July 10, 2022, 08:04 | Animals

Why do dogs breathe hard.

The most common causes of heavy breathing in dogs

Breathing with an open mouth moderate to fast is normal dog and puppy behavior, which lowers body temperature and also delivers oxygen to the dog's bloodstream. A dog with difficulty breathing breathes with an open mouth and slightly protruding tongue, informs Ukr.Media.

Difficult breathing is characterized by tension and may be accompanied by sounds such as crying or howling, or whistling from the nostrils or trachea due to blockage. Heavy breathing is a dog behavior that always has a reason

To cool down

This is very similar to how people breathe hard when doing aerobic exercise. However, heavy breathing is also a primary way for dogs to cool down because they don't sweat like humans. Although dogs sweat a little from the pads of their paws, it cannot cool them down enough. Instead, dogs cool themselves through their mouths.

Heavy breathing allows dogs to release heat and exchange it for colder air. As you can imagine, this is not a very efficient process. It is even less effective for dogs with short muzzles (such as bulldogs or pugs). This is why dogs start breathing hard even when they get a little warm. The hotter the dog gets, the more intense the shortness of breath becomes. Sometimes labored breathing is accompanied by drooling and reddening of the tongue and gums.

Along with severe difficulty breathing, warning signs of overheating include a bright red tongue and gums, wide-open eyes, and weakness. Take measures to prevent overheating.

Excitement or stress

Shortness of breath may have nothing to do with body temperature. Many dogs breathe heavily when they are afraid, anxious, or stressed. Examples include car trips, fireworks, divorce anxiety, vet visits, and other stressful events. Look at your dog's body language to determine if your dog is showing signs of fear or any other type of anxiety.

Understanding the cause of your dog's fear or anxiety can help you minimize these incidents. If the panting seems to be related to fear, anxiety or stress, it is best to remove the dog from the situation as soon as possible.

Pain or discomfort

Dogs are quite good at hiding pain and illness from humans. Some dogs try to hide their discomfort more than others. However, once they reach a certain level of discomfort, they often cannot help but show signs such as shortness of breath.

Look for other signs of illness or pain, such as vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, lameness, walking, and behavioral changes. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog is sick or injured.

If at any time you notice that the panting is extremely intense and unexplained, you should take your dog to the nearest veterinarian immediately. It's always better to play it safe and let your vet check everything out.

Many dogs breathe heavily when they play

Heavy breathing may simply be a sign of happiness in your dog. If this is the case, the rest of your dog's body language will reflect this happy mood. The tail usually wags happily. Your dog's body and facial features will be somewhat relaxed. The eyes will seem bright and happy.

Once everything calms down, breathing will slow down and eventually stop. Continued light rapid breathing with open mouth and bright eyes is normal for a relaxed, contented dog. In fact, many people think it's a dog's smile.

Health Problems

These are just a few possible reasons why your dog may be breathing heavily:

  • Dogs with a high fever may be breathing heavily to lower their body temperature.
  • Medications given by a veterinarian may speed up breathing or cause shortness of breath.
  • A very full or bloated stomach can also cause your dog to breathe heavily, sometimes in preparation for vomiting.
  • Cushing's disease, congestion caused by overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol , can cause excessive shortness of breath.
  • Laryngeal paralysis, a condition in which the muscles that open and close the larynx at the back of the throat are weakened or paralyzed, is another cause of difficulty breathing. Heavy breathing is often accompanied by a high-pitched wheezing noise known as stridor.

If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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