Why Is My Dog Panting and Restless

Why Is My Dog Panting and Restless

PHC LLCNov 10, '20

Why Is My Dog Panting and Restless

For dogs, panting and being restless are so common that it need not cause alarm on our end. We usually notice them panting when they undergo physical activities or when the temperature is high, which makes them thirsty. Dogs pant to enhance their body cooling and counter the high temperature, a phenomenon called evaporative cooling.

But is this always the case? How do we distinguish an abnormal panting from a normal one? And why is my dog being fidgety at times?

You need to discern your dog’s behavior because it might have underlying life-threatening causes that need immediate treatment.

In this article, we seek to clarify these concerns by bringing to light some of the factors that can cause your dog to pant and become restless. 

Liver Activity

The dog’s liver is the filtering machine that extracts toxic substances from the food and liquid it has ingested. These toxic things are then excreted as waste products. 

Diseases associated with liver disease can be accompanied by any or a combination of the following symptoms: depression, anorexia, weight loss, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

A possible cause of liver failure is the accumulation of liquids called ascites in the abdomen, which makes the dog appear to be bloated but in reality, did not gain any weight. If treatment is not given, ascites can put pressure on the diaphragm, making the dog pant excessively. 

Anxiety

Be observant of your dog’s behavior if it is displaying signs of fear or distress. Just like humans, dogs can feel anxious during stressful circumstances. 

Certain situations that elicit anxiety are thunderstorms, fireworks, and even car rides. Aside from panting, the dog could also show lip licking, blinking, and pacing.

Analyzing the source of your dog’s fears or stress will help minimize this incident, reducing also the likeliness of panting. Occurring together with the dog’s panting are other stress indicators like yawning, whining, hiding, drooling, and food refusal.

Poison

Some foods and substances are not meant for dog consumption like chocolates, human drugs, rat poison, grapes, and onions. They contain chemicals that are detrimental to your dog’s health. It takes about two hours for the ingested poisonous substance to take effect. The resulting behavior would be panting and restlessness.

When the heart functions slow, the fluid in the lungs can accumulate, making the dog experience labored breathing. 

To avoid this, keep harmful and toxic substances away from the reach of your dogs. Rat poison, for example, must be strategically placed in unreachable areas and not in open ones.

Heat Exhaustion

While dogs do have sweat glands beneath their paws, it is not enough to regulate their body temperature. It must be accompanied by a rapid and open-mouthed panting.

Prolonged exposure under the heat can cause harmful heatstroke to your dog, which manifests in excessive breathing. This is more likely to occur, especially if your dog is not getting enough hydration. Dogs with thicker fur and with underlying medical conditions are most prone to heatstroke.

Be extra careful to monitor the dog’s activities and its duration under the sun. Avoid leaving the dog inside the car as the buildup of trapped heat might also cause heatstroke.

Heart Disease

Just like with humans, the same principle of heart diseases also applies to dogs. When the heart is not able to pump sufficient blood to be used for body functions, it results in Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). As a result, the dog’s body copes by sucking in more oxygen, thus panting heavily.

The most common symptom CHF is continuous coughing and heavy panting. The fluid buildup in the lungs can cause an enlarged heart that pushes against the trachea and causes an irritation-induced cough.

Since most types of heart disease are congenital, there is no definite method of preventing them. However, you can help your dog live a healthy life through a nutritious diet and regular exercise.

Anemia

Red blood cells distribute oxygen to the whole body through the bloodstream. However, when there is extreme low levels of red blood cells, anemia can occur.

According to a study conducted by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF), the main culprit of anemia in dogs is immune-mediated hemolytic anemia or IMHA. When the dog’s immune system attacks the red blood cells, it can lead to symptoms like weakness, exhaustion, and panting.

There are different methods of treating anemia but for life-threatening cases, a blood transfusion is imperative. Its purpose is to stabilize the condition of the dog while still determining the other underlying causes. Once the exact cause of anemia is determined, the exact treatments can be administered.

Obesity

Owners love to pamper their dogs and feed them abundantly with food and supplements. However, if not moderated, the dog can turn obese and develop health conditions like diabetes and arthritis. An overweight dog will often struggle to bring oxygen into its chest which is manifested through heavy panting

You can avoid this by having your dog get steady exercise and a healthy diet. Determine the food requirement for your dog based on its breed, size, age, and activity level. Then provide these food requirements in regulated amounts.

Conclusion

Differentiating an abnormal panting from a normal one might be challenging, especially if you are not familiar with dogs. But once you get to know its behavior, you will get the hang of it. Once you have identified the cause of abnormal panting, apply corrective actions and if necessary change your dog’s lifestyle. A well-balanced diet and diligent exercise are the keys to a healthy dog. If in doubt, you can always check in with you vet just to be su

References

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Albert, Terry. "Why Is My Dog Panting? Reasons Include Injury, Disease, And Anxiety." Fear Free Happy Homes, 25 Jul. 2018, https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/why-is-my-dog-panting-reasons-include-injury-disease-and-anxiety/. Accessed 04 Oct. 2020.

 

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