Reasons Why Dogs Pant Heavily
24.07.23 July 24, 2023 Health

Reasons Why Dogs Pant Heavily

As dog owners, we've all experienced that familiar sight: our furry best friends panting heavily, their tongues lolling out, as if they've just sprinted a marathon. Often panting occurs after a brisk walk or vigorous playtime but it's not always as simple as it seems. While panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs, it can also be a signal of underlying issues that require attention and care. As responsible pet parents, it's essential to decode the language of our four-legged pals and recognise the reasons behind their breathless moments. In this week’s blog post, we'll embark on a journey into the world of canine panting, exploring the various reasons why dogs engage in panting, how to tell the difference between normal and excessive panting, what to do if your dog is panting and when you should contact your vet   What Is Panting? Panting is when your dog’s breathing is rapid and shallow, usually with their tongue lolling out. Usually this is nothing to worry about but in some circumstance it can indicate something more serious.   Why Is My Dog Panting? Your dog is usually panting as a response to something, either trying to cool themselves down after exercise or on a hot day. But sometimes your dog may be panting for other reasons, so it’s important to look at your dog’s body language and the wider situation so you can assess the reason your dog may be panting. Some of the most common reasons for dogs panting include: Exercise The most common reason for dogs panting is after exercise to try to cool themselves down. Dogs can’t sweat like humans to cool down, so instead panting allows them to inhale and humidify the air before exhaling, this increases the evaporation of water and cools their body from inside out. If your dog is panting after exercise there’s usually no reason to worry, as long as it’s not too hot, they will be absolutely fine.   Heat Similarly to exercise, if your dog is too hot they will pant to cool themselves down. Excessive panting could be a symptom of heatstroke, heatstroke is brought on by a sudden rise in body temperature and can often be fatal. Other symptoms of heatstroke include: Racing heart Skin which is hot to touch Glassy eyes Unsteadiness on feet Vomiting Discolouration of gums Seizures If you spot any of these signs contact your vet straight away. Our blog Heat Stroke In Dogs, has all our tips on how to keep your pet safe in summer and how to avoid heatstroke. Excitement A lot of dogs pant when they’re excited, often if they’ve been given a new toy or treat or are meeting new people they will pant. This is a way for them to show they’re excited and is usually accompanied by whining. Stress or Anxiety Similarly to excitement, dogs who are in a stressful or anxiety provoking situation will pant and whine. It’s important to look at your dog’s body language to assess if this is the case, if they are hiding, avoiding eye contact and yawning or pinning their ears back and tucking their tails away the panting could be a sign that your dog is feeling either stressed or anxious. In our research we found that separation anxiety and dog anxiety were the two most common canine mental health disorders in the UK. Obesity Obesity is unfortunately a growing problem in dogs. Overweight dogs are more likely to pant as they struggle to get the fresh oxygenated blood round their systems so are out of breath and panting. If you think your dog may be overweight speak to your vet about the best way to help manage them loosing weight. Illness or Pain Dogs are exceptionally good at hiding pain, panting coupled with other symptoms like coughing, drinking and weeing more or low energy could indicate that your dog is either ill or in pain. Illnesses such a BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway syndrome), heart disease, Cushing’s diseases, respiratory diseases and disorders or high temperatures and fevers all can cause excessive panting in dogs. If you think your dog is ill or in pain, contact your vet straight away for an assessment. Medications 
If your dog is on prednisone or another steroid they may be experiencing increased panting as a side effect. Poisoning 
One of the most common emergencies vets and vet nurses see is poisoning, whether that’s chocolate or raisin digestion, eating dangerous plants or licking a toxic substance like antifreeze, rat poison or slug killer, they can all cause panting. If you think your dog has been poisoned or eating something they shouldn’t, contact your vet right away. Allergic Reactions If your dog has recently started a new medication, in very rare cases they may have an allergic reaction. If your dog is having an allergic reaction they may be struggling to breathe and start panting more. Contact your vet right away if you think your dog is having an allergic reaction.   How To Tell If My Dog Is Panting Too Much If you’re wondering what the difference between normal dog panting and excessive panting is and how to tell the difference, then there’s a few key things to look at: What are they doing? Is there an obvious cause for the panting? - As we mentioned above, dog’s panting will usually correlate with external factors like exercise or excitement which is completely normal. Healthy dogs don’t usually pant for no reason. Does it appear excessive compared to their normal panting pattern or with more exertion than normal? - You know your dog best and will be able to tell if their panting is different to normal, or if it seems more intense. Are there any other symptoms? - If your dog’s panting is coupled with other symptoms like lethargy, not eating, coughing, discolouration of their gums or tongue, it could be a sign that the panting is a result of illness. We recommend speaking to your vet if this is the case Has their panting changed sounds? - Listen to the sound of their panting and if there is a change is sound it could be a sign of another condition at play. For example if your dog has laryngeal Paralysis, which is common in Labradors and Golden Retrievers, their panting will often sound abrasive as a result of the disfunction in their vocal cords. Or if your dog is flat faced their panting is more likely to include snorting sounds. Both of these conditions predispose them to heatstroke, which panting is an indicator of. If your dog is panting but still getting hotter, this could also be a sign of heatstroke. What To Do If Your Dog Is Panting Heavily If your dog is panting heavily there’s a few things to consider. Look for the reason - is it hot, have they been running about or are they excited. If there’s no obvious reason, contact your vet. If it’s simply from excitement or exercise give your dog a little space and time to calm down and their panting should slow dow. If it’s from overheating, you will need to act quickly but don’t panic. You will want to move your dog into the shade and offer them cool but not cold water, gently cool them down with water and then contact your vet immediately. Remember the best way to manage heat-stroke is to avoid it, don’t leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, provide plenty of shade and water, and make sure not to walk them if it’s too hot. If you suspect their panting is because of stress, stay calm and try to remove them from the situation. Once they are out the way of any danger or triggering circumstances, comfort and reassure your dog.If there’s lots of situations that repeatedly cause your dog stress and anxiety, it may be worth contacting a behaviourist who can work with your dog to overcome their fears If there’s other symptoms which cause you to think there may be an underlying issue like illness, pain, an allergic reaction or poisoning - make an appointment with your vet. They can then assess your dog and figure out the cause of their excessive panting. When To Contact A Vet For Heavy Panting Your dog suddenly starts panting with no obvious cause You think they’re in pain, suffering from an allergic reaction or poisoning Their panting is constant and intense Their tongue or gums look blue, purple or white - this is a sign they’re not getting enough oxygen They are displaying signs of heatstroke 
If you are unsure contact your vet - if you’re worried or concerned always talk to your vet, that’s what they’re there for. Questions To Ask Your Vet About Your Dogs Panting Is my dog’s panting normal or abnormal? What can be done to determine the cause? What can be done to treat the cause?   Does Your Dog Breathe Fast While Sleeping? If your dog is panting at night and the room they’re sleeping is cool, there could be a lot of reasons for this. We recommend taking your dog to the vets to find the underlying issue causing their panting at night. The reasons behind this could include anxiety - either separation anxiety if they sleep separately to you or part of a night terror, check out our blog on night terrors if you suspect your dog may be suffering from them. If you think anxiety may be causing your dog's panting at night, try putting the radio on from some background noise or using a calming diffuser.In conclusion, while panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs, it can also be a sign of underlying issues. As responsible pet owners, it's vital to recognise the reasons behind our dog's heavy panting and seek veterinary help if needed. By understanding their needs and being proactive in their care, we can ensure our beloved companions lead happy and healthy lives filled with joy and love.

By Megan Willis

Read more

As dog owners, we've all experienced that familiar sight: our furry best friends panting heavily, their tongues lolling out, as if they've just sprinted a marathon.

Often panting occurs after a brisk walk or vigorous playtime but it's not always as simple as it seems. While panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs, it can also be a signal of underlying issues that require attention and care. As responsible pet parents, it's essential to decode the language of our four-legged pals and recognise the reasons behind their breathless moments.

In this week’s blog post, we'll embark on a journey into the world of canine panting, exploring the various reasons why dogs engage in panting, how to tell the difference between normal and excessive panting, what to do if your dog is panting and when you should contact your vet

 

What Is Panting?

Golden labrador wearing pampeano collar panting

Panting is when your dog’s breathing is rapid and shallow, usually with their tongue lolling out. Usually this is nothing to worry about but in some circumstance it can indicate something more serious.

 

Why Is My Dog Panting?

Your dog is usually panting as a response to something, either trying to cool themselves down after exercise or on a hot day. But sometimes your dog may be panting for other reasons, so it’s important to look at your dog’s body language and the wider situation so you can assess the reason your dog may be panting. Some of the most common reasons for dogs panting include:

Exercise

The most common reason for dogs panting is after exercise to try to cool themselves down. Dogs can’t sweat like humans to cool down, so instead panting allows them to inhale and humidify the air before exhaling, this increases the evaporation of water and cools their body from inside out. If your dog is panting after exercise there’s usually no reason to worry, as long as it’s not too hot, they will be absolutely fine.

Two labradors on the beach running round with a tennis ball

 

Heat

Similarly to exercise, if your dog is too hot they will pant to cool themselves down. Excessive panting could be a symptom of heatstroke, heatstroke is brought on by a sudden rise in body temperature and can often be fatal. Other symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Racing heart
  • Skin which is hot to touch
  • Glassy eyes
  • Unsteadiness on feet
  • Vomiting
  • Discolouration of gums
  • Seizures

If you spot any of these signs contact your vet straight away. Our blog Heat Stroke In Dogs, has all our tips on how to keep your pet safe in summer and how to avoid heatstroke.

Excitement

A lot of dogs pant when they’re excited, often if they’ve been given a new toy or treat or are meeting new people they will pant. This is a way for them to show they’re excited and is usually accompanied by whining.

Stress or Anxiety

Similarly to excitement, dogs who are in a stressful or anxiety provoking situation will pant and whine. It’s important to look at your dog’s body language to assess if this is the case, if they are hiding, avoiding eye contact and yawning or pinning their ears back and tucking their tails away the panting could be a sign that your dog is feeling either stressed or anxious. In our research we found that separation anxiety and dog anxiety were the two most common canine mental health disorders in the UK.

Obesity

Obesity is unfortunately a growing problem in dogs. Overweight dogs are more likely to pant as they struggle to get the fresh oxygenated blood round their systems so are out of breath and panting. If you think your dog may be overweight speak to your vet about the best way to help manage them loosing weight.

Illness or Pain

Dogs are exceptionally good at hiding pain, panting coupled with other symptoms like coughing, drinking and weeing more or low energy could indicate that your dog is either ill or in pain. Illnesses such a BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway syndrome), heart disease, Cushing’s diseases, respiratory diseases and disorders or high temperatures and fevers all can cause excessive panting in dogs. If you think your dog is ill or in pain, contact your vet straight away for an assessment.

Medications


If your dog is on prednisone or another steroid they may be experiencing increased panting as a side effect.

Poisoning


One of the most common emergencies vets and vet nurses see is poisoning, whether that’s chocolate or raisin digestion, eating dangerous plants or licking a toxic substance like antifreeze, rat poison or slug killer, they can all cause panting. If you think your dog has been poisoned or eating something they shouldn’t, contact your vet right away.

Allergic Reactions

If your dog has recently started a new medication, in very rare cases they may have an allergic reaction. If your dog is having an allergic reaction they may be struggling to breathe and start panting more. Contact your vet right away if you think your dog is having an allergic reaction.

 

How To Tell If My Dog Is Panting Too Much

Two labradors on the beach panting

If you’re wondering what the difference between normal dog panting and excessive panting is and how to tell the difference, then there’s a few key things to look at:

  1. What are they doing? Is there an obvious cause for the panting? - As we mentioned above, dog’s panting will usually correlate with external factors like exercise or excitement which is completely normal. Healthy dogs don’t usually pant for no reason.
  2. Does it appear excessive compared to their normal panting pattern or with more exertion than normal? - You know your dog best and will be able to tell if their panting is different to normal, or if it seems more intense.
  3. Are there any other symptoms? - If your dog’s panting is coupled with other symptoms like lethargy, not eating, coughing, discolouration of their gums or tongue, it could be a sign that the panting is a result of illness. We recommend speaking to your vet if this is the case
  4. Has their panting changed sounds? - Listen to the sound of their panting and if there is a change is sound it could be a sign of another condition at play. For example if your dog has laryngeal Paralysis, which is common in Labradors and Golden Retrievers, their panting will often sound abrasive as a result of the disfunction in their vocal cords. Or if your dog is flat faced their panting is more likely to include snorting sounds. Both of these conditions predispose them to heatstroke, which panting is an indicator of.
  5. If your dog is panting but still getting hotter, this could also be a sign of heatstroke.


What To Do If Your Dog Is Panting Heavily

Nova scotia duck tolling retriever panting

If your dog is panting heavily there’s a few things to consider.

  1. Look for the reason - is it hot, have they been running about or are they excited. If there’s no obvious reason, contact your vet. If it’s simply from excitement or exercise give your dog a little space and time to calm down and their panting should slow dow.
  2. If it’s from overheating, you will need to act quickly but don’t panic. You will want to move your dog into the shade and offer them cool but not cold water, gently cool them down with water and then contact your vet immediately. Remember the best way to manage heat-stroke is to avoid it, don’t leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, provide plenty of shade and water, and make sure not to walk them if it’s too hot.
  3. If you suspect their panting is because of stress, stay calm and try to remove them from the situation. Once they are out the way of any danger or triggering circumstances, comfort and reassure your dog.If there’s lots of situations that repeatedly cause your dog stress and anxiety, it may be worth contacting a behaviourist who can work with your dog to overcome their fears
  4. If there’s other symptoms which cause you to think there may be an underlying issue like illness, pain, an allergic reaction or poisoning - make an appointment with your vet. They can then assess your dog and figure out the cause of their excessive panting.


When To Contact A Vet For Heavy Panting

Golden cockapoo in the boot of a car wearing a drying coat panting

  • Your dog suddenly starts panting with no obvious cause
  • You think they’re in pain, suffering from an allergic reaction or poisoning
  • Their panting is constant and intense
  • Their tongue or gums look blue, purple or white - this is a sign they’re not getting enough oxygen
  • They are displaying signs of heatstroke 
If you are unsure contact your vet - if you’re worried or concerned always talk to your vet, that’s what they’re there for.


Questions To Ask Your Vet About Your Dogs Panting

  • Is my dog’s panting normal or abnormal?
  • What can be done to determine the cause?
  • What can be done to treat the cause?

 

Does Your Dog Breathe Fast While Sleeping?

Golden cockapoo in a crate panting

If your dog is panting at night and the room they’re sleeping is cool, there could be a lot of reasons for this. We recommend taking your dog to the vets to find the underlying issue causing their panting at night. The reasons behind this could include anxiety - either separation anxiety if they sleep separately to you or part of a night terror, check out our blog on night terrors if you suspect your dog may be suffering from them. If you think anxiety may be causing your dog's panting at night, try putting the radio on from some background noise or using a calming diffuser.

In conclusion, while panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs, it can also be a sign of underlying issues. As responsible pet owners, it's vital to recognise the reasons behind our dog's heavy panting and seek veterinary help if needed. By understanding their needs and being proactive in their care, we can ensure our beloved companions lead happy and healthy lives filled with joy and love.

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    29.01.24 January 29, 2024 Health

    Why Is Chocolate Harmful To Pets?

    When it comes to indulging in sweet treats, most of us are well aware of the pleasures and potential pitfalls of consuming chocolate. However, what many pet owners may not realise is that chocolate can pose a serious threat to the health of their furry friends. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore why chocolate is harmful to pets, particularly focusing on the questions: Can cats eat chocolate? Can dogs eat chocolate? And what should you do if your pet ingests this tempting yet perilous treat?   Understanding Chocolate Toxicity: Chocolate contains substances known as theobromine and caffeine, both of which belong to a class of compounds called methylxanthines. While humans can metabolise these substances relatively easily, pets, especially dogs and cats, process them much more slowly. As a result, theobromine and caffeine can accumulate to toxic levels in their systems, leading to various health issues.   Can Cats Eat Chocolate? No, cats cannot safely consume chocolate. While felines are generally less inclined to eat chocolate compared to dogs, it's crucial for cat owners to be vigilant. Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate can cause adverse reactions in cats, leading to symptoms such as increased heart rate, restlessness, and even seizures. In severe cases, chocolate ingestion can be fatal for cats.   Is Chocolate Poisonous to Cats? Is Chocolate Toxic to Cats? Yes, chocolate is poisonous and toxic to cats. Due to their smaller size and differences in metabolism compared to dogs, cats are more sensitive to theobromine and caffeine. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause serious health issues in felines.   Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs? Yes, chocolate is indeed bad for dogs. The theobromine content in chocolate can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate, and even tremors or seizures. The severity of these symptoms depends on factors such as the type and amount of chocolate consumed, as well as the size and breed of the dog.   Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs and Cats: Chocolate poisoning occurs when pets ingest a toxic amount of theobromine and caffeine. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain higher concentrations of these substances, making them more dangerous than milk chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include: Vomiting Diarrhoea Increased heart rate Restlessness Tremors or seizures Elevated body temperature   What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate: If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate, it is essential to act promptly. Contact your vet immediately and provide them with information such as the type and amount of chocolate consumed, as well as your dog's size and breed. Your vet may recommend inducing vomiting or other appropriate treatments based on the severity of the situation.   Dog Chocolate Toxicity Calculator: To assess the potential toxicity of chocolate for your dog, various online calculators take into account factors such as the type of chocolate, the dog's weight, and the amount ingested. While these calculators can offer a rough estimate, they are not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with your vet if your pet has ingested chocolate.   Can Chocolate Kill Dogs? Can Chocolate Kill Cats? In extreme cases, chocolate ingestion can indeed be fatal for both dogs and cats. Theobromine toxicity can lead to severe complications, including cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and respiratory failure. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial to increase the chances of a positive outcome. While chocolate may be a delightful treat for humans, it poses a significant risk to the health of our beloved pets. Pet owners should be aware of the dangers associated with chocolate ingestion in dogs and cats, and take preventive measures to ensure their furry companions are kept away from this potentially lethal temptation. In case of accidental ingestion, swift action and consultation with a vet are paramount to safeguard the well-being of your pet. Remember, when it comes to chocolate and pets, prevention is the best medicine. Keep your pets out of mischief with some pet friendly treats. We’ve got a wide range of both dog treats and cat treats for you to choose from here at Lords & Labradors.

    By Megan Willis

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  • How To Protect Your Dog From The Snow During A Walk
    29.01.24 January 29, 2024 Health

    How To Protect Your Dog From The Snow During A Walk

    Winter brings a picturesque blanket of snow, transforming our surroundings into a serene wonderland. While many of us enjoy the chilly weather, our furry friends might need a little extra care, especially when it comes to venturing out for a walk. In this guide, we'll explore essential tips and tricks to ensure your dog's paws stay warm and protected during snowy strolls.   Understanding the Impact of Snow on Dog Paws: Before we delve into protective measures, it's crucial to comprehend how snow can affect your dog's paws. Cold temperatures and icy surfaces can lead to discomfort, frostbite, and even injuries. The snow can accumulate between their paw pads, causing irritation. Additionally, the salt and chemicals used to melt snow on sidewalks can be harsh on their sensitive paw pads.     Investing in Quality Dog Snow Boots: Snow boots for dogs are not just a fashion statement; they serve a crucial purpose in protecting your pet's paws from the cold and potentially harmful elements. When it comes to walking dogs in snow, investing in high-quality snow boots is paramount. Look for boots that are not only insulated for warmth but also waterproof to keep your furry friend's paws dry. Good dog snow boots will offer a combination of durability and functionality, ensuring your dog's safety and comfort. Selecting the appropriate size of snow boots for your dog is crucial. Ill-fitting boots can lead to discomfort and may even fall off during the walk. For small dogs, specialised small dog snow boots are available, offering a snug fit for breeds with dainty paws. Consider boots with adjustable straps and non-slip soles for added security.   Alternatives To Dog Snow Boots: Many dog’s aren’t a fan of wearing snow boots or socks so there are some alternative ways you can protect their paws. Before heading out, take a few minutes to check your dog's paws, look for any cuts or irritation before going out. If your dog’s paws are already looking a little worse for wear we recommend skipping the walk to stop them getting worse, you might want to try some indoor enrichment activities to wear them out instead. Trim excess fur between the paw pads to prevent snow from accumulating. Applying a pet-safe paw balm can also create a protective barrier against harsh winter elements, we love the Be:Safe paw balm or the Pethead oatmeal paw butter for protecting our dog’s paws.   Looking after your dog's paws after a snowy dog walk Once you get home from your walk we recommend giving your dog’s paws a once over to make sure they’ve not become irritated from walking through the snow and ice. To keep their paws happy we recommend you dry them off using our bamboo drying mitts and then applying another layer of paw balm to nourish them, if they look irritated try spraying some leucillin anti-septic spray which kills 99.99999% of germs on contact so will stop their paws getting infected or further irritated!   Choosing The Right Dog Snow Outfit: In extremely cold conditions, consider dressing your dog in a snow outfit for added warmth. Look for water-resistant materials that cover the torso, preventing the accumulation of snow on their fur. Ensure the outfit is well-fitted but allows for comfortable movement. We love the both the Hugo and Hudson puffer jackets and the dog overalls, both are great options for keeping your dog’s warm and dry during wintery walks. Once you’re home you could even pop one of our bamboo drying coats on to warm them up after a chilly walk.     Protecting your dog from the snow during a walk is not only a matter of comfort but also a crucial aspect of their overall well-being. Whether you opt for snow boots, socks, or a complete snow outfit, the key is to be proactive in safeguarding your furry friend from the harsh winter conditions. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your dog enjoys winter walks as much as you do

    By Megan Willis

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