Why is my dog panting so much?
Panting is a natural part of a dog’s internal cooling system, however, if your dog pants unusually rapidly or for prolonged periods with no obvious cause, there can be many reasons for this. Obviously, if it’s a very hot day and the dog is too warm, it is going to pant but most dog owners recognize when their dog’s panting changes in pattern and this can be an indication that the dog is sick.
Most healthy dogs breathe around 15 to 20 times per minute, though of course this varies from breed to breed. If your dog starts to breathe more heavily than this, and hasn’t recently exerted itself or something similar, then again, this may be cause for concern. Some of the more serious illnesses that can cause excessive breathing and panting are dehydration, sun or heat stroke, anemia, unexplained pain or hemorrhaging internally.
Other causes include worms such as heartworm or lungworm and as with the conditions above, these need medical attention and depending upon the severity of the dog’s condition, urgent veterinary care may be warranted. Alternatively, being severely overweight may be the cause of the animal’s panting. Just like humans, a dog who is carrying too much weight will struggle when it’s too hot or is under any stress.
Panting may also be an indication of heart and/or lung disorders, as well as many other conditions so again, a visit to your veterinarian is the best thing to do if you’re worried. You should take note too of other symptoms that may accompany the panting, such as excessive salivation or any unusual sounds from the chest or throat of your dog. Wheezing or coughing in association with panting may indicate some thoracic disorder also.
One of the other confusing conditions that may cause a dog to pant hard is canine stroke, though this is quite rare. In addition to panting, the dog may have difficulty balancing or may turn the wrong way when you call him/her. The animal may show signs of excessive lethargy or may experience sudden changes in behavior. Only your veterinarian will be able to affirmatively diagnose canine stroke, so as always, if you’re in any doubt as to whether your dog’s behavior or symptoms are abnormal, medical attention is the best way to establish what’s going on with your dog.
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