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Why Is My Dog Panting At Night?

Why Is My Dog Panting At Night?

Today, our Memphis vets share some possible reasons why your dog is panting and when you should take your dog to the vet.

Why is My Dog Panting at Night?

Dogs pant for many reasons, whether it is to help lower their body temperature in the summer or after exercising. However, panting at night is different than panting during the day as it can lead to sleeplessness, and may indicate a problem.

Pet owners should always be monitoring for any unusual behaviors or symptoms in their dogs, including the way they breathe. If your dog is panting at night or while at rest, they could be doing it for normal reasons or as the result of an underlying medical issue. If you notice any worrying patterns in your dog's breathing call your vet immediately, they will be able to tell you the steps you should take and if a veterinary visit is needed.

Here we explain both dangerous and not dangerous reasons for dogs panting at night.

Non-Dangerous Reasons For panting in Dogs

As said above, panting isn't always the result of something dangerous and could be a natural or biological cause such as:

Body Temperature

Dog's aren't able to cool their bodies down the same way people do, so they need to pant to cool off. Dogs may even stick their tongue out while doing this to help evaporate water faster. So, if your dog was just outside for a walk in the heat, they could just be cooling themselves down, which is normal. It's also natural for dogs to pant if they haven't been exercising when it's very hot outside. However, when the weather is hot you should watch for signs of heatstroke (see below) and always make sure your dog has enough shade and water to help prevent this condition in the warmer months.

Stress or Anxiety

All animals including dogs are able to become stressed or scared, causing them to pant. Dogs may become stressed or anxious for various reasons such as moving to a new home, or not liking their environment.

If you believe your dog is stressed or anxious identify the cause and provide your dog with a safe calming place to rest. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety consider taking them to a trainer or behaviorist that can help them adjust to being left alone.

Age

Another non-dangerous reason why your dog may pant at night is age. As our canine companions get older their bodies can go through several unpleasant changes, panting included.

Dangerous Causes of Panting in Dogs at Night

Your dog could be panting at night due to an underlying illness, especially if they are restless, at rest, and when the temperatures in their environment are optimal. If you notice your dog panting and exhibiting signs of any of these serious medical conditions, call your vet immediately.

Cushing's Disease

Cushing's syndrome occurs when dogs have too much cortisol in their bloodstream and is relatively common in older dogs.

On top of panting other signs and symptoms include a pot-bellied appearance, increased thirst and urination, and hair loss.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke could be a very serious medical condition for dogs and can even be fatal if it goes without treatment. When dogs have heatstroke it means their body is overheating and they can't cool themselves fast enough, causing heavy panting and resulting in dehydration. Other signs of heatstroke in dogs include lethargy, disorientation, abnormally colored gums, elevated breathing rate, and dry or sticky gums.

If you believe your dog has heatstroke immediately remove them from the hot environment, provide them with cool water (don't force them to drink), and call your vet.

It's dangerous for dogs to be in temperatures over 106of (41oc), when dogs are exposed to these extreme temperatures they have to be cooled down immediately and brought to the vet for urgent veterinary care. 

Never leave your dog alone in vehicles, if possible leave them at home where they can stay cool, or if you must bring them with you turn on the air conditioner. If your dog is outside in the summer make sure they have somewhere to cool down and access to water. 

Heart Disease

Signs of heart disease are also very similar to heart failure which can include excessive panting, major breathing difficulties, and coughing. You will also notice your pooch breathing heavily after walking only a short distance.

Respiratory Disease

This disease can affect a dog's ability to breathe and makes it hard for oxygen to make its way into the bloodstream. Respiratory disease can make it difficult for your dog to pant normally causing heavy and abnormal panting, even if they only went for a short walk.

If you suspect your dog has respiratory disease check the color of your pup's tongue, if it's grey, purple, or blue it means that your dog isn't getting enough oxygen. This is a very dangerous condition and it's essential that you bring your dog to the vet immediately.

When to Take Your Dog to The Vet

Anytime you are worried about your dog's breathing you should call your vet straight away to schedule an appointment. Also, if you see your dog panting at night in combination with any of these symptoms bring them to the vet or the nearest emergency animal clinic as quickly as possible:

  • Panting without a visible cause
  • Intense, excessive, or abnormal panting
  • Heatstroke
  • You notice your dog is injured
  • If their tongue turns purple, grey, or blue

As we mentioned earlier, you should always be monitoring your dog's panting so you know and can recognize any unusual changes in their breathing, especially at night.

Don't hesitate to call your vet if your dog's panting becomes abnormal, or if they are exhibiting any of the signs above in combination with panting, especially heatstroke as it's considered a veterinary emergency that requires immediate attention.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Memphis emergency vets immediately if your dog is panting and restless at night or if you are worried about your dog's breathing. At Animal Emergency Center we are available evenings, holidays, and weekends to provide your dog with quality care when they need it most.

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