Although panting is a normal cooling mechanism in Labradors, excessive panting might be a sign of some health problem. How to know if your Labrador pants too much and what would be the triggers such manifestation?
Labs are panting when they are hot, excited, afraid, or anxious. Labradors are large dogs so, therefore it is normal for them to pant more than smaller breeds. Excessive panting in Labradors may occur if the dog suffers from respiratory issues, heart disease, allergies, metabolic problems, and dehydration.
How To Identify Excessive Panting in Labradors?
To find out if your Lab has a panting problem you need to know what is considered a normal breathing rate for dogs. The non-panting breathing rate, at rest, is about 25-30 inhalations and exhalations per minute.
A Lab that pants excessively can take up to 10 times that many breaths per minute.
It’s important to distinguish between normal and abnormal panting because both of them can be scary for a novice dog owner.
Normal panting in Labs occurs when they are hot, excited, or physically active. Heavy/abnormal panting though can be the sign that your Lab is dangerously overheated, struggling with some health problem, or faced some serious trauma.
Follow these steps to find out if your Labrador’s panting is normal or excessive :
- Take note when the panting is happening. Normal panting is characteristic for dogs after physical activity or some kind of excitement and high temepratures, of course. A healthy dog has no reason to pant in the absence of these factors.
- Does your Lab has any other symptoms along with panting? Do you find him lethargic or he refuses his meals. Does he has any signs of illness like vomiting or coughing? If he does, go to the vet, since excessive panting could be the sign of some underlying health problem.
- Pay attention to the sound of your Lab’s panting. Has it changed lately? There is the condition called Laryngeal paralisys which is not preciselly characteristic for Labradors but any breed can suffer from it, and it makes panting sound of the dog more pronaunced. If you find your Lab’s panting sound different then it used to be, you should definately consult the vet, eventough your pet doesn’t have any other symptom.
Why Is My Labrador Panting?
Dog panting is normal activity for every healthy and happy pooch. Both small and large breeds pant but bear in mind that overweight dogs pant more than dogs with normal weight. Also larger breeds like Labradors pants more than smaller dogs.
The most common reasons for normal panting in Labradors:
- After physical activity, energetic playtime, exercise
- When the weather is hot/ high temperatures
- During car ride ( some dogs afraid of car ride, some of them feel uncofortable or too hot inside of vehicle, while some others may pant more due to motion sickness )
- Labradors may pant when they meet new people or new dogs. Either they are excited or afraid of meeting someone new, it can result in fast and shalow breathing
- Sudden loud sounds, thunderstorms, firework, anything that can cause them stress or fear will lead to panting in Labs (along with panting, stressed dog will yawn, drool, will have increased heart beat, will pace and make wide cricling movement repeatedly)
- Some medication, especially steriod based ones can cause panting in Labradors. Also the heart medications like Prednisone or some drugs that treat female incontinence are likely to cause panting in Labs
- Senior Labs may pant more then younger ones
Why Abnormal Panting Occurs In Labardors?
Abnormal panting is usually pain or some other health issue-related. But also can be associated with a wide range of behavioral problems like anxiety, stress, phobias.
Labs are sensitive to heat, they don’t tolerate high temperatures very well. It means that even a healthy adult Lab will feel uncomfortable in temperatures above 90F ( 32c ). This fact suggests that any Lab can overheat easily which can lead to excessive panting.
Although in rare cases, Labradors may pant excessively due to several health issues such as :
- Cushing’s disease ( other symptoms are increased thirst, urination and appetite, reduced activity and hair loss)
- Heart disease ( other symptoms are weakness, coughing, abodminal swelling)
- Respiratory distress ( other symptoms ocassional coughing, blue discoloration of the skin, blue gums, nasal congestion)
- Chornic pain ( other symptoms are sensitivity to touch, grumpines/moodiness, depression, lack of appetite, limping)
- Metabolic disoreders ( other symptoms are lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting, abodminal pain, weight loss)
- Allergies ( other symptoms are itichness, vomiting, red, inflamed skin, sneezing, swelling of the ears, eyes, eyelids, lips)
If your Lab is dehydrated for some reason, apart from excessive panting, he will also show the following symptoms: loss of appetite and skin elasticity, lack of energy, dry-looking eyes, dry nose, dry and sticky gums.
How Do You Calm A Labrador From Panting?
To calm your Lab from panting, you need to know the cause. If it’s normal panting, don’t worry about it too much. Bear in mind that Labs dogs are moderately sensitive to high temperatures so keep your dog inside during long, summer days. Never leave your Lab in a parked car.
If he is outside make sure he rests in some shade and that has unlimited excess to fresh water whenever he desires.
If your Lab pants excessively try to calm him. You can talk to him in a soft tone and with a reassuring voice.
If you know that firework or thunderstorm freak out your dog so he is panting too much, do keep him away from those sounds, keep him inside, lower the blinds, put some relaxing music on, stay with him…
Make sure your Labrador does daily exercise ( about 1 hour of physical activity per day). If your dog is not active enough, he might start suffering from some diseases which can lead to excessive panting, plus he can become obese which also can cause abnormal panting
Use a de-shedding brush regularly ( 1-2 times a week, 10-15 min brushing session, or even more often during the shedding season) to remove your Lab’s undercoat and loose hair. Regular brushing sessions will help your Lab to cool down easier and prevent excessive panting.
Remember if your Lab pants excessively even if it’s not hot or he hasn’t had any physical activity you should see the vet. If your dog follows a certain pattern in panting but is accompanied by other symptoms you should definitely consult the vet.