Panting is a natural part of your dog’s cooling mechanism. They don’t have sweat glands like humans do, so they pant to evaporate moisture from their paw pads and mouths, as well as exchanging hot air with cool external air.
However, panting that starts suddenly, occurs for no apparent reason, sounds harsh or is accompanied by shaking and pain could be a sign of something more serious. Whether it’s anxiety, trauma or disease, your vet can help determine what’s causing it.
A dog panting heavily is often a sign of stress. This could be caused by a visit to the vets, a thunderstorm, a fear of a new pet or something else that causes a lot of anxiety for your dog.
Alternatively, your dog might have an ongoing condition like a phobia or a mental health problem such as separation anxiety that makes them anxious and stressed all the time. In these cases, they may need to be put in a separate room to relax away from the source of their fear.
If your dog is panting excessively and shaking, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet as soon as possible. This will allow the vet to identify the cause of your dog’s stress and give them the appropriate treatment.
Dog heavy panting is usually caused by exertion, but it can also be an indicator that your furry friend is suffering from heatstroke. This condition can be fatal for dogs, so it’s important to take your pet to the vet right away if you notice they’re breathing heavily or panting excessively.
Often, brachycephalic breeds, such as Boston terriers, bulldogs and pugs, are more susceptible to this condition because of their short noses that make it harder for them to breathe. They also don’t have good cooling mechanisms, and prolonged exposure can cause permanent brain damage or organ failure.
Excessive panting and bright red gums are common signs of heat stroke. Other symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, a fast heart rate and glassy eyes.
Often, trauma can cause dogs to pant heavily. This happens as part of the fight-flight-or-freeze response to a disturbing event.
Trauma can come in a variety of forms, from one-time events like terrorism and natural disasters to prolonged stressors such as domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. These traumatic experiences can trigger strong negative feelings and affect a person’s physical, social and emotional well-being.
People with trauma often find it hard to cope with their experiences and tend to relive them in various ways. These reenactments may be as simple as revisiting the location where a trauma occurred or as complicated as imagining that an event is happening again.
If your dog has been suffering from a traumatic event, it is important to seek veterinary help right away. Your veterinarian will check for any signs of an underlying disease and work with you to get your pet feeling better again. They can also prescribe medications if your dog needs them.
If your dog is panting heavily and seems unwell, it’s time to see a vet. It could be caused by heart failure, respiratory disease, or even a toxic substance.
Many dog medications have side effects that can cause excessive panting. These include anti-anxiety meds and prednisone.
Panting can also be caused by a condition called laryngeal paralysis, where the muscles that open and close the back of the throat are weak or completely paralyzed. This is a common problem in older dogs and large breeds.
Heatstroke is another illness that causes your dog to pant heavily, and is a life-threatening medical emergency. If your dog is panting heavily, find a cool spot in shade, and give them water.
You can tell if your dog is suffering from illness by noticing whether their tongue or gums look blue, purple, or white when they pant. This indicates that they aren’t getting enough oxygen. If you notice that your dog is panting often, or their panting is getting heavier at rest, call your veterinarian.