Why is my dog a heavy breather? Surprising Answer

When To Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Heavy Breathing

It’s normal for dogs to pant or breathe heavily after exercising (walking or running), playing, or if they are in a hot environment where they need to cool down. In most cases, it is no cause for alarm.

However, you should be concerned about your dog’s breathing if:

1. Your dog is breathing heavy at rest

If your dog is breathing heavy at rest, it can be a red flag for a number of serious health issues. Keep an eye on your dog’s breathing, and if the problem seems persistent, take them to the vet.

2. Your dog is displaying pale or blue gums while breathing heavy

If your dog’s gums are pale or turning blue, seek medical attention right away. This is a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen and can be a life-threatening situation.

3. Your dog is panting with a closed or partially open mouth

While panting is normal in dogs, if your dog is breathing heavily with a closed mouth or just a partially open mouth, it can be a sign of something more serious and should receive medical attention.7

4. Your dog is coughing and breathing heavy

If your dog is coughing and breathing heavy, it may be a sign of chronic bronchitis or another serious respiratory issue.

5. Your dog appears to be in distress

A dog in distress may be restless, have little to no appetite, and try to hide. Your dog may show other signs of stress such as tucking the tail between the legs and ears that are pinned back rather than being relaxed.8

If your dog is breathing heavy in addition to showing signs of distress, take them to the vet as soon as possible.

6. Your dog is making other noises while breathing heavy

If your dog is having difficulty breathing, they may also make other noises such as snorting, wheezing, or retching. These are common symptoms associated with other respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis.

Causes of Fast Breathing in Dogs

Fast breathing in dogs may indicate a number of conditions, injuries or illnesses and should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Some potential causes include:

  • Asthma
  • Breed characteristics (squish-faced breeds may be more prone to breathing problems)
  • Kennel Cough
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Trachea (windpipe) issues
  • Rhinitis (bacterial or fungal infection in the nasal chambers)
  • Pressure on the windpipe
  • Stiffening of airways
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Lung diseases such as cancer, parasitic infections or pneumonia
  • Compressed lungs
  • Hernia
  • Heatstroke
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Anxiety

    In addition to panting, dogs suffering from anxiety may exhibit destructive behaviors, urinate or defecate indoors, and show additional signs of distress. While it’s upsetting to see your fur baby feeling so anxious, anxiety isn’t a medical emergency, though we still recommend that you contact your vet.

    3 Types of Dog Breathing Problems and What to Do