Diagnosing a Dog With Heavy Breathing Symptoms

Dog heavy breathing symptoms could be caused by a number of ailments. It's important to evaluate respiratory symptoms in the context of any other symptoms your dog may display concurrently. Here's a guide to diagnosing the cause of heavy breathing in dogs.

Hot Weather Can Cause Labored Breathing in Dogs

If your dog becomes overheated, he may begin panting quite rapidly. Dogs don't sweat; they cool themselves by breathing. Because they have fur coats, dogs can overheat quickly. If your dog has been in the heat for any length of time, especially if it's very hot, his heavy breathing symptoms may be the result of overheating.

Here are some other symptoms of heat stroke in dogs:

  • Wide eyes
  • Thick saliva
  • Bright red tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering
  • Diarrhea
  • Coma

If your dog succumbs to heat stroke, you can perform first aid by immersing him in cool (but not cold) water, or, you can wrap him in towels soaked in cool water. Take your overheated dog into the air conditioning, place him in front of fans, or hose him down (with cool, not cold, water). Once your dog's temperature has dropped to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, cease trying to cool him and seek veterinary attention. Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency.

You can prevent heat stroke by never, ever leaving your dog in a parked car. Also, if you must put your dog outside in hot weather, make sure he has some shade and plenty of clean, fresh water.

Your Dog Might Breathe Heavily If He's In Pain

Severe pain can cause labored breathing in dogs. Dogs can be quite stoic; instinct may lead them to breathe heavily rather than cry out when in pain. Causes of pain could include injury, arthritis, and infection. You can check your pet at home for symptoms that might give you a clue as to the cause of his pain.

First, check your dog for any injuries. If he is squinting, he could have an eye injury. Gently move his legs and rub his abdomen. If he winces or pulls away when any part of his body is touched, it's likely the trouble is there.

Congestive Heart Failure Can Cause Dog Respiratory Symptoms

One reason for heavy dog breathing is congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart, damaged by poor diet or genetic abnormalities, fails to pump an adequate amount of blood through the body. This leads to fluid retention in the lung and body cavities.

Congestive heart failure can cause heavy dog breathing because it means your dog's cells aren't getting enough oxygen. His respiratory system tries to compensate for this by working overtime, leading to labored dog breath.

If your dog is suffering from heart failure, he may breathe easier when sitting upright. His gums may take on a grey or blue tint; this is a sign that his cells aren't getting enough oxygen.

Heartworms Can Cause Heavy Breathing In Dogs

Heartworms are a thread-like parasitic worm that infest your dog's heart and lungs. They are spread by mosquito bites. If your dog's heartworm infestation becomes severe, he could exhibit heavy breathing symptoms. He might also cough, cough up blood phlegm, and retain fluid in his abdomen.