Your pooch pants often, especially after a long walk or an intense game of Frisbee. Panting is his way of keeping his body temperature regulated; so, for the most part, it is a normal process. Unfortunately, panting can also be a symptom of a number of serious health problems. It is up to you to be able to identify excessive or health-related panting as opposed to normal panting. Below are ways to identify a few problems associated with panting by observing the accompanying symptoms. Most will require the expertise of a veterinarian.
Panting is a way for your pet to regulate his body temperature. Known as thermoregulation, this process is important for the internal organs and tissue. It keeps the body temperature within a certain temperature boundary. If that boundary is surpassed, a heat stroke may occur. If the boundary is not reached, hypothermia may occur. So, what is normal panting? Well, panting is when a dog takes short, shallow breaths. He may hold his mouth open and hang his tongue out of his mouth. It’s normal for a dog to pant in a variety of situations. Exercise, excitement, heat, fear, and anxiety can all cause a pet to pant. Panting is a problem if it occurs excessively or outside of these situations.
It can be fairly tricky to identify a panting problem, especially if it is accompanied with normal panting. For instance, if you return home from a brisk walk and your pooch is panting, then give him a little water and a chance to relax. The panting should cease after a few minutes of relaxation. If the panting does not slow, then there could be a problem. There are other signs you can look for to identify the problem. Is your pet really panting or is he having trouble breathing? Is he panting excessively or at a normal rate? Are there any other signs accompanying the panting, such as dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, coughing, abdominal pain, or lethargy? Has he suffered from a head trauma recently? Also, take his environment into consideration. Remember that fear and anxiety can be the cause of panting; so, the neighborhood bully dog may have merely frightened your pooch. If you just traveled from sea-level Miami to mile-high Denver, then the panting could be caused by the change in altitude. Pregnant pooches may also experience panting bouts due to the pressure on their abdomens; but, just because your pet is pregnant, does not mean that you should skip the veterinary visit.
If there are any other symptoms accompanying the panting, or if the panting is constant or excessive for no obvious reason, then it is a good idea to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. There are a number of illnesses that could be the culprit, including heart disease, neurological disorders, and blood disease. Your vet can conduct a variety of tests to figure out what is causing the problem. Examples of possible tests include heartworm tests, complete blood test, x-rays, and ultrasounds. A combination of these tests may be used to rule out certain disorders.
The chosen treatment methods will be based on the veterinarian’s diagnosis. While the tests are being evaluated, the veterinarian will probably go ahead and treat the symptoms. For example, if your pooch has lost fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea, then the vet may start him on a hydration treatment. When the test results are returned, the vet will give your further instructions and information about your treatment options.
Panting is a normal function for dogs. It helps them regulate their internal body temperature during times of heat and stress. Normal panting is shallow and short, but if it does not slow or stop after the activity (i.e. the cause of the panting) has ceased, then there may be an underlying problem. Excessive panting can signal a number of illnesses, so accompanying symptoms should be noted. If you think your pet is suffering from more than just the heat, then take him to your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can treat the symptoms while determining the cause. Once the cause is identified, your pooch will be started on a treatment plan.