Excessive Panting in Dogs at Night

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excessive panting in dogs at night

Panting in dogs is common as it helps dogs to regulate their temperature or show that they are tired from exercising. But sometimes, panting can be a symptom of a health concern. This is when you need to know whether your dog’s panting is excessive and needs to be taken more seriously.

Excessive panting in dogs at night, when they are not particularly active, is one of the best indicators that something is up with your dog. We will take a look at some different causes for excessive panting in dogs as well as what you can do to help them prior to seeking veterinarian attention.

Why do Dogs Pant?

The most common reason for dogs panting is to regulate their temperature. Dogs have a higher temperature than humans do, so they are more prone to overheating. Dogs do not sweat like humans do to control their temperature, so they rely on panting to get the job done.

Panting also indicates when a dog is tired, whether from playing or exercising for a long period of time. Much like when people pant, dog panting helps dogs catch their breath and regulate their breathing back to normal. These common reasons for dog panting are normal and are not a concern.

Other reasons for dogs panting is to show how they are feeling. Some of the time excessive panting can be linked to fear or anxiety. It can be your dog’s way of showing discomfort, whether from something that stresses him or that he is afraid of. If you can determine what is causing your dog stress then you can try and him by removing the trigger that is causing the fear.

More severe cases of excessive dog panting can be due to medical issues. There is a multitude of issues that could cause this type of panting, so seeking a veterinarian is vital in order to help your dog in this situation.

When is Panting Considered a Sign of a Health Problem?

Normal dog panting can be identified with the low sound, the calmness in a dog, and a breathing rate of about 300 to 400 inhalations and exhalations per minute. Normal panting calms down after your dog takes a much-needed break or drinks water to calm themselves. Abnormal panting, though, can be easily identified.

Abnormal dog panting can be identified by:

  • Panting that is excessive compared to normal dog panting behavior from exercise and exertion.
  • The panting is random without any triggers, such as warm weather or long exercise times.
  • The panting sounds louder, harsher, or more strained than normal.
  • It happens at night when your dog is normally calm and relaxed.

If you notice that your dog’s panting habit has become abnormal and fits one of the identifiers above, then your dog may not be feeling at their best. Many times, when a dog is ill or in pain, they pant to bring awareness to their health. Often times owners do not notice the panting abnormality until nighttime where everything is quiet and the dog’s panting is more noticeable.

If a dog is panting excessively at night, it could be due to one of many health concerns. One main reason could be due to a possible liver disease. A dog’s liver is much more active at night when dogs are calm and it can function better, but if it is not functioning properly this can cause excessive panting.

Senior dogs may also be prone to excessive panting at night due to their weakening joints. Like in people, joints tend to act up when the body is resting, which can be really painful for older dogs. As a result, senior dogs will pant excessively to try and calm themselves from the pain.

There are a number of medical reasons that may cause a dog to pant excessively:

  • Heatstroke
  • Breed Predisposition
  • Pain
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Anemia
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Medication

To be able to diagnose exactly what the cause is for your pup it is best to take your dog to the vet immediately.

How to Help a Dog Suffering from Excessive Panting

The most vital thing to do if you notice your dog panting excessively at night is to take him to the vet as soon as possible. The longer a vet trip is delayed, the worse the symptoms may become and the harder it may become to treat your dog.

Be sure to note when you noticed that your dog’s panting has changed as this could help the vet narrow down possible causes. If your dog has started on a new medication be sure to let the vet know as some medications can cause excessive panting. The vet can then switch the medication and help return your dog back to normal.

Until you can see your vet you can try a few things at home to help your dog:

These at-home solutions are only meant to provide temporary relief until proper treatment can be administered.

Excessive Panting in Dogs is not Normal!

Excessive panting in dogs is a serious medical concern that should not be overlooked. It can be a bit of a struggle to determine the primary cause for the excessive panting, but once it has been diagnosed your dog will be on the speedy track to recovery. You know your dog best, so keep an eye out for any changes in health and behavior to ensure your pup stays happy and healthy.

For more on keeping your dog healthy and happy, read these articles:

How to Care for Your Senior Dog

Is Your Senior Dog Restless at Night?

What to Expect with an Aging Dog

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excessive panting in dogs at night