Although panting is a natural cooling mechanism in Chow Chows, excessive, heavy breathing may also indicate some health issues and behavioral problems in dogs.
Chow Chow dogs pant when they are hot, thirsty, or exhausted after physical activity. Panting is also normal in Chows that are excited, afraid, nervous, or out of their comfort zone. Heavy panting though will occur if Chow is coping with some health issues like heart disease, respiratory issues, allergy, metabolic problems. Note that Chow Chow is predisposed to Pulmonic stenosis, a heart defect that causes heavy breathing along with other health problems. Bear in mind that this breed is classified as Brachycephalic or flat-faced which means that respiratory problems/heavy breathing is pretty common. It’s important to detect excessive panting, discover the cause so you can treat the underlying issue.
What Causes Excessive Panting in Chow Chow Dogs?
Abnormal or excessive panting in dogs 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, fears…
Chow Chows 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 Chow Chow 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 deep red, sticky gums.
How To Identify Heavy Panting in Chow Chow Dogs?
In order to discover if your Chow Chow 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 10-35 inhalations and exhalations per minute.
A Chow that pants excessively can take up to 10 times that many breaths per minute.
Heavy panting in Chows is usually accompanied by snorting, coughing, snoring, rasping …
Also, note that a dog normally pants with an open mouth. If you notice that your Chow Chow is panting with a partially open mouth or with a closed mouth that should be a warning sign.
Normal panting shouldn’t last for more than a couple of minutes. If your Chow breaths heavily for more than 10 minutes, you should seek a vet’s help.
Follow these steps to find out if your Chow’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.
- Look at the postion of his/her mouth, is it open, partially open or closed? During normal panting it should be open.
- Does your Chow has any other symptoms along with panting? Do you find him lethargic or he refuses his meals. Can he walk around? What is the color of his gums ( pale, bright red or pink) 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 Chow’s panting. Has it changed lately? There is the condition called Laryngeal paralisys which is not preciselly characteristic for Chow Chow dogs but any breed ( middle-aged and older dogs) can suffer from it, and it makes panting sound of the dog more pronaunced. If you find your Chow’s panting sound different then it used to be, you should definately consult the vet, eventough your pet doesn’t have any other symptom.
- Does you Chow breath fast even at rest or while sleeping? If he does, observe his stomach muscles. If they are engaged to help him breath you should definately contact the vet.
Important note: Normal panting in Chow is slow, relaxed panting. If your Chow Chow pants heavily but slowly- the reason is heat. If he/she pants quickly and that panting is accompanied by whining, the reason is most probably anxiety or some kind of fear.
How Do You Calm Chow Chow From Panting?
To calm your Chow from panting, you need to know the reason for heavy breathing. If it’s normal panting, don’t worry about it too much.
Bear in mind that Chow chow dogs don’t tolerate heat so well. Their thick, double coat traps hot air and limits heat loss. The Chows have a very high risk of heatstroke ( same as other flat-faced breeds) so never leave your Chow outside during hot, sunny days. Never leave your Chow Chow in a parked car.
If he is outside make sure he has some shady place if he needs a rest and that has unlimited excess to fresh water whenever he desires.
If your Chow Chow 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…
Remember if your Chow Chow 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.