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(505) 771-3311

4192 State Highway 528 NE, Rio Rancho, NM 87144

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Is My Dog’s Panting Normal?

Is your dog’s panting normal, or are they in respiratory distress? While it’s common for dogs to pant when they’re hot, excited, or exerting themselves, heavy, noisy breathing can also be a sign of something more serious. Vet clinics like Coronado Pet Hospital in Rio Rancho, NM, can help you determine if your dog’s panting is normal or if there’s a bigger issue at play.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Dogs pant for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is to regulate their body temperature. When dogs are too hot, they pant to evaporate moisture from their tongues, which helps them cool down. Dogs also pant when they’re excited or anxious.

What Causes Respiratory Distress?

Respiratory Distress, however, is not just normal panting. A variety of reasons can cause abnormal panting, including trauma, airway obstruction, or heart problems.

  • Dogs who are hit by a car can suffer lung contusions, an introduction of air into the chest cavity (pneumothorax), or one or more broken ribs (flail chest), all of which interfere with the pet’s ability to move air into and out of their lungs freely.
  • Dogs can be affected by some sort of airway obstruction, whether from a foreign object, severe asthma, or brachycephalic airway disease. Bulldogs, Boxers, and Frenchies are especially susceptible to the latter.
  • Heart disease, in which the heart cannot pump blood efficiently through the body, can be responsible for fluid build-up in or around the lungs. This also interferes with the dog’s ability to breathe freely.
  • Once in distress, dogs may overheat because they cannot cool themselves efficiently. This adds another whole set of problems.

When truly in distress, pets may make harsh noises or wheeze when breathing. Their gums and tongue may turn bright red, especially if they’re overheating. Severe distress may turn the tongue purple or blue, and your dog may lose consciousness or even die.

Respiratory distress in dogs is a veterinary emergency. Please refer to the “24 Hour Vets” link under the Contact Us section of our webpage to receive immediate help.

Concerned About Your Pet’s Wellbeing? Coronado Pet Hospital Is Here to Help!

At Coronado Pet Hospital, we understand that your pet is a member of your family, and we are dedicated to giving them the highest quality of care possible. Contact us today for an appointment with one of our experienced veterinarians to discuss your dog’s overall health and their risk of developing any respiratory issues.

We look forward to meeting you and your pet!







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