Sometimes, it’s undeniably grueling and tricky to understand whether your chihuahua or bulldog is behaving normally. You may have noticed your dog breathing heavily and fast, though acting normal and healthy.
Worse, it’s a mixed feeling when you cannot discern whether your canine friend is sick or not. At times the heavy breathing could be the dog’s reaction after playing or after vigorous physical activity. That behavior is normal as it’s trying to rest by cooling itself down. And it’s nothing serious.
But if the condition persists, it could be a sign of a health complication, even if it’s acting fine and cheerful. So, should it bother you? Absolutely, yes, because it’s not normal behavior in dogs. The earlier you attend to the issue, the easier it will be to get your dog back in good health.
How Can You Tell Your Dog’s Abnormal Heavy Breathing?
It’s typically necessary to be in a position where you can tell your dog’s heavy breathing is unusual.
You can notice the breathing sound it produces in close intervals. But it’s essential to take a step further in checking your dog’s breathing rate to understand the seriousness of the condition. It helps to decide on the next action to take, whether to seek the assistance of a professional pet medic immediately. Already, it’s logical there’s something amiss with its respiration.
What’s The Normal Dog’s Respiratory Rate?
You can determine your dog’s respiratory rate by counting the number of breaths taken in a minute and comparing it to the normal respiratory rate.
The normal respiratory rate depends on the size of the dog. If it’s a small dog or rather a puppy, it ranges between 20 and 40 breaths per one minute. The adult dogs respire between 10 and 35 breaths per minute.
Taking the counts is done correctly in this manner:
- Put your hand gently against your dog’s chest. (Put in mind that the chest rising means your dog is inhaling, and a chest fall means the dog is exhaling. Each breath is a sum of one chest rise and one chest fall).
- Count the number of breaths for 30 seconds. Getting the count per minute, you multiply the value by two. But you can count till one minute elapses.
If the count exceeds the normal respiratory rate, it’s right to conclude your dog is ailing from a certain disease. Therefore, it needs urgent medical action. You also need to check the temperature and heart rate to validate that the dog is ill.
Causes Of Abnormal Heavy Breathing in Dogs
Abnormal heavy breathing is not a disease of its own. In most cases, it’s a symptom of an underlying health issue amongst other symptoms.
You are already aware of when to be concerned about the heavy breathing in your dog at this juncture. You can quickly tell whether it’s normal or something life-threatening. Wondering which health conditions may accelerate the heavy breathing in your dog? Here they are.
Food poisoning in dogs occurs when their body does not accept toxic substances such as thiosulphate. If you didn’t know, any food high in thiosulphates is a no-no for all dog breeds. This is food such as onions and garlic.
Some dogs have food allergies too. Mostly it’s protein food such as soy, chicken, or any dairy products. Also, your dog may be allergic to environmental matter that may alter its body functioning. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust, or dust mites. All these may lead to breathing difficulties in your dog.
As much as anemia occurs in humans, it’s a condition that may develop in your dog if the red blood cells count is low.
Usually, if your dog is healthy, it should have a minimum of 35%-55% red blood cells volume. Anything less than that, the dog becomes anemic. Consequently, heavy breathing may start to show.
Anemia is fatal as it also results in abnormal weight loss, paleness, and body weakness. Your dog tends to feel tired easily even after a small exercise; hence heavy breathing is seen when it’s at rest.
Dyspnea is a respiratory condition whereby your dog struggles to breathe and feels like it’s running short of oxygen. It’s simply insufficient air reaching the lungs, which may escalate to heavy breathing too.
This could be due to heart complications, trauma, or underlying lung disease. Also, there could be an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. In such a situation, chest radiographs are conducted followed by intensive therapy to promote the heart’s health.
Like dyspnea, tachypnea is a respiratory issue. The difference lies in the fact that tachypnea is characterized by rapid breaths. The breathing is shallow and not normal. However, dyspnea is more critical than tachypnea.
Tachypnea can be caused by exertion or scorching weather. If worse, then it could be as a result of lung or heart complications. Though if it’s a worse condition, then it’s developing into dyspnea.
Common Accompanying symptoms
As said earlier, heavy breathing tends to co-exist with other symptoms such as:
- Blue and pale gums
- Weight loss
Proper Treatment and Cure
Abnormal heavy breathing is treatable. It only requires you to consult the vet as the immediate action before doing anything in response to the issue.
The vet recommends treatment depending on the symptoms noticed, and the illness observed. That’s why it’s never 100% safe to take the matter into your own hands unless you’re a skilled veterinarian. You can worsen the problem by administering the wrong medication.
If it’s a severe case, then a diagnosis is made to determine the illness behind the heavy panting. Plus, the dog is put under supplemental oxygen at a veterinary dispensary. Also, if the dog has a heart complication, it may be subjected to heart medications and likewise for lung problems. Bronchodilators and corticosteroids are examples of drugs administered.
Home Remedies you can implore to minimize the heavy breaths include effectively:
- CBD oil for pets
- Maintaining the dog’s healthy weight
- Antihistamines if your dog is proven to react to specific allergies.
- Nasal drops to decongest the airways.
Heavy breathing in your beautiful dog could be expected or an unusual condition. If your dog is healthy and sound, it pants heavily to cool itself due to the hot weather or overexertion.
But if the heavy breaths are disease-related, it’s advisable to reach out to your most trusted vet for immediate help before the problem worsens. However, if unsure of what’s going on, it’s safest to seek professional assistance from a vet. Otherwise, heavy breathing in dogs is a common occurrence and should not scare you. All in all, ensure your dog stays healthy, fit, and active all year round to prolong its life span.