Why Does My Dog Pant?

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A tan, brown, and black dog panting
Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM author of Why Is My Dog Pant
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 Is your dog panting more than normal?  They may be inside in the cool and still are panting.  While this is a normal thing for a dog to do, there may be an underlying medical reason that your dog would be panting. This article will explain all about why dogs pant and what could be causing your dog to pant. If you suddenly notice your dog is panting a lot more than they should, it is best to call your vet and have your pet examined.


Why is My Dog Panting?

There are many reasons that your pet may be panting. It is common for dogs to pant when they are excited or when they are very hot.  These are some normal reasons that your dog may be panting, but there could be an underlying condition causing your dog to pant. These are some of the most common reasons that your pet may be panting.


Cooling Mechanism

Panting is a cooling mechanism for your dogs.  Dogs do not normally sweat like people. This is their way if getting rid of unneeded heat.  When your dog is panting, they take oxygen into their lungs and bloodstream. This is used to help cool your dog.  If your pet does not have a way to cool themselves, this excessive heat can lead to heatstroke. If your dog is panting because they are overheating, make sure to get them cooled off very quickly as heatstroke can be deadly. 


Anxiety

Some dogs will pant when they are suffering from anxiety. Dogs will have anxiety from loud noises like sirens, parties, thunderstorms, or fireworks. Sometimes anxiety can also be caused by separation anxiety when not around their favorite people. Signs of anxiety are discomfort couple with pacing, licking, and chewing. If your dog is suffering from anxiety, there are many things that you can do to help them. Give them a safe, quiet place to stay during these loud times. Also, you can help calm your dog with CBD products. These come in treats, oil tinctures or capsules. Many dogs love the tasty CBD treats and those will greatly reduce their anxiety.

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Bloat

Bloat is also known as gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV).  This is a life-threatening issue caused by the distention of the abdomen.  This disease can be couple with vomiting, biting at their sides, salivating and pacing.  This usually is caused by your dog eating to fast or to exercise right after they are eating.  This disease requires immediate veterinary intervention and usually surgery to decrease the bloating and untwist the stomach.  Without surgery, your dog may not survive.


Heart Disease

Heart disease can cause your dog to pant.  The heart is needed to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. When your dog's heart is not functioning correctly, they are not getting enough oxygen.  Your dog will pant in an attempt to get more oxygen into their bodies. As their heart disease progresses, fluid can build up in your dog's lungs. This can also make it harder for your dog to breathe and get oxygen throughout their body.  They will also pant as a sign that their heart disease has progressed. If you notice any of these issues with your dog, it is best to seek veterinary care immediately as sometimes this can become life-threatening. 


Obesity

an overweight bulldog walking in the grass with his owner

Overweight or obese dogs will also pant more.  They have extra layers of fat on them that is keeping them warm.  In the summer months, you will notice that overweight dogs will pant more.  Also, this extra weight that your dog is carrying around is more painful on their joints.  When your dog is painful, they will pant more often. To help your overweight dog lose weight, decrease the amount of food that you are feeding them by 25 percent. 


Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s disease is a disease of the adrenal gland causing them to produce too much cortisol.  The overproduction of cortisol causes your dog to gain weight, become lethargic, and be hot. This will cause them to want to pant more.  If you think that your dog has Cushing's disease, there is a blood test that your veterinarian can perform. Cushing's disease can easily be treated with daily medication.  The weight gain and panting can be fixed with diet reduction.


Pain

When your dog is hurt and in pain, they will pant more.  Sometimes this is the only way that they will show that they are painful. Other signs of pain are limping, restlessness, and decreased appetite.  Some dogs will even hide their pain and will act normal. 


Respiratory Issues

Dogs who have respiratory issues will pant more.  If your dog has pneumonia, they will not be able to breathe as easily, causing them not to get enough oxygen to their body.  This will cause them to pant in order to take in more oxygen for their body. Pneumonia can be a very serious problem in dogs if not treated.

Lung tumors can also cause your dog to pant.  As your dog gets older, they can develop cancerous growths. Sometimes these growths happen inside your dog's chest.  These masses cause problems with your dog's lungs fully expanding, leading to your dog to pant more. If your dog is panting, it is best to have your veterinarian examine your dog for any respiratory problems.  Your vet will most likely take x-rays to see what all is going on in the lungs. They can assess the heart and lungs with an x-ray and help you figure out why your dog is panting.

 Dogs who are panting more could be trying to cool off, but there may also be an underlying medical problem that you need to get checked out.  If your dog does not stop panting after you get them to a cool area and keep them calm, it is best to have them seen by a veterinarian. These conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated.  The early you start treatment on your dog, the better the outcome, and the quicker your dog gets back to their normal life.


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Meet The Author 

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM author of Why Is My Dog Pant

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.