We all want to have happy and healthy dogs, so it’s up to us, the owners, to be on the lookout for warning signs that our dogs are distressed or uncomfortable. Some signs are more evident than others, like heavy breathing. Heavy breathing could be a symptom of something more severe, so it’s always good to get your pup to the vet immediately before the conditions worsen.
Signs To Look Out For
You’d think rapid breathing heavily in and of itself should be a good indication that something is wrong with your dog, and for the most part, it is. Still, you should consider other problems along with your dog breathing fast to ensure you give the vet the proper information to diagnose the problem quickly. Some of these symptoms include:
Coughing can be associated with several problems. Keep an eye out for the type of cough to determine what might be wrong with your dog. For example, dry cough with gagging and retching may indicate bronchitis, while a wet cough with other symptoms like behavioral issues or loss of appetite could mean pneumonia. An old dog coughing and gagging is also another story.
Often accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing can be a sign of more severe issues like a bacterial infection. So excessive sneezing is what you want to watch out for, accompanied by any other symptom on the list.
Dog’s usually pant when they are hot, but this can also be a symptom of a more severe issue such as heatstroke. Also, check your dog’s body temperature to ensure your dog doesn’t have a fever, as this can also be a symptom of other problems.
Nausea is a problem in and of itself that causes dog heavy breathing, but it can also be a symptom, including vomiting and retching. So the issue itself could be nausea, or it could be something worse, like poisoning. In both cases, take your dog to the vet immediately.
Sometimes difficulty breathing is often a part of your dog’s behavior. So, be on the lookout for other behavioral signs to gauge, like fear or aggression. You need to be able to correctly identify if your dog’s breathing is due to a behavioral issue. For example, if they are experiencing fear or anxiety, look out for other signs of fear.
Pale Gums/Blue Gums
Pale gums or blue gums are often an indication that something is wrong with your dog. However, these can be symptoms of many other issues, so if you see pale gums on your dog, take them to the vet immediately.
Loss of Appetite
If your dog isn’t eating along with abnormal breathing, this can be a sign of poisoning. Loss of appetite is a common symptom for dogs with problems, so make sure you keep an eye on them, and if the symptom worsens or if it’s been going on for long periods, then you may have a severe issue.
What Could It Mean?
Heavy breathing is often a lung issue, but other concerns may cause your dog’s breathing symptoms. While you should always consult your vet before diagnosing the problem yourself, here are a few reasons why your dog may be going through labored breathing.
Respiratory diseases often mean your dog has fluid in his lungs, resulting in a dog being unable to breathe correctly. Common diseases are bronchitis and pneumonia . Check to see what kind of cough your dog has to help determine the exact problem. Respiratory Diseases are often broad but have a lot of the same symptoms. You may even find a few of them on this list.
Often, your dog may get into things they shouldn’t like grass or household items, which can cause serious issues. For example, breathing hard along with loss of appetite is often a cause of poisoning. So if you feed your dog table scraps, make sure there aren’t any poisonous foods to them before feeding them. You can also try feeding them today’s best dog food for sensitive stomachs that is specifically designed to help ease any nausea created by the poisoning.
Sometimes your dog is just tired. So naturally, dogs pant when they are tired to make sure your dog gets plenty of rest and water. However, if the breathing problem continues, then you may have something more serious to worry about.
Dogs pant to cool themselves off, but if they continue to breathe heavily, then it may be time to get your pet checked for heatstroke. To prevent heatstroke, make sure you give your dog plenty of cool water on hot days and give them plenty of shade. Over-exertion can also be linked to heatstroke.
Disrupted Ph balance
Dog’s need a certain acidity level in their blood in order for their organs to function properly. Without a balanced Ph level, they may start breathing hard and become lethargic.
Sometimes it may just be your dog’s age. As your pup gets older, they may find it hard to function correctly, and that includes getting some much-needed oxygen into its lungs. This can also be an age-related problem such as dementia which causes confusion, heavy breathing, and distress.
Anemia is a condition in which red blood cell levels drop and don’t create enough oxygen for the body. Your dog must breathe harder to compensate for the loss of oxygen. They may also become lethargic.
Did you know dogs can suffer from anxiety too? When stress happens to your dog, they usually start to breathe harder. Stress is also followed by their tail tucked between their legs, trembling, hiding, and whimpering. So, try to find out whatever it is that’s stressing your dog out or you can try giving them some CBD oil for dogs to help relieve their anxiety.
Asthma can be life-threatening or non-life-threatening, so make sure you pay attention to your dog and see how bad their asthma is. For example, if your dog is breathing hard, wheezing, and coughing, then they may have asthma. In addition, some environmental allergies such as cigarette smoke and pollen can be a cause of asthma in dogs.
Some breeds of dogs like pugs or French bulldogs have a snout that looks like it’s been punched in. These breeds naturally tend to suffer more from respiratory problems, but breathing hard could also just be due to their short snout.
Some small breeds, such as chihuahuas and terriers, have a soft windpipe. This windpipe needs surgery for support, or else it will constantly collapse whenever your dog takes a breath. Other problems such as tumors in the trachea can also cause heavy breathing.
Diabetes often affects older dogs but can affect younger ones too. Some symptoms may include thirst, weight gain, hair loss, changes in skin color, or protruding belly. Make sure you take your dog to the vet immediately, as this can be life-threatening.
This disease is often mistaken for diabetes due to having a lot of the same symptoms.
Cushing’s Syndrome occurs when a dog has an electrolyte imbalance caused by too much cortisol in its system. This often is a serious issue that requires surgery.
Dogs with a little more meat on their bone don’t get around as good as thin, healthy ones, so you may notice that they tend to breathe harder while moving. So keep an eye on your dog’s weight to reduce this symptom.
Milk fever affects nursing mother dogs. This is when their calcium levels drop to an alarming level and cause problems. Breathing heavy, weakness, and trembling are symptoms of this disease. It is a serious condition, so make sure you call your vet right away if you notice this in your nursing mother dog.
Heart problems such as heart disease and heartworm are serious problems that need immediate attention. A dog’s heart carries oxygen to vital organs in the body, and if it doesn’t work correctly, your dog may start breathing harder. As a result, heart disease is often severe. Heartworm can cause a lot of the same symptoms and is transmitted through a mosquito bite. Cure for heartworm is often dangerous and complicated, so make sure your dog is protected from mosquitos.
High Blood Pressure
This is a serious condition that makes the heart overwork and often leads to more problems such as blindness, blood clots, and kidney disease and failure. Also, keep on the lookout for symptoms of high blood pressure in dogs, such as high thyroid hormone levels and agitation.
Sometimes there is no reason for your dog’s breathing other than natural causes like excitement or when your dog is hot. This is referred to as panting. Your dog should only pant for a few minutes before returning to normal, so if they happen to pant more, it might be a good idea to get them to the vet to see if there are any underlying issues.
Kennel cough is common among dogs who are kept in close proximity . It is a type of respiratory disease that is very contagious and is caused by bacteria or a virus forming in the lungs. If your dog has kennel cough, keep them away from other animals and call a vet. This condition is not deadly, especially if you catch it in its early stages.
Certain medications like pain medications may cause your dog to start breathing harder. This is often a side effect, so if it happens, there is no need to worry unless your dog seems to be in distress. Call your vet to make sure the medication you are giving your dog does indeed have a side effect of heavy breathing.
Heavy breathing is also a side effect of nausea and vice versa. Common causes of nausea can include motion sickness, poisoning, or some other illness. If your dog is nauseous, try to find out the reason. If there is no discernable cause and the conditions worsen, it may be a sign of a more serious problem, and you should immediately take them to the vet.
Why is my dog breathing heavily while resting?
Heart problems are a major issue with dogs. If you notice your dog’s breathing worsens while they’re lying down, take them to a vet immediately. Fluid in the lungs is also an issue you may want to consider. Don’t confuse this with barking in their sleep which is often caused by dreams. Although it is less severe than heart problems, you still need to ensure your dog gets the proper vet care to treat its symptoms.
What are the signs of respiratory distress in a dog?
Coughing is always a good sign that there are some respiratory problems. However, if your dog is also sneezy and has a runny nose, it could have some serious issues. Also, be on the lookout for blue gums, distressed behavior, and abnormal chest movements.
Does heavy breathing mean a dog is dying?
Not always. Although heavy breathing can be a symptom of a more serious issue sometimes, it can just be related to natural behavior like heat or excitement. Always be sure to check and see if there are any other symptoms related to your dog’s heavy breathing to distinguish between a serious issue or a non-serious issue properly.
What do you do when your dog is breathing heavily?
If you notice your dog is breathing heavily, check for other symptoms for why that may be. It could just be a sign of stress if paired with whimpering or excitement, which you can help relieve by taking care of the causes of your dog’s stress. If there are more severe symptoms, take your dog to a vet to get them checked out.