With temperatures soaring outside, you might presume that your dog’s excessive panting is due to the weather. And yes, dogs do pant to regulate their body temperature and cool themselves down. But because excessive panting can also be a sign of a health problem, we would urge you not to write it off just because the weather is warm.
First of all, how much panting is considered excessive? A dog will typically take between 15 and 35 breaths per minute. As you would expect, he will breathe more quickly when he’s active. But anything over 40 breaths per minute might signal excessive panting and could be a clue to their overall health.
If your dog is panting even indoors, and when he’s resting comfortably, we should consider some of the following possibilities:
- Kennel cough
- Smoke inhalation
- Respiratory infections (fungal or bacterial)
- Lung diseases
- Laryngeal Paralysis
- Heat stroke
- Issues with the windpipe or collapsed windpipe.
- Side effects from medications
The above is quite an extensive list and we do not mean to scare you, but if your dog is panting without an obvious cause then take note of changes in behavior and possible symptoms. Is he eating and drinking normally? Is he drooling more than usual? Are his gums pale, blue-tinged, or brick red in color? Does his breathing seem labored in other ways, such as engaging his stomach muscles?
One last note: Certain breeds with shortened snouts (or “squished faces) like pugs, boxers, and Boston terriers, face increased risk of breathing difficulties. We should monitor those patients a bit more closely, but any dog can develop problems with their respiratory system.
If you’re feeling concerned about your dog’s panting, it might not just be the heat. Call us to schedule an appointment so that we can rule out anything more serious happening with your pet.