Panting is completely normal in dogs. They pant for various reasons, especially when hot, excited, or exercising to regulate their body temperature.
However, panting at night is a different story; if the dog’s panting and restless at night for no obvious reasons, then there’s something for the owners to worry about.
Why do dogs pant?
Dog panting is nothing to worry about.
Because your dog doesn’t have sweat glands, your dog’s only way to expel heat is from their paw pads, but this does not help them much in cooling down. So they use their mouth to get rid of the body heat they’ve produced through various activities.
This means expelling hot air from the mouth and exchanging it with fresh cool air to cool down.
This is normally what happens after a long walk in humid weather conditions or after an exercise session.
Heavy breathing also happens in extreme heat conditions without any activities; this is also fine.
Panting and restless during rest while in optimal weather conditions or at night where it’s not very hot is a sign of something serious.
Reasons your dog is heavily panting and restless
Heavy and abnormal painting causes pacing and restlessness. The cause of heavy breathing can vary, so watch for these warning signs of serious medical conditions:
When there is too much cortisol in the bloodstream, Cushing’s syndrome occurs.
This is also a reason that a dog might be panting. Along with this, there are symptoms like increased thirst, hunger, urination, hair loss, and a pot-bellied appearance.
This syndrome is so common in older dogs and is one of the main reasons for heavy panting.
Respiratory disease can affect the dog’s breathing capabilities and make it hard for oxygen to get into the bloodstream. The dog might struggle to pant normally even after a small exercise session.
This can lead to heavy and abnormal panting.
Also, make sure to check the dog’s tongue and see if it’s pink. If your dog’s tongue is blue, purple, or grey, this means the dog isn’t getting enough oxygen, and this condition is dangerous, and you need to immediately take your dog to the vet.
This might lead to major difficulty breathing, and excessive panting and coughing also can be a symptom of heart disease or heart failure.
If this is the case, you will notice heavy breathing after walking for a short distance.
Dog heatstroke can turn out to be a major issue and can even lead to death if untreated. Heatstroke or overheating causes heavy panting in dogs, which leads to dehydration.
Temperature over 106°F (41°C) can put your dog in danger and will need immediate cooling down and medical attention. High temperatures combined with high humidity can be especially dangerous.
Especially short-nosed breeds like pugs tend to often struggle, mostly due to heat exhaustion or heatstroke, so be aware. You should avoid leaving them alone in cars; this applies to every dog, so if you’re leaving them inside, make sure to turn the air conditioner on, or better still, leave the dog home.
These four major reasons a dog pants heavily, paces, or becomes restless.
Keep an eye on the dog’s panting sounds. This can help you identify abnormal panting.
Why is my dog panting at night?
Panting at night is different from panting in the daytime; this can lead to sleepless nights and show something is wrong with the dog.
There are a few causes for this that you can look into and understand why your dog pants excessively.
Causes of a dog panting at night
Stress or anxiety
Loud sounds such as fireworks and thunderstorms can make a dog stressed, and this can make the dog sleepless and cause it to pant throughout the night.
A dog with separation anxiety might find it hard to sleep without the owner and wander around the house and pant at night; dogs suffering from separation anxiety are prone to panting at night.
Panting helps dogs to relax while in stressful situations.
High temperatures can take a toll on your dog.
Temperatures above 95°F (35°C) can be too much for some dogs.
Especially older dogs and puppies can be affected by higher temperatures, making it harder for them to manage their body temperature.
Pain or injury
See whether the dog has any pain conditions or injuries.
Dogs with pain conditions like arthritis are very much vulnerable to panting and restlessness.
Allergies, too, can be a problem and cause dogs to pant at night.
If you can’t find any injuries, check whether any diseases mentioned could be causing excessive panting.
Canine Cognitive Disorder (dog dementia)
This is most common for older dogs and a reason for panting and restlessness.
Dogs with Canine Cognitive Disorder often are sleepless and roam around the house at night due to sleep-wake cycle disturbance.
This can also make the dog forget their surroundings, leading to anxiety and will cause panting and restlessness in the dog.
If your dog’s panting at night, these are the most common reasons for it, so before you treat them, make sure to check if the dog is affected by any of these symptoms because finding the cause can make treating it even easier.
What can you do to stop your dog from panting and being restless?
There are some ways you can stop your dog from panting, but, be sure to identify the cause:
If the dog’s overheating:
- Give them water.
- If you’re inside your house, take the dog to a place with better ventilation or any cooling spots, or take them to the hospital; make sure to turn on the air conditioner.
- Try cooling the dog by splashing them with water or use a hose to make them wet.
- If you think it’s serious, seek medical attention.
If it’s a stress or anxiety issue:
- First, identify what’s causing the dog stress and act from there; if it’s due to environmental sounds, spend some time and provide the dog with a calm environment.
- If it’s separation anxiety, try considering a professional trainer or behaviorist to help the dog with this issue.
- Spend some time with the dog.
- Supplements like CBD oil can also help.
How does CBD oil help with stress and anxiety issues?
You can try CBD hemp oil for pets, which can help give your dog relief from stress and anxiety that might be causing panting. CBD is a natural substance that comes from the hemp plant and contains calming and relaxing properties. It changes the response of the brain’s receptors to serotonin (a hormone responsible for stabilizing emotions, mood, and feelings of wellness, and managing anxiety).
Is it time to see the vet?
If you suspect anything serious, make sure to visit your vet immediately.
If any of these symptoms occur, immediately contact your vet:
- If panting gets seriously intense.
- If you see any injury leading to panting.
- If the dog’s tongue turns into the colors mentioned above.
- Panting without reason.
If the situation is more serious, the dog may need to be hospitalized to receive further treatment.
Please do not leave your dog untreated when you witness abnormal panting, as the situation can only worsen.
Don’t wait if your dog pants excessively
Panting is completely normal until it turns into abnormal panting; however, panting at night has various causes, and it’s up to the owner to identify why your dog is panting excessively.
If you notice your dog is exhibiting any warning signs, especially for dog heatstroke, seek medical treatment immediately.