Dog Symptoms: Panting

by admin on July 17, 2010

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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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

JD September 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

My Siberian has been panting mostly at night. He walks two 30 minute walks a day but he has arthritis in his leg. My room is dry and I awake very dry ea. morning also. He even breaths hard when eating and sometimes snorts or coughs. He sometimes crys. He is on arthristis meds; deramaxx 100 mg tab – 1/2 a day or so and tramadol 50 mg twice a day. I am really worried and have seen 2 vets so far who say it’s the arthritis, but I am not sure. With all the meds he still seems uncomfortable. He is 13. I wonder could it be his throat or lungs. He also just got his first case of brown mit looking stuff in his ears and shakes his head. Doc told me to clean by only wiping out. Is this enough? Help please. Worried Mom. Thank you.

admin September 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

From the symptoms you listed such as excessive panting, coughing, and pain while eating it sounds like it could be Laryngeal Paralysis or something even involving his trachea. Have they checked the surrounding area for any tumors or anything that could obstruct his airway?
In the mean time I would make sure to have a fan blowing in your room and even wet the top of his head and ears to keep him cool. If you’re able I would also try to feed him more canned food, or soak his dry kibble in water to make it soft before feeding.
I would definitely go see another veterinarian, it sounds like he has developed some sort of condition probably due to age. It’s a good idea to take video of your dogs’ symptoms to help your vet understand the situation better. It sounds like the last 2 vets you visited aren’t as concerned with the well-being of you and your dog. Keep up posted on what your vet says! Best wishes!!!

JD October 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for the good advice. I tock my dog for xrays and his trachea is slightly bent. This seems to be due to old age; and I found out several other people I know have older dogs with some of the same symptoms. However, we discovered that he has arthritis down his back and even some in his tail. I am taking him in for a recommeded test for cushings and Hypothyroidism as well. I will also bring up the Laryngeal Paralysis to be sure. I got him a new orthopedic foam bed by toppaw that he really loves and we increased his meds for arthritis. He is now sleeping better with less panting. I will still feel better after the tests. My dog and I have such a strong bond. Thanks again, Somewhat less worried mom.

admin October 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I’m so glad you got some kind of answer and getting the care you both deserve. It’ frustrating not knowing what is wrong and how to treat it. A bent trachea definitely fit all the symptoms. All the best and keep us updated on the progress!

meme October 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

my dog is having nosebleed but other than that i see no other signs of abnormalities in him…

admin October 23, 2011 at 12:03 am

Nosebleeds in dogs is not normal. This can be a sign of something as cancer or an infection in the nasal cavity. I would take him in to see a veterinary and find the source of the problem.

LovesPink November 19, 2011 at 1:29 am

My dog is a 9 month old Bernese Mountain Dog and she is full of energy, however, I have just notice recently that she pants quite often for no reason. Yes she pants when she plays around or after going for a walk but when we have not done any activity she pants like crazy. Even at night she pants. There doesn’t look to be anything wrong with her, she is a happy go lucky puppy, I just don’t understand. My boyfriend says that maybe is because her breed grows so fast and big that her lungs haven’t caught up just yet. Very confused…any input would help.

admin November 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Bernese Mountain Dogs are built to withstand cold weather. They have naturally thick coats and bodies. You’re dog is simply panting because she is hot. Some things you can do it keep her cool are: buy a cooling mat, cooling bandanna, wet her ears, forehead, paws, and keep her out of extreme heat, and shave her during the summer months.

Jon Doe December 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

My 13 year old lab has always been a panter (i think cause hes always been a little over weight) but now he pants a little more excessively and it seems his panting has become louder. He has arthritis and joint problems (which is common in larger breeds) and is on carprofen (anti-inflammatory) and tramadol (pain killer). He has been walking a little more gingerly lately and im becoming a little concerned about his panting. What can be the cause of this?

LovesPink January 10, 2012 at 1:46 am

Thank you for your response I do some of those suggestions. I also have a 12 year old lab. His hind legs are going on him he has a hard time getting up from lying down, sitting and going up the stairs. We have been giving him glucosemean however he still struggles. He now huffs/pants very hard after do exerts himself whether its going down the stairs or just walking around. With that being said he seems happy however I’m concerned that he is suffering. Your input is appreciated.

Lindsey January 17, 2012 at 6:47 am

Hi there,
I have a 9 year old boarder collie. She is extremly playful at her age plays fetch etc; however i have noticed in the past 4 days shes panting more heavier and frequently. Shes a inside dog and has a big mat she sleeps on. Its not a thick warm mat since she has a lot of hair. We have her on prevention worm meds and a special protein diet. Should i be concerned about the heavier and more frequently panting?
Thank you

teresa January 22, 2012 at 5:33 am

I have a older dog of 13 and brought home a 10 week old puppy. Every time he is around the pup he strats panting and drooling. He is not agressive at all towards the puppy – its like he is afraid. HELP????

Alexandra January 31, 2012 at 3:33 am

My dog Sam is just over 4 months old (growing so fast!!) and is a yellow lab. He does normal puppy things like run around and is extremely energetic, but lately I have been noticing he has been panting…especially today. He walks around the house with his mouse open like he just went for a run with us but he hasn’t. The past few days he has had this sort of wheezing sound, almost like a cat would do if it had a hairball. He does this randomly then goes back to his normal self. Is this any reason for concern? Would love some input, thanks! :)

Sharbert2003 March 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

My dog keep panting a lot and while she’s panting I hear a sqeaky noise and her body starts shaking as if she was cold. The first time it happened I went to pick her up because I thought she may have been cold but she started yelping as if I had been hurting her. I have been searching online for answers but I really haven’t gotten any information on what it could be. Could you help?

Sarah March 15, 2012 at 4:09 am

My corgi puppy (3 months old) is panting a lot. His eating pattern has changed. He usually woofs down the food in 5 seconds, but lately he has been taking his time and not eating as much. He still eats and drinks. He still plays and runs around but his panting has been consistent. What could it be?

admin April 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm

First you need to determine if the panting is in response to heat. If he’s outside or the house is hot the panting would be normal. Try keeping him cool by wetting his head, paws, and ears. See if his panting eases. Other reasons for panting could be trouble breathing which can be determined by a veterinarian.

admin April 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm

She could have an asthma related condition that makes it painful and/or difficult to breath. She could have an infection in her throat or lungs. There could be many different reasons for this, your best bet is having a vet preform an examine and maybe xrays.

admin April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm

It sounds like he could have kennel cough. This is something that you should definitely bring him into the vet for, they may need to prescribe antibiotics for an infection.

admin May 1, 2012 at 3:37 am

Labored breathing can be a side effect for dogs taking tramadol. I would talk to you veterinarian about these symptoms, they may want to switch medications or have you stop them. For large breeds joints problems can be common, it always a good idea, especially these large breeds to keep them lean to ease arthritic pain and unnecessary stress on organs as they age. Talk to you vet about giving him glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support (can be found at local pet stores).

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