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Sometimes it is possible to observe that dogs breathe with their mouths open. It is panting and usually occurs when the animal is hot or has just done some physical activity. Therefore, it is completely normal, unless it is excessive, in which case it could indicate a serious health problem.
In this AnimalWised article we will talk about the causes of panting in dogs, explaining when this is normal and when we should be concerned. We will also see what to do if our dog is panting a lot.You may also be interested in: What to do if my dog tears a lot? Index
- When is it normal for a dog to pant?
- Why is my dog panting a lot? - Causes
- Why does my dog pant a lot at night?
- What to do if my dog is panting a lot?
When is it normal for a dog to pant?
In the first place, when we talk about panting, we are referring to the rapid breathing that the dog performs with its mouth open. It will attract our attention immediately, since the dog will normally breathe with its mouth closed. The panting of dogs is mainly, a regulatory mechanism which serves to maintain body temperature within the limits that are considered physiological for the species. In this case, they are between 37.8 and 39.2 ºC.
To the breathing with your mouth open and your tongue hanging out, the dog manages to exchange the warm air inside for the cooler outside thanks to the evaporation that takes place in its mouth. In this way, the dog lowers its body temperature. Lacking the amount of sweat glands that people have, since they only have them in the pads, they cannot cool off by sweating, hence they resort to the physiological mechanism of panting.
Therefore, when the dog have the need to lower your body temperature, panting will be normal. Keep in mind that it is common for your dog to pant a lot and not want to eat. Do not offer him food until he regains his normal breathing. Eating when the dog has just performed vigorous physical activity could trigger a dilation-torsion of the stomach.
In conclusion, it is normal for the dog to pant when you are hot or overheated because you just did some physical activity. The latter is especially noticeable in brachycephalic dog breeds due to the characteristics of their skull. This panting usually subsides spontaneously in a few minutes, when the dog manages to regain its temperature. But if the dog is panting a lot, the panting does not remit or we detect other symptoms, we will be facing a worrying situation.
Why is my dog panting a lot? - Causes
In addition to heat, fever or exercise, if your dog is panting a lot it may be due to other factors. Some indicate serious pathologies that will require quick veterinary assistance, while others refer to causes of a psychological nature. It is what is known as behavioral panting. We review the most common causes of panting:
- Heatstroke: it occurs when the dog fails to lower its body temperature. It happens, for example, when you are locked inside a car or exercise in very hot weather. In addition to hyperthermia and excessive panting, the dog hypersalives, shows bright red mucous membranes, vomits, has bloody diarrhea, convulses and, if the temperature is not lowered, it can die. In this way, if your dog is panting a lot and drooling, go immediately to the vet because he could suffer a heat stroke.
- Shock: shock is an emergency situation and is caused by different causes, such as hemorrhage or poisoning. In addition to panting, the dog can evolve unfavorably until losing consciousness.
- Dehydration: in these cases, the dog, for different reasons, such as intense diarrhea and vomiting, cannot regain the fluids it loses. A dehydrated dog should receive prompt veterinary attention.
- Diabetic cetoacidosis: it is another veterinary emergency, due to the accumulation of ketones, which are products of fat metabolism. It can be distinguished by the smell of acetone that is seen on the dog's breath.
- Poisonings- Poisonings can have multiple causes and symptoms, such as hypersalivation, breathing difficulties, or seizures. The picture will depend on the characteristics of the poison and the dog. They also require veterinary care.
- Pleural effusion: it is the accumulation in the thoracic cavity of blood or serum. The dog, in addition to panting, will seek to adopt a posture that helps it get more oxygen. It is another veterinary emergency and the transfer must be done with extreme care.
- Stress: When there are no environmental circumstances to explain panting or any signs that make us think of a disease, panting could be a sign of the emotional state of the dog. In other words, a stressed or anxious dog might pant for that reason. In these cases, it is possible to observe that the dog is panting a lot and trembling. A typical example is panting at the veterinary clinic or hearing pyrotechnics. If this sample of stress is repeated too frequently, it is recommended to contact an expert in canine behavior or ethologist, since stress in the dog is a sign of imbalance that must be solved to regain the welfare of the animal.
- PainLastly, a dog in pain may pant. Sometimes it is the only obvious sign of an ailment that we perceive. Other times, the dog gasps a lot and cries. Therefore, we must always pay attention to panting that occurs outside of the context that we consider physiological..
Why does my dog pant a lot at night?
Some caregivers report that their dog gasps at night. It is possible that they detect it at that moment as there is greater tranquility, although the dog has also pant for the rest of the day. In general, the causes of night panting can be the same as those already mentioned. These triggers are triggered if, for example, we put the heating very high during the night and the dog's bed is right next to the radiator, we leave physical activity, such as walks or games, for the night hours or it is at this time when perceives stimuli from outside that make him especially nervous. If your dog is panting a lot and is restless at night and you don't know why, go for a vet checkup. It is the way to diagnose the cause.
What to do if my dog is panting a lot?
See the causes that can explain why a dog pants a lot, ¿what can you do? A gasp of which the origin is unknown, does not remit in a short space of time or is accompanied by any other sign, requires go to the vet. Only this professional can examine the dog and perform the relevant tests to find the cause of panting and, consequently, choose the most appropriate treatment. If it is determined that the cause is not organic, disorders of psychological origin can be treated by experts in ethology.
This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.