Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavily in Jenison, MI?

We have all seen a dog breathing heavily after they have just done some exercising or if they have spent some time in the hot sun. This is completely normal, but what about dogs that are breathing heavily for seemingly no reason at all?

 

In many cases abnormal and unexplained heavy breathing in dogs is a sign that something is wrong with them. This can often be a sign that a dog is experiencing pain or difficulty breathing as a result of a serious medical condition.

 

In this article we will be describing some of the most common causes for heavy breathing in dogs that seem to be abnormal and unexplainable. In addition to this, we will also be explaining when you should see a vet about your dog’s heavy breathing. Let’s get into it.

Causes For Abnormal Heavy Breathing In Dogs

There are many possible causes for heavy breathing in dogs. Many times a dog will breathe heavily simply because the weather is hot or because they have just undergone some physical activity. However, heavy breathing with no known cause can be a sign of a health problem such as heat stroke, heart failure, or respiratory related illnesses. In addition to this, unusually heavy breathing in dogs can sometimes also be a sign of pain. Here are some of the possible causes for abnormal and unexplained heavy breathing in dogs.

Dog Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a life threatening condition in dogs that occurs when their body temperature gets too high. Some dogs are more at risk for developing heat stroke than others, particularly dogs that have short noses like Bulldogs. In addition to heavy breathing and excessive panting, there are some other symptoms of heat stroke that dog owners should look out for. These symptoms include:

 

  • Collapse
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting (may be bloody)
  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Urine containing blood
  • Seizures
  • Skin abnormalities like red spots or bruising
  • Elevated body temperature

 

When it comes to heat stroke you will likely need to take action to cool the dog down before making the trip to the emergency vet. It is recommended that you call your nearest emergency vet immediately for instructions on how to get your dog’s body temperature down to normal.

Why is my dog breathing heavy in Jenison, MI

Heavy Breathing Can Be a Sign of Pain

In some cases heavy or labored breathing and excessive panting can be a sign that they are in pain. Dogs may or may not exhibit other signs of pain such as limping, trembling, whining, or hiding. Due to the fact that heavy breathing can sometimes be  the only sign of pain in dogs, it is best to take your dog to the vet for unexplained heavy breathing, even if they are not exhibiting any other unusual symptoms.

Ingesting Something Poisonous

Sometimes heavy and labored breathing can also be a sign that a dog has eaten something poisonous. This can include ingesting poisonous chemicals or ingesting poisonous foods like chocolate or grapes. Some other signs of poisoning in dogs include but may not be limited to:

 

  • Vomiting and diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Tremors and difficulty walking
  • Unusual bruising

 

Poisoning is also a potentially life-threatening condition in dogs. As a result, it is important that you call your emergency vet or a poison hotline immediately if you suspect that they have eaten something toxic. Calling before making the trip to the emergency vet can allow you to make some potentially life saving steps before making the trip.

Respiratory Problems

Sometimes unexplained heavy breathing in dogs can be a sign that they have a respiratory problem or condition. This heavy breathing is often accompanied by other symptoms like voice change, coughing, wheezing, and snoring. Here are some respiratory conditions that can cause unexplained and abnormal heavy breathing in dogs.

 

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome
  • Illnesses like kennel cough, dog flu, and bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Lung cancer
  • Laryngeal paralysis

 

As you can imagine, some respiratory conditions on the above list are much more serious than others. Still, it is always a good idea to take your dog to the vet if they are experiencing unexplained heavy breathing. This way they can get the treatment that they need in a timely matter.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is an endocrine (hormone) disorder that is more common in older dogs. In addition to heavy breathing, some of the most commonly seen symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in dogs include:

 

  • Excessive thirst, urination, and appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Skin lesions
  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

 

This is a very serious condition in dogs, but early intervention and treatment can keep your dog comfortable while still maintaining a good quality of life.

dog heavy breathing in Jenison, MI

Heart Failure

Although it may be surprising to some dog owners, heavy and labored breathing in dogs can also potentially be a sign of heart failure. Heart failure can be caused by several different things including a severe heartworm infection, heart defects, valve disease, and obesity. Here are some of the other potential symptoms of heart failure in dogs:

 

  • Lethargy
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Blue gums and tongue
  • Collapse
  • A distended and swollen abdomen
  • Restless behaviors such as pacing
  • Exercise intolerance

 

Heart failure can be a deadly condition in dogs. As a result, it is recommended that you take your dog to the emergency vet immediately if you suspect that they are experiencing heart failure.

Side Effect From Medications

In some cases heavy breathing can also be a side effect from medication. If your dog is on a new medication and they are suddenly breathing heavily then it is recommended that you call your vet to check if this is a potential side effect. Depending on your dogs situation, their medication may need to be changed or the dosage altered.

If you feel that your dog is breathing heavily for seemingly no reason, don’t hesitate to contact Chicago Drive Veterinary Clinic for help. Our team is more than ready to assist you with whatever help your pet may need.

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About Chicago Drive Veterinary Clinic

In 1997, we established Chicago Drive Veterinary Clinic in Jenison as a place where people and their pets can be treated not as clients, but as extended members of our family.  Our mission as your veterinarian is to deliver care we can be proud of—care that goes beyond simply meeting your pet’s most essential needs.