“Help! Why is my dog panting for no reason?” It’s common for owners to get a little concerned over their dog’s panting. It becomes even more worrisome when there isn’t a logical reason for it. So I decided to look into what could be causing a dog to pant irregularly.
But before examining those reasons, let’s rule out the traditional causes. We must cover them to ensure there isn’t a logical explanation for your dog’s panting. It could quell any concerns and eliminate worrying about your dog’s panting.
Traditional Causes for a Dog’s Panting
In most cases, your dog’s panting will come from two sources. It’s usually a means to cool themselves off or be overly excited:
1. Cooling Themselves Off
Panting is a natural technique to cool down your dog after exerting significant energy. So if a dog were running around the yard, some panting would likely follow this exercise. It’s just a simple way to control them from overheating.
After all, dogs aren’t capable of sweating like we do when needing to cool themselves. It doesn’t mean they don’t sweat at all, as dogs sweat a small amount from their paw pads. But it can’t sufficiently cool them off to avoid heat stroke or heat-related issues.
So your dog needs to rely on panting through their mouths to regulate body temperature. It should be more than enough to handle exercise in stable conditions. The issues come when they need to cool themselves after exposure to extreme heat.
Your dog’s panting won’t cool them down in these conditions. It’ll then cause them to overheat or suffer from a heat stroke. I’ll discuss these potential concerns later in the “6 Causes of Irregular Panting Section”.
Panting can also mean your dog’s overly happy about something in their life. In other words, they’ve become so excited that it overwhelms them to breathe a little heavier. This reaction can cause them to start mildly panting.
It wouldn’t be hard to identify panting caused by excitement, either. It’ll come with other happy signs like tail wagging and relaxed facial/body features. You may also notice their eyes seem more happy and bright.
Some common instances of this happening would be giving them treats or food. I’ve even found my Pitbull to start panting when it’s time to go for a walk. Eventually, the mild panting will slow and stop as the excitement lessens.
Why Is Your Dog Panting for No Reason? (6 Causes of Irregular Panting in Dogs)
The essential thing to realize is there’s always a reason for a dog’s panting. Basically, your dog isn’t panting because they want to or without something causing it. So if you can’t contribute to the causes above, it’s likely one of these more nontraditional reasons:
1. Stress, Anxiety, or Fear
Many dogs will start panting when experiencing stress, anxiety, or fear. One of the common examples is thunderstorms, which triggers my Beagle. Once he senses it’s coming, he freezes like a statue and starts panting immediately. His tail will also go between his legs.
Other telltale signs of panting from these conditions include pacing, barking, whining, scratching, and chewing. Therefore, it becomes a nightmare for everyone involved, especially your pup.
If your dog does pant from these issues like mine, you must try to identify the cause. Once you do, it often becomes much easier to minimize these incidents. Sadly, I don’t have much luck because I can’t control thunderstorms.
But let’s say your dog’s reaction comes from car rides; do your best to limit them. Avoid car rides as much as possible or find a way to make them more comfortable. In my experience, a familiar travel crate or their favorite toy can go a long way in easing this particular anxiety.
If you don’t have any luck, consult with a vet. These professionals should have some tips to help manage your dog’s fear. In my case, they prescribed CBD treats to get my Beagle to relax when a thunderstorm rears its ugly head.
2. Overheating or Heatstroke
As mentioned earlier, panting won’t be too effective at preventing overheating or heatstroke. Instead, it’ll lead your dog to overcompensate and excessively pant. It’ll then reach the level of seeming irregular compared to what you usually notice with your dog’s panting levels.
Sadly, this excessive panting won’t do much to stop them from overheating or suffering a heatstroke. So owners need to be aware of other overheating signs:
- Bright red gums and tongue
- Lethargy or weakness
- Excessive, thick drooling
- Noisy, rapid breathing
If you notice a dog suffering from these and excessive panting, it’s time to take action. I’d recommend cooling your dog and taking them to a vet immediately. These circumstances aren’t something owners should take lightly, as they can be fatal.
3. Lung Disease
Certain conditions affecting the lungs can impact your dog’s breathing. So it’ll cause them to struggle when exercising and breathe more heavily, leading to irregular panting. This situation will also present discoloration of the tongue and gums.
In most serious cases, coughing will also accompany your dog’s panting. It’s not a situation any dog owner wants to experience, but one we need to know could happen. If you do notice these issues, some of the common possible lung diseases and conditions include:
- Several cancers
- Extensive inflammation
Anyone who fears it’s a lung issue should contact their vet immediately. It’s best to have an expert’s opinion about combatting these conditions.
Pain from an injury or chronic injury can cause irregular panting. Sometimes, the pain-causing issue, such as broken bones or cuts, will be obvious. But it’ll be a little more complicated if it’s an underlying condition.
For instance, a dog with arthritis may start panting from the pain. It’s common with older dogs, especially those who don’t move too well anymore. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of any condition that could result in irregular painting.
If you sense it could be a pain-related issue, try to speak with a vet. You can then make a game plan to help you relax and comfort your favorite friend.
5. Cushing’s Disease
One of the more severe possibilities is a condition called Cushing’s disease. It’s triggered when your dog has an overactive adrenal gland. Once this happens, your dog’s adrenal gland starts producing too much cortisol and causes symptoms like excessive panting.
Several other symptoms, such as increased hunger and thirst, will also be noticeable. Other telltale Cushing’s Disease signs are thinner skin/fur and a bloated appearance. If left untreated, this condition can lead to congestive heart failure and diabetes.
6. Heart Disease
Heart conditions will cause a long list of issues, such as panting. It’s similar to how a lung problem will affect your dog’s endurance and exercise capabilities. For example, a heart problem will tire them more quickly and cause them to pant even after walking short distances.
Some common heart-related issues include congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and abnormal valves. All of them will take a massive toll on your dog’s ability to do anything it used to do. If you’re afraid its a heart issue, check for these related symptoms:
- Pale/blue tongue or gums
- Difficulty breathing
- General weakness
- Collapsing or Fainting
It goes without saying that a vet visit is necessary if these symptoms occur. As with humans, heart-related conditions are among the most serious for dogs. It’s not something you want to leave up to chance.
Dog Panting FAQs
Why is My Dog Panting While Resting?
A dog panting while resting isn’t an immediate worrisome sign. It could indicate they’re trying to cool down after a serious exercise session. Some more severe possibilities include an encounter with a stress trigger, an underlying condition, overheating, or pain.
When Should I Worry About Dog Panting?
Dog panting becomes worrisome when it’s irregular or excessive. Worrisome panting is usually very noticeable compared to normal, natural panting. It’ll often be triggered by pain, anxiety, overheating, or a health condition.
In the end, a dog who is panting irregularly is often a worrisome sign. I wouldn’t suggest waiting too long before taking them to the vet. It would be best to get to the bottom of whatever is causing your dog’s excessive or abnormal panting.
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Remember to leave any concerns or questions in our comment section. I’d love to continue this conversation and help you understand what could be behind your dog’s abnormal panting. Thanks for reading!
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