Panting in Dogs Causes, at Night, in Older Dogs, After Giving Birth and Surgery

Panting in dogs can happen at rest
Dog panting at rest

Panting in dogs brings forth many concerns. These are at times on the basis of need-to-know while other times they are as a concern of the well being of the pet. Why do dogs pant? There are many reasons for this as we will discover. We explore the reasons why, causes of excessive panting in dogs at night, in older dogs and after giving birth or surgery.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

A lot of times people wonder why there is panting in dogs. In most cases, panting in dogs is normal and nothing out of the ordinary. There are times though when you should get concerned. Mostly in such times, the panting will be accompanied by some other symptoms. Below are some of the reasons why dogs pant.

Panting in dogs can happen at rest
Dog panting at rest

Panting to Cool Down

Unlike human beings, dogs do not sweat. There is minimal excretion of sweat that gets through the paws. As a result, panting becomes one of the main ways through which dogs cool themselves. This helps in circulating air in the body.

Panting is an important cooling mechanism for dogs. In addition to this, it is important to allow dogs access to clean fresh water and shade. These will help in complementing their not so efficient cooling system.

Illness Resulting in Panting in Dogs

Illness is another reason why your dog may be panting. Just as human beings may sweat excessively when they are ill, a dog may also pant too much when they are not feeling well. Normally this will be accompanied by other symptoms. Where this is suspected to be the case, a visit to the vet will ascertain the exact cause. Some tests may be necessary for a correct diagnosis to be carried out.

In common, lungs, heart and throat diseases cause some distress in the respiratory process. This may make the dog appear to be panting while in actual sense it is breathing difficulties.

Excessive Panting in Dogs Anxiety, Excitement or Fear

Whenever dogs are suffering from anxiety, it is probable that they will pant. This could be caused by something scary such as lighting or thunder. It could also be as a result of excitement. This is a normal response to these. The only time to be concerned is when your dog suffers storm phobia.

Fast Panting in Dogs from Strenuous Activity

When your dog engages in exercise, runs or does any other physically demanding thing, it is likely to pant. This panting will be heightened depending on the dog’s heat generation and heart rate. It should go down when it is at rest.

Age Causing Increased Panting Older Dogs

Panting in older dogs is more common than in younger ones. Any dogs that are between eight to fifteen years old may suffer this. The panting may be indicative of cognitive changes. In addition to increased panting, your older dog can also be seen pacing, bumping into things and circling. There will also be increased accidents as well as difficulty in recalling familiar faces.

Obesity Extreme Panting

For dogs suffering from obesity, their panting may be as a result of the strain and stress that comes with their bearing too much weight. Where this is the case, you ought to correct their weight through exercise and proper nutrition. This will make it easier for your dog to move around and stabilize their panting to normal.

Panting from Anemia

This is another reason why panting in your dog may be excessive. Infestations by worms, fleas, and other parasites. Trauma and injuries could also cause anemia and thus lead to the dog panting a lot.

Excessive Panting In Dogs

Like discussed earlier, panting in dogs is normal. However, excessive panting in dogs may not always be okay. At its onset, respiration tends to increase rapidly from between 30 and 40 perspirations per minute to about 300 to 400 perspirations for the same amount of time.

Excessive panting in dogs
Excessive panting in dogs may be as a result of serious health conditions

Where the heat load is moderate, the dog will alternate between short panting periods and high heavily panting. When your dog faces fear, is stressed or sick they could pant heavily.

Other causes include:

  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Hematologic disorders
  • Miscellaneous disorders
  • Neurologic disorders

With transient causes of panting in dogs such as stress and fear, there are no negative effects on the pet. However, where it is as a result of more severe illnesses, it should not be ignored. Ensure that if it persists or gets worse you see your vet immediately. Other times to pay attention to the panting include when it is accompanied by:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Blue coloration of the mucous membrane (Cyanosis)
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue and weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking

Dog Panting At Night

Dog owners are often times worried about their dog panting at night. At night the dogs should be at rest and calm especially when sleeping. At times though you could notice them panting. The cause may warrant immediate attention but it could also be nothing to worry about.

Panting in dogs at night may be as a result of the room being too warm. They will, therefore, be panting to cool themselves down.

Other times the dog may be panting because of an imbalance within the body. This is normally as a result of a number of combined issues.

In addition, dogs tend to have a tendency to get the liver disease as well as liver weakness. At night at around one to three after midnight, the liver is at its prime activity. Where you notice that this is around the time the panting is happening, visit your vet so they can administer liver cleansing products.

To help with weaknesses of the liver, you could also get try feeding your dog early in the day so that their metabolic activity is reduced during the night.

Excessive Panting In Older Dogs

The aging of dogs comes at different times which is determined by their expected lifespan. While some the small breeds are mostly expected to live up to 20 years, larger breeds may live up to 10 years.

Within these different time-spans, a lot of different things come into play. Depending on genetics, medical history and how well he is being taken care of, aging pets may exhibit an array of symptoms one of which is excessive panting in older dogs.

This could result from a number of things that develop with age such as:

Heat Stroke in Older Dogs

This will mostly occur in older dogs when they go out in hot seasons. It can also happen when they are exercising and when they do not get enough water. Getting heat stroke is easy in pets because they do not sweat the way we humans do. The fact that they have fur which insulates them makes it worse.

When your old dog gets a heat stroke, it could cause major damage in major organs leading to death. Heat stroke is more likely to cause to affect older dogs causing excessive panting which will continue even after your dog is relaxed or resting. In case this happens, seek immediate medical attention.

Over Weight Older Dogs’ Panting

Although this is not an immediate problem, dogs that have grown old being obese are likely to suffer the effects of unmanaged weight gain. Being a major health concern, in case you notice extreme dog panting, it is important to seek the attention of your veterinarian to work on the weight. This will help in preventing your dog from suffering harmful conditions.

Panting in Dogs, Shaking and Diarrhea

Whenever you notice constant panting in dogs accompanied by other symptoms such as shaking or diarrhea, it is important to seek emergency treatment. This is because these could be indicative of life-threatening conditions which should be addressed immediately. Ensure you record all the symptoms, how and when they are happening to make it easy for the vet to diagnose your pet.

Panting in Dogs After Giving Birth and Surgery

Giving birth and surgeries are stressful events in dogs just as they are in humans. There being stress and anxiety in the animal means that more adrenaline is released to the body. As a result, there is a rise in blood sugar and blood pressure. These increase the activities of the heart resulting in panting in dogs after surgery.

Panting in dogs after giving birth
Panting in dogs after giving birth is normal but if it is excess it could be as a result of the incomplete evacuation

It should take your dog around three to five days to resume its activities. However, in case it is under severe pain and is experiencing extreme panting, call in your vet.

On the other hand, post-partum panting in dogs is a common occurrence. Panting in dogs after giving birth could result from a number of things. Decreased calcium levels from nursing could cause panting shaking, fever, loss of appetite and diarrhea. If you suspect this, see the veterinarian for treatment and supplements.

Another reason for constant panting in a dog after giving birth could be retention of the elements of birth. This could include placenta remnants as well as some puppies being retained. Pain and the overwhelming effect of going through labor may also be causes for panting after birth. In case you think your dog may be unwell after normal delivery, have it checked so that its health status and that of the puppies can be ascertained.

Dog Won’t Stop Panting for No Reason and when not Hot

It is possible for a dog to pant for what their owners may think is no reason such as when they experience panting in dogs at rest. In such cases, the reason for panting will be for cooling purposes. This though does not mean that they will not do it when not hot. They are likely to maintain some panting all through.

The only time you should be concerned is when your dog won’t stop panting excessively. Where it is extreme

Dr. Winnie
About Dr. Winnie 336 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone

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