Dogs typically breath heavy when they are playing or trying to cool down, but there can be certain situations where it can be concerning. In many cases this is just the method in which dogs try to recover from exercise or to cool off but there are times where it could signal that your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen to their organs. In this article we will talk about why dogs breath hard or heavy, what it means, and what to keep an eye on.
You can learn more about how dogs cool off in our why do dogs pant article.
Why Do Dogs Breath Heavy?
Dogs breath heavy or pant to cool themselves off when they’re hot or after vigorous exercise. Certain breeds with long noses breathe more heavily for this reason, but it’s normal no matter what the breed is for them to breath heavy after playing or extended exercise.
Dogs always need more ventilation than humans do because of the shape of their nose which doesn’t provide a lot of air flow which can make them even heavier breathers if exercised for extended periods. Panting in hot weather also increases breathing rate as heat rises from the body so dog’s pant heavily during these types of times too in order to cool off and recover.
Medical Reasons That Dogs May Breath Hard
All dogs will breath heavy and pant after exercise or when they are hot, but there are some medical reasons that can cause your dog to breath harder than normal. These can be serious issues that you must look out for and speak with your vet about. These can range from medical issues that your dog has or even a side effect of medication that they take.
Medical reasons that dog’s may breath hard are usually related to a dog’s heart rate and lung function. Dogs with chronic respiratory disease will have trouble breathing, while dogs with congestive heart failure can’t get enough oxygen for proper use of their muscles. Hyperthyroidism is another disorder in which the dog’s metabolism speeds up too much, making it difficult to breathe because they’re using more energy than normal.
Some signs that your dog might be having medical problems such as those above include: change in appetite or weight; coughing; panting excessively even after only mild exercise; lethargy (tired); difficulty exercising or walking normally on leash without struggling; changes in vocalization patterns like barking becoming quieter and shorter. If you notice any of these signs in your dog it is important to speak with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Heavy Breathing Vs Normal Breathing In Dogs
Dog’s heavy breathing is a dog’s way of cooling itself off, just like we sweat. So when you notice your dog panting excessively it might be because they are too warm or need more water to stay hydrated. The dog may also have an underlying medical problem such as heart disease that can lead to increased blood flow and speed up the dog’s heartbeat which leads them to breathe harder in order to get enough oxygen into their system from each breath.
The normal dog breathes around 30 times per minute with occasional deep breaths; this would not cause any concern for most owners or vets so long as there are no other symptoms present over time. If your dog has been panting heavily recently without stopping then they might be experiencing heat exhaustion. It is important to keep an eye on your dog to make sure they are comfortable and have enough food and water.
Heavy Breathing In Puppies
Puppies are still young and their heart rates and respiratory rates are typically higher in comparison to adult dogs. Depending on the breed, 15-40 breaths per minute is typical for a puppy. If your puppy is breathing noticeably more heavily while sleeping, this may be a response to some of the things they are dreaming about.
Puppies often breathe rapidly at night for this reason, and it’s normal for them to whimper or move their legs during REM sleep. But it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the overall breathing habits of your puppy to make sure they are safe. During the puppy stage is when you will likely see any signs of pre-existing ailments that your dog may have. These could impact the breathing cycle of your dog.
When To Be Concerned About Your Dog Breathing Hard
If your dog is breathing heavily for an extended period of time and their facial expression looks stressed, there is a chance that they are not getting enough oxygen. This could also mean that there is excess fluid or an obstruction in the respiratory system. You should take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice this kind of behavior, especially if your dog has a history of respiratory or cardiological issues
Other reasons to be concerned about your dogs breathing:
– Your dog has had previous episodes where they were unable to breathe properly for more than just minutes at a time; these could be signs of chronic problems like heart disease or lung infections that will only worsen over time without treatment
– Your dog’s heavy breathing doesn’t go away after one episode – it might indicate something serious going on inside the chest cavity, such as collapsed lungs or fluid buildup around the heart.
How Heavy Breathing In Dogs Is Treated
If you dog is just breathing hard, but does not have any other symptoms besides that:
– Try giving your dog some water – make sure they are drinking enough fluids *even if they’re panting* and try to cool them down with a wet towel or ice cubes
– Give him a break from his exercise routine. If he’s been exercising excessively this could be causing the problem as well; stop for now and reward him for good behavior by taking him on an easier walk or playtime instead of continuing their regular workout regimen
– Monitor your dog after heavy exertion for any signs of difficulty breathing or uncomfortableness in your dog.
If your dog has a medical condition that is causing the heavy breathing then your vet will help to provide a treatment plan for that underlying condition.