Many dog owners think that panting in dogs is synonymous with breathing. However, this is not quite true. Dogs can breathe or pant heavily for a variety of reasons. However, most of them are harmless to a dog.
In this article, you will find out why your dog is breathing or panting rapidly and if it is normal.
There can be several reasons why your dog is breathing heavily. One of the most common reasons is because your dog is too warm or physically exerted. Dogs don’t have sweat glands to sweat, but they regulate their body temperature by panting heavily and thus protect themselves from overheating.
Normal breathing in dogs
Normally your dog breathes through his nose with his mouth closed and not through panting with his mouth open as many think.
A normal healthy dog breathes about 10 to 30 times per minute. You can recognize breathing not by panting, but by the fact that your dog’s chest rises when he inhales and lowers when he exhales. Inhaling and exhaling is 1 breath.
Smaller breeds breathe faster than larger breeds.
If your dog has well over 30 breaths he has too high a breathing rate. Less than 10 breaths and barely noticeable breathing are also not normal. Both of these indicate disease.
If you notice a significant change in your dog’s breathing, see your veterinarian.
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Why your dog is breathing heavily or panting
Panting in dogs is not directly related to breathing. Panting can occur due to a variety of factors and can be more or less severe.
Dog pants heavily in heat
Dogs have sweat glands only on their paws. So they can’t regulate their body temperature by sweating like we can.
If your dog is too hot, he may affect his body temperature by panting.
When panting, the frequency can increase to 300 to 400 breaths. Your dog breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth.
However, a large part of this does not go into the lungs and is used for breathing, but is excreted directly through the mouth. The faster a dog pants, the shallower his breathing becomes.
The air does not enter the lungs, but circulates only in the dead space. For this reason, extreme panting in dogs does not lead to hyperventilation.
Due to rapid panting, saliva evaporates, which then cools the body.
Tip: Protect your dog from heat. Make sure that your dog always has enough water available in the summer so that the salivation is sufficient.
Also, avoid midday heat activities and create cool shaded areas for your dog to help him regulate his temperature.
Dog panting during physical exertion
Similar to heat, dogs pant during physical exertion. Dogs can’t sweat even when they are “exercising”.
When you doing agility, running or biking with your dog, your dog will pant to regulate his body temperature and not to overheat.
Tip: Take care of your dog if he is up to the strain. Many dogs, out of love for their owners, would go beyond their physical capabilities and injure themselves. Avoid physically demanding activities when it is hot.
Dog panting during nose work
If your dog loves nose work, the breathing rate increases during intense sniffing and your dog will breathe much faster.
Tip: Nose work is extremely strenuous for dogs and a great way to keep them busy. But just like running, you should not overdo it with nose work.
Dogs pant at too much stress and anxiety
Dogs are very sensitive and start panting and breathing fast when they are stressed or scared. Various situations can cause your dog to breathe faster due to stress or anxiety.
Probably the most common situations are
- Fireworks on New Year’s Eve
- When they have to stay alone for a long time
Once the situation causing the stress is over, breathing usually returns to normal.
Tip: Help your dog in these situations. Try to calm your dog during thunderstorms or New Year’s Eve fireworks by building a protective den out of his dog bed where he can retreat.
Accustom your dog slowly to staying alone and do not leave him alone for several hours from the beginning.
Your dog is panting heavily because he is too fat
If your dog is overweight, it can cause breathing problems. Especially the Golden Retriever and the Labrador eat a lot and tend to be overweight.
Tip: Make sure to feed a good dog food free of artificial additives. Calculate also the treats, at least roughly with.
If your dog is already too fat, extend the walks and make sure that he reduces his weight through more exercise. Then, over time, breathing will return to normal.
Some dog breeds have problems with breathing
Unfortunately, there are dog breeds that become “sick” due to breeding. Especially dogs with short noses like the French Bulldog or the Pug generally have problems with breathing. Physical activity makes breathing even more difficult.
Tip: Unfortunately, the only way to help your dog is to avoid physical activity. Don’t go running or biking with your French Bulldog. Match your activities to your dog’s breed or find out about the breed in advance.
Diseases cause heavy breathing
Usually, there is a reason why your dog is panting, and you can counteract it. However, it is also possible that your dog is breathing or panting more when he is sick and/or in pain.
In this case, the reasons why your dog is panting can be many.
- Your dog has hurt himself while playing and is now in pain
- He ate something poisonous on the walk
- Does not tolerate the food
Does your dog have additional symptoms that may indicate illness?
- Is he not eating or drinking properly?
- Is he tired and listless
- Is he aggressive when you pet him?
So, if it is not hot, your dog is not coming fromrunning or biking, and a thunderstorm or New Year’s Eve are far away, you should not wait and take your dog to the vet.
Excessive panting can also indicate gastritis in your dog.
Conclusion: Why your dog breathes so heavily
As a rule, panting or heavy breathing in dogs is a normal reaction and not dangerous. However, if you can rule out situations such as heat, exercise or anxiety, there may be health reasons why your dog is breathing heavily. A visit to your veterinarian can give you clarity.
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