting is dehydration. But you and your dog both took frequent water breaks, how could he be dehydrated?

Because of the fact he can’t sweat like a human. A human will sweat according to the amount of heat the body is trying to overcome.

People who sweat profusely have usually just participated in a very long period of being really hot. If a dog’s panting can’t keep up with the amount of heat built up, it doesn’t matter how much water he drinks.

The dehydrated dog will often suffer a heat stroke, or go into a seizure. It’s their body saying it can’t keep up.

Check to see if your dog’s tongue is bright red, or if his saliva is thick and sticky. These are the first indicative symptoms of dehydration.

If the dog is also vomiting or experiencing diarrhea as well he could be becoming infected with an illness alongside the dehydration.

Either way, it would be best to get his vet involved as soon as possible.

Avoiding heatstroke

As soon as you notice the dog is panting an hour after the park visit you can help avoid a possible heat stroke. Run him a tub of cool not very cold water. Immerse him in the water and begin to pour handfuls of water all over him.

Usually, a cup of some kind will do the trick. If you notice the panting beginning to ease up, then all should be fine.

If the dog is still panting and has the red tongue condition after 30 minutes of the water therapy, seek medical attention.

Breathing problems

If your dog is panting excessively and hasn’t been outside or been active, he may have some respiratory issues. We have already mentioned over weight as a possible cause as well as certain breeds.

But panting could indicate conditions such as a larynx infection, pneumonia, or even lung tumors. Again, the only way to know to for sure is to take the dog to his vet.

Could the dog be in pain?

A dog will pant heavily if they are in pain. They could have suffered some trauma from an injury such as being hit by a car. If the injury has caused any internal problems, the only outward symptom they may show could be panting.

If the dog seems to be fine but is excessively panting, check him over. If he has any internal injuries he will respond when you touch the spot affected. His pupils will also be enlarged and fixed if the trauma is the issue.

Is the dog on any medication?

Has your dog recently been to the vet and put on any steroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs? If so, he might be having an allergic reaction.

One of the first signs of drug allergies in dogs is panting without cause. Another symptom is excessive thirst and hunger. Steroids will often cause these types of reactions.

The vet can properly diagnose any such allergy.

Heart problems

When a human has a heart condition, the most visible symptom is labored breathing. The body is trying to pump more oxygen to the area in question and it closely resembles a panting dog.

Dogs are just as equally vulnerable to heart problems as people are. And most of the time the only external symptom is labored breathing, or panting, as well.

Most, if not all of the reasons a dog excessively pants is cause for medical treatment. It is a warning sign there is danger ahead.

In conclusion

So, now we know a dog pants, like human sweats. Unless there are some rather serious issues at hand.

We also know we love our dogs very much, and we will do anything to keep from seeing them in distress.

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