Dogs can suffer from a wide variety of illnesses and so owners need to keep an eye on their dogs in order to determine what possible issue the dog is suffering from. One potential problem that can signal a wide variety of other problems is hyperventilation, or when a dog seems to be panting heavily. By identifying and then getting to the bottom of the underlying cause of the hyperventilation, the owner can quickly determine how to solve the problem and do something about it.
Can Dogs Hyperventilate?
Dog hyperventilation is simply when a dog pants far more than it normally should. Hyperventilation in dogs is usually caused by too much heat in the area or having just survived some sort of trauma, as well as a symptom of a possible poisoning or other life-threatening causes. By paying attention to how fast a dog is currently breathing versus how fast it should be breathing, the owner can quickly determine that the dog is in trouble and possibly take steps to prevent the death of the animal.
In general, a dog breathes about ten to thirty times per minute. Breathing faster than that can indicate that the dog is suffering from some sort of problem.
While some dogs, such as Boston terriers and pugs, will tend to breathe heavily with even the least amount of exertion due to their shorter nose, that is different from hyperventilation, which is when the pet is breathing far harder than even when it is under exertion. Hyperventilation should be treated as suspicious behavior and a cause should be determined as quickly as possible.
Other signs of hyperventilation include blue gums, excessive panting and drooling, weakness or dizziness, collapsing or fainting, snorting, and possibly wheezing. It should be noted that most of these signs are reasonably subtle. As such, you should try to establish some sort of baseline for the pet in those areas so that you will be able to quickly determine if your dog is suffering from any of those symptoms. You can then start treatment for hyperventilation a lot quicker.
Why is My Dog Breathing Heavy and Fast?
The biggest problem is that the dog may be suffering from heat exhaustion, which can lead to a heat stroke. The dog is attempting to cool itself down. As most dogs only have sweat glands on their tongue and paws, the hyperventilation is an attempt to bring as much air as possible to cool the animal down. If it does not succeed, then it likely fall unconscious and die from a heat stroke soon, unless something is done to cool the animal down as quickly as possible. Note that submerging the dog in cool but not cold water can help as well.
The animal may also be suffering from a variety of other issues. Poisoning is a potential one, as are some forms of chronic illness or some respiratory diseases. Potential heart failure is another problem.
Another relatively common issue is Cushing’s Syndrome, where the adrenal glands are producing too much cortisol. It also features thirst and urination, extreme hunger, hair loss, and a potbelly. Again, this is why you should establish some sort of baseline with your pet ahead of time. It makes a diagnosis that much easier.
There can be other causes to keep an eye out for as well. If the dog has been in an accident, it may have suffered an internal injury and is trying to deal with the pain. A visit to the veterinary emergency room is in order.
Some medicines may cause it as well. Check with your veterinarian to determine if that may be a cause.
In general, do what you can to make the animal more comfortable, but head to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
What to Do When Your Dog is Hyperventilating
If your dog is hyperventilating, the first thing to do is to check its rectal temperature. If the temperature is above 103 degrees then you need to get the animal’s temperature below 103 degrees as quickly as possible. Continue checking the temperature rectally until the temperature drops below that mark. This can mean anything from simply getting it to a colder area or using ice to cool the animal down. Submerging the animal in cold water will stop some blood flow as vessels contract and that will create other problems.
You should also take the animal to the veterinarian in any other case. Worst case scenario is that it is some sort of chronic disease or poisoning. In either case, you are unlikely to be able to do anything to save the animal and it requires professional help in order to deal with the problem. As such, you need to take the dog to the nearest veterinarian as quickly as possible in order to save the animal.
One last option is that of reverse sneezing, or long rapid breaths. This is normally not something to be worried about as it is common among dogs with short, broad noses. However, if you are worried about it, you can always ask your veterinarian. There is also always the possibility of an allergic reaction, although it is somewhat rare. As usual, the solution is to take the dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Odds are that you will be tempted to try various homeopathic means to help the animal. After all, if they work on humans they should work as well for animals. Unfortunately, some of those treatments are created for a human dealing with a panic attack or some other breakdown. Your dog is likely dealing with an actual medical problem, and as such homeopathic treatments are unlikely to be useful, and are likely to actually exacerbate the problem rather than make it better.
Prevention and Treatment of Dog Hyperventilation
Generally speaking, there is no real way to prevent hyperventilation. The problem is that most of its causes can happen with no warning. The other causes can be seen ahead of time and allowed for some time ahead of the problem. In short, outside of being aware of your dog’s medications and conditions, and keeping your pet out of the heat, there is no real way to prevent your dog from experiencing hyperventilation, and even that is limited to just being aware that it may be a problem.
Treatment is also pretty limited due to its causes. If it is heat exhaustion, then just follow the steps given above to treat it. In all other cases, you can do little more than make the dog comfortable and get the animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Generally, there is little you can do to actually treat the condition due to the nature of the problem, so taking the animal to a veterinarian is the best possible solution, and often the only one available to help the animal in question.
Note that making the animal comfortable is always a good thing in order to avoid other potential issues. By making the animal as comfortable as you can you relax the animal, which also prevents it from moving and eliminates the possibility of a panic attack. While the animal is no doubt in pain, in most cases you doing what you can do to make the animal comfortable will relax the animal, who usually trusts you to help it. Establishing and maintaining that trust helps you help it, at least as much as you can.
The best way to make a pet comfortable is to wrap it loosely in a blanket and hold it. Do not constrict it too tightly or you may cause the pet to panic. If possible, keep up any kind of soothing sounds you can think of. If you cannot do that, then talk to it in a soothing voice. The idea is to make the dog actually comfortable so that it does not panic and make the problem worse. Holding it too tight may in and of itself make the problem worse. Hold it loosely, talk to it, and the animal should keep it together.
What do you do when a dog is having a panic attack?
Dogs can easily experience a panic attack for a variety of reasons. The usual signs are excessive salivation, looking for the owner, hiding, vomiting, sudden panting, pacing, trembling, shaking, or urinating. Dogs can suffer panic attacks when confined, due to loud noises, when traveling, or even when separated from the owner.
You should avoid punishing the dog as it had no real control over the situation. You should debate taking the dog to a veterinarian for an evaluation. Develop some sort of comfort plan for the animal, possibly involving close contact, a warm blanket, or toys to distract it. You should also consider CBD treats. However, check with your veterinarian before even looking into them as some pets may have some issues with CBD snacks.
The comfort plan is usually the biggest problem you face when dealing with a doggie panic attack. Different animals require different plans. If you have three animals you will likely require three different comfort plans. You may want to think about music, soft blankets, toys, and even just holding the animal. Just keep in mind that different animals will have their own requirements for a comfort plan, and you should allow for those differences when you create your comfort plans. If an animal has a favorite toy, blanket, or anything else, make sure to include that in the comfort plan.
Strangely, some homeopathic treatments may actually be useful in dealing with a pet’s panic attack whereas they would be harmful in treating hyperventilation. Make sure that the treatment does not use any sort of chemical or plant-based treatment and you should be okay. Not all plants affect animals the same way that they do humans, and may actually be harmful to the pet in question.
Try to avoid anything that will startle the pet and you should do okay. The problem is that some homeopathic treatments require injections, strange smells, or eating or drinking strange substances. These will tend to frighten the pet and actually make its condition worse.
Keep in mind that you are trying to at least make it feel more comfortable and that exposing it too weird experiences will usually not have the effect you want. Bear that in mind when deciding on treatment and your pet may actually get better.
Why is My Dog Panting While Resting?
It is actually relatively normal for a dog to pant while resting. This usually means that the dog is experiencing above-average local temperatures and is merely attempting to cool down, or is excited.
The only time you should worry about a dog panting is if the dog is panting more than regular, in which case treat as per the normal treatment for hyperventilation.
It should be noted that merely panting is not necessarily a cause for concern as there are numerous reasons for a pet to be panting while resting. Most dogs will experience panting incidents throughout their lifetime. Just like a wet dog nose, it is merely part of being a pooch, who has limited areas where they can sweat. As panting is usually the best way to control their temperature, regular panting should not be considered a problem. It is the same as human sweating under normal situations and about as unhealthy. Panting in and of itself is not a bad thing unless coupled with some other symptom.
There are a number of issues that can cause hyperventilation, ranging from possible heat exhaustion to poisoning. By paying attention and catching the hyperventilation, an owner can determine what is wrong with his pet and then take the steps necessary to save the pet in question.
While it can be difficult to tell when some dogs are hyperventilating, detecting it can be the first step to solving the problem and thus saving the life of your beloved pet.