Panting is a normal – and important – canine behavior. It’s their way of cooling off, as it expels excess heat and water from the tongue, as well as the lungs, much the same way sweating cools of human beings. In fact, panting can be equated to the canine equivalent of sweating.
Since panting is like sweating, it’s normal to see dogs exhibiting this behavior when they’re hot; for example, you might notice your pooch panting when he’s in his outdoor dog kennel on a hot summer day or when he’s playing, when he’s been walking for a while on his dog harness, a rigorous game of fetch with rope and tug toys. Sometimes, however, you might notice your dog panting a lot when he is overly excited; for example, when you pull out a new rubber dog toy, when you’re filling his dog bowl up with dog food, when he noticed you’re getting him a dog treat, or when your pooch sees you getting his dog collar ready for a walk, your furry friend might start to pant vigorously. If your pup is super excited and the panting becomes extremely vigorous, and it might seem like he is struggling for breath and about to hyperventilate. For some canines, over-excitement can lead to excessive panting, which can lead to hyperventilation.
Canine hyperventilation occurs when a dog is struggles to breathe. For example, panting may seem more excessive than normal and your dog might seem as if he is breathing unusually or struggling to get air. When a dog is hyperventilating, his panting may also sound strange; raspy (like he’s lost his voice) or unusually loud.
There are several factors that can lead to canine hyperventilation, including:
- Excessive heat
- Heat stroke
- A high degree of pain
- Respiratory distress
Heightened levels of excitement and anxiety can also lead to canine hyperventilation. The reason? Because when a do becomes extremely excited or anxious, his breathing and heart rate can accelerate, so much so that he may become short of breath.
Treatment for Hyperventilation
If hyperventilation is linked to over-excitement, there usually isn’t a cause for concern, as your pooch will likely start breathing normally when he calms down; however, if it seems he is really struggling to breathe or if he is constantly hyperventilating, then you should seek medical attention.
The treatment for canine hyperventilation varies and depends on the cause. For example, if your furry friend has a difficult time breathing when he’s super excited, then your veterinarian may suggest medications for dogs, either over-the-counter or prescription. If hyperventilation is linked to anxiety, CBD oil for dogs may be an effective treatment approach. For pups who struggle with breathing when they become excessively hot, cooling vests for dogs or cooling pads for dogs may prevent hyperventilation.
Hyperventilation can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as heart failure, Cushing’s disease, anemia, or respiratory disease; conditions that can be serious or even fatal. For this reason, if your pooch frequently appears to be having a hard time breathing, it’s important to take him to the vet as soon as possible.
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