Heavy breathing in dogs is a common thing. It is not harmless and something that you should just monitor. This is actually known as dyspnea and it is when dogs struggle to breathe. On the other side, we have tachypnea which means that a dog will breathe fast. Why is my dog breathing heavily? There are a few conditions and reasons for that and each one requires fast treatment or reaction in order to avoid any complications.
Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavily? Main Reasons.
Due To Pain
This is a rather common reason and one that can be hard to diagnose. A dog who is breathing heavily may have an injury that causes pain. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean there is no injury. It can be internal for instance. Why is my dog breathing heavily? He is in pain and this method is used to try and remove the discomfort.
Dogs will show other signs as well. These may include licking one spot, being restless, lack of appetite, and having anxiety. Usually, this starts at once and there are no other reasons or signs present.
Heat stroke is a huge issue, especially for certain breeds that have short snouts. The best examples are pugs and bulldogs but this issue does affect a lot of other dog breeds. You will see thick saliva, a tongue that is very red, and heavy breathing all combined. Keep in mind that your pet may also start vomiting, will have diarrhea, and may end up in a coma!
As you can see, not all reasons on the list are less severe. This one is very dangerous. These are transmitted via mosquito bites and they are caused by the parasite. The parasites can end up in the heart and lungs. Dogs will have fluid retention in the abdomen, they may cough and they will breathe heavily.
Congestive Heart Failure
Here we have another, severe issue. It happens when the heart of your dog is damaged or there is a disease that prevents it from pumping the blood as it should. As a result, the cells of the body will lack oxygen. The respiratory system will try to work much harder in order to compensate for this. Fluid retention, heavy breathing, and gums that are gray or blue are other signs to look for.
Diseases That Affect Small Airways And Lungs
Pneumonia and other bacterial and viral infections can cause heavy breathing in dogs. Heartworm infection, tumors, and a lot more issues can cause the problem. Sadly, there are all kinds of diseases that can cause heavy breathing and each one is dangerous!
One of the diseases that is more common in this case scenario is Cushing’s disease. It happens when the adrenal glands start to produce too much cortisol. This is a hormone. A dog will suffer from hair loss, he will breathe heavily, have massive hunger, and also pot-belly.
Diseases In The Nose
Yes, heavy breathing can be a sign of something bad in the nose of your pet. Tumors for instance can cause this. Bleeding and infections can cause the same problem.
You Must take Your Dog To A Vet
There is no simple way to say this. If your pet is breathing heavily, you must take him to a vet. As you were able to see, none of these reasons is harmless or simple to treat. In other words, these are not the things you can solve at your home. Help from a vet is something your pet needs as soon as possible.
A vet will examine the dog and determine the cause. You will need to provide answers regarding his diet, health, any treatments and so much more. The vet will also examine the gums of the dog. This is mandatory in order to determine if organs are getting all the oxygen they need.
In a case your dog suffers from a heat stroke, you need to do one more thing. Wrap the dog in blankets that are soaked in cool water and then wake it to the vet. Give him water to drink and hurry. Heat stroke can be deadly and it is extremely dangerous for certain dog breeds.
Vets will perform a lot more tests on your pet. He will have to listen to the heart, measure the body temperature (if it is higher than normal it may mean heat stroke), perform an X-ray, check the lungs, perform an echocardiogram and so much more. All of these are mandatory. In some cases, vets will need blood and urine samples. This is mandatory in order to determine the presence of bacteria, viruses etc.
Prevention Is The Key
Now when you know that all of these can be severe, there are a few things you may want to consider. The first one is to void the risk of a heat stroke. Do not allow your pet to spend a lot of time outside when the temperature is high. Allow him to spend hot hours in the shade and he needs access to water all the time.
Heartworms can be prevented as well. Your pet will need medications and vaccinations in order to be immune to these. There are a complete set of guidelines for each dog breed hence this is something you will want to learn and implement in his life.
Sadly, there is no way you can prevent all these issues. Monitor the condition of your dog and if you notice heavy breathing, take him to a vet as soon as you can.
The Final Word
These are important topics you all need to know the answers to. Why is my dog breathing heavily? He has a problem that needs treatment and a severe one. There is no way you can solve all of these at home unless you are a veterinarian. As such, if your pet starts breathing heavily and you also notice other issues or they were present a while back, a trip to your vet is mandatory.