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Dog Panting: Normal Versus Worrisome

Dogs pant when they are hot. You’re probably thinking “Tell me something I don’t know!” What you might not know is that dogs pant for other reasons too. It’s important that you know your dog’s behaviors such as his tolerance for heat and exercise to enable you to realize when his panting is out of the ordinary and may be cause for concern.

Heatstroke is more than just your dog panting on a hot summer day. It’s downright dangerous and even deadly.  If your dog’s body temperature rises above 104 degrees, he will start panting heavily. If nothing is done to cool his body temperature, his temperature will continue to rise and heat stroke will set in. In addition to panting you may notice excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting, weak limbs, confusion and/or dizziness. In severe cases, seizures may result.

Stress is another cause of excessive panting in dogs. Just like humans dogs may experience fear, stress and anxiety. Anytime there is a disruption in your dog’s daily regime, he may feel stressed. Some dogs also display this stress response of panting if they have certain phobias associated with vets, cars, thunderstorms or even animals and people. Once your dog feels safe and things are back to status quo, the panting will subside but in the interim do your best to soothe your dog’s nerves. Pet him, speak gently to him and show him some extra love. If you know what triggers his fear response, do your best to plan ahead.There are many calming products on the market such as the thundershirt and calming drops that will help your dog relax.

Obesity will cause your dog to pant more than normal, too. Excess weight literally crushes your dog and causes him to have trouble breathing. If your dog is overweight, it is your responsibility to put him on a diet and exercise program but before you do, talk with your vet so you don’t accidentally over work him. If you have a busy schedule, TAILored Pet Services can help you with daily walks.

Heatstroke, stress and obesity are only three causes of excessive panting in dogs. There are many more health conditions that will cause panting in your dog such as Heartworm, Congestive heart failure and even Poisoning. Again, knowing your dog’s behavior will help raise the red flag when anything is out of the ordinary with your dog.  As always, follow your gut and consult a vet anytime things seem awry with your dog.

When you hire TAILored Pet Services, our dog walkers keep a close eye on Fido’s panting throughout the dog walk/potty break and adjust activity accordingly. Depending on Fido’s needs, we have a monthly package to suit him so contact us for more information.