Why Is My Dog Breathing Hard? Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat through their skin. He only perspires in small, very localized areas of the body, its pads. Thus, in the event of heat stroke or hyperactivity, when the body temperature of the animal’s body increases, the only way for it to regulate its temperature (and therefore to eliminate water vapor) is to breathe more. quickly; we speak of polypnea or panting.
Therefore, in some situations, an increase in respiratory rate is normal in dogs, the situation of stress, fear, intense effort, heatwave, nervousness.
The movements of the rib cage and abdomen that can be observed during breathing are referred to as the respiratory curve. The normal respiratory curve in dogs is characterized by synchronization of thoracic and abdominal movements; the abdominal wall follows the movements of the rib cage. When this respiratory curve is abnormal, it is called dyspnea.
What is rapid breathing in dogs?
A respiratory cycle is made up of inhaling and exhaling. Respiratory rate is the number of breathing cycles per minute.
The normal respiratory rate of dogs is between 14 and 22 movements per minute. A dog breathes quickly when its respiratory rate is greater than 22 movements per minute.
There are several types of rapid breathing depending on the amplitude of the respiratory movements:
- Polypnea: respiratory movements are superficial
- Tachypnea: the range of breathing movements is normal
- Hyperpnea: the amplitude of respiratory movements is increased
The normal respiratory rate for humans in adulthood is 12 to 20 movements per minute. Since dogs’ normal respiratory rate is close to that of humans, breathing at the same time as your pet can help determine if they are breathing fast.
When is rapid breathing normal?
Most of the time, rapid breathing is normal in dogs: during fever, when it is hot, during intense physical activity, after a period of excitement, play, etc.
Dogs don’t sweat, they have very few sweat glands. They mainly regulate their body temperature by panting, which makes them breathe faster. This is what happens when they are too hot or have a fever. The respiratory rate quickly returns to normal when the dog is calm in a sufficiently cool room.
Dogs can also breathe quickly while they are dreaming. This can be associated with moans, paw movements, etc.
Warning: dogs are very sensitive to heat, they can get heatstroke. Polypnea (rapid breathing) then turns into dyspnea (difficulty breathing). Dogs of brachycephalic breeds, overweight, etc… are particularly sensitive to it.
Worrying About Abnormal Breathing In Dogs
In a calm dog in a cool environment, persistent polypnea is abnormal.
Sometimes this polypnea is associated with a change in the appearance of breathing movements (dyspnea). It can be observed that the movements of the rib cage and those of the abdomen are not synchronized during breathing; when the thorax swells (inspiration phase), the abdomen hollows out. And, conversely, when the thorax widens during the exhalation phase, the abdomen swells. This anomaly is called a mismatch. In which case, it is preferable to consult quickly.
Moreover, if rapid breathing is associated with other symptoms such as, for example, fever, cough, abnormal fatigue, regurgitation, or even a runny nose, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.
Why is my dog breathing hard? – How to act?
Stress increases breathing difficulties. It is therefore advisable to remain calm whatever the situation so as not to stress the animal unnecessarily.
In the event of heat stroke, if your dog is breathing very quickly and his body temperature is abnormally high (> 39.5 ° C), it is necessary to place him in a cool place, to offer him a drink, or even to drink it. shower with lukewarm then cool water. Be sure to take the temperature regularly so as not to overcool the animal. Below 39 ° C, cooling measurements can be stopped.
Faced with any other respiratory problem, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian quickly. Indeed, any damage to the vital organs of the animal justifies emergency treatment because fatal complications can appear quickly.
Causes of breathing disorders in dogs
If your dog makes abnormal noises while breathing, if he seems to be lacking air and having difficulty breathing, the causes can be multiple, but they are rarely trivial. The lower respiratory tract or the upper respiratory tract may be affected.
The lower respiratory system
The lower respiratory system is made up of the lungs and bronchi. The lungs can be responsible for the problem when they are malfunctioning. The respiratory rate increases with sometimes a strong abdominal movement and possibly a cough. It can be pneumonia, pleural effusion, infection of the lungs, bronchial tubes, or both. One may also suspect heart disease or parasitism.
Upper respiratory system
Your dog may have trouble breathing properly due to a problem with his upper respiratory system. The nose, nasal cavities, pharynx, larynx, and trachea are concerned. Your dog can breathe by snoring, clicking. It has to strain to get air through the nasal cavities to the lungs. This situation is quite common in flat-faced dogs and it is referred to the as brachycephalic syndrome. Older dogs or large dogs can be prone to laryngeal paralysis. Small dogs can develop collapsed trachea. They have a soft windpipe that can crash and block the passage of air. Your dog may also suffer from heatstroke. Remember to provide him with a bowl of water in a cool room sheltered from the sun. You can also opt for ice cream for dogs to refresh them in a fun way. Otherwise, it may be due to a foreign body, such as a spikelet, which may have entered the nasal cavities.
Advice on how to fix it
If your dog is having trouble breathing, it is necessary to consult your veterinarian for basic advice. As a first step, you can place your dog in a ventilated and cool room, especially during the summer. You can try to clear any foreign object in the dog’s throat by being very careful. No matter how nice your pet is, they may bite you in fear or pain. Do not carry your dog by pressing on his chest, but put him in a blanket with all four corners held. If your dog has suffered heatstroke, cool him down and wet him with cool water.
When to consult?
In any case, if your dog is having difficulty breathing, if he makes alarming noises, if he is breathing in his chops if you hear whistling, whether or not your dog has a fever, you must consult quickly. your vet.