Panting is very normal for dogs; they do it every day. It’s usually a way for them to cool off when they’re hot, excited, or tired after exercising. However, heavy panting may be a sign of something more serious. Heavy pants can point towards feeling too hot, having a health problem, or suffering from stress and anxiety.
Pay attention to your dog’s regular breathing pattern so you can spot any irregularities. This way, you can tell whether or not it’s time for a trip to your veterinarian.
Causes of Heavy Panting
Heatstroke or Poisoning
Heavy panting may sometimes be due to heatstroke or toxic poisoning. Keep your dog well-hydrated and in reasonably cool areas, especially during the summer. When your dog suffers from heatstroke, it’s best to immediately move them to shaded areas and give them cool (not cold) water.
Cool them off gradually to avoid shock caused by a sudden change in temperature. If you observe that your dog might have ingested something poisonous, immediately bring them to the vet to have them checked.
Unusually heavy panting can also be a symptom of chronic illnesses such as heart failure, Cushing’s syndrome, or respiratory disorders. All of these illnesses make breathing extremely difficult. Your dog may be panting heavily because they are out of breath.
Treatment for this may include medication, surgery, or devices that assist breathing. However, it’s also possible that heavy panting is caused by medication that your dog is already taking. Consult with your veterinarian to check if heavy panting is a side-effect of medication.
Injuries may also be reasons for heavy panting. Dogs communicate with us through body language, so panting may be a sign that they are experiencing pain. Watch out for other signs of trauma or discomfort, such as anxiety, restlessness, or licking a particular spot on their bodies which may be the area of pain.
Keep an eye out for sharp changes in your dog’s breathing pattern. If the panting is intense and constant, it may be a symptom of a larger medical problem. Check if your dog’s tongue or gums look blue, purple, or white, as these are warnings of oxygen deficiency.
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