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Excessive panting in dogs

When your dog begins breathing quickly it can be concerning. Today our Argyle vets share some reasons why your dog may be panting excessively and when you should bring them in for a checkup. 

Why is my dog breathing fast?

Your dog should be taking 15 to 35 breaths on average while they are resting and that rate will increase as your dog in engaging in physical activity. If you notice their breathing surpassing 40 breaths per minute when they are relaxing then it's time to figure out why they are panting.

Panting is very important for your dog. Dogs are unable to sweat and so when they overheat they pant in order to cool themselves down to a regular body temperature and allow water and heat to evaporate from the tongue, the mouth, and upper respiratory tract. 

How do I know if my dog is breathing too fast?

At a time when you are not worried about your dog's well-being, you should monitor your dog's breathing in order to determine what is normal for your pup. This can be while they are sleeping or just laying down and relaxing. If your dog's breathing is under 30 breaths a minute that is considered completely normal while if you are dog is taking more than 35 breaths a minute then it may be necessary to monitor for other symptoms and take your dog in for a check-up. 

Why is my dog breathing fast?

There is always a chance that any excessive panting or breathing from your dog could be an indication of an illness or injury and you should contact your dog's vet right away to have them examined.

Certain dog breeds such as those with 'squished faces' or shortened snouts such as Boston terriers, boxers, and pugs are more prone to excessive panting and breathing issues and should be monitored more closely for any difficulties. 

There are many reasons why a dog could be excessively panting, some of these reasons are:

  • Asthma
  • Breed Characteristics
  • Kennel Cough
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Windpipe Issues
  • Bacterial Respiratory Infection
  • Fungal Respiratory Infection
  • Pressure on the Windpipe
  • Stiffening of Airways
  • Smoke Inhalation
  • Collapsing Windpipe
  • Lung Diseases such as cancer
  • Parasites
  • Pneumonia
  • Compressed Lungs
  • Hernia
  • Heat Stroke
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Exercise

When should I be concerned about my dog's rapid breathing? 

Your dog's breathing should be at its most relaxed while they are sleeping. If you notice consistent excessive panting while sleeping or any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately:

  • Engaging stomach muscles to help with breathing
  • Reluctance to drink, eat or move
  • Pale, blue-tinged, or brick red gums
  • Uncharacteristic drooling
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Heavy, fast breathing that’s louder or different sounding than normal panting

How will the vet diagnose the cause of my dog's fast breathing?

Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your dog in order to determine the possible cause of the rapid breathing. They will look over all areas of the body which commonly cause respiratory distress. 

They may want to go over your dog's medical history as well in order to rule out any previous conditions and may recommend diagnostic tests such as X-rays to check the heart, lungs, and abdomen for issues such as broken ribs or lung tumors. 

Your vet will also look for any general signs of stress or anxiety that may be causing the excessive panting in your dog. 

What are the treatments for fast breathing in dogs?

The treatment for your dog's rapid breathing will vary depending on what the cause is behind the symptoms. Once your vet has diagnosed your pet they may prescribe pain relief, intravenous fluids with calcium, or other medications.

If your pet's rapid breathing is caused by stress or anxiety then your vet may recommend special training with a certified dog behaviorist.

No matter what is causing your dog's excessive panting, your vet will most likely recommend rest and oxygen therapy.

In the majority of cases, your dog would be able to recover while at home, however, some serious cases may require hospitalization in order to monitor the dog's breathing and to treat the underlying cause. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are worried about your dog's breathing, contact our Argyle vets to book an examination for your dog. Our caring vets are here to help your dog feel better.

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