When your Vizsla’s panting doesn’t seem to slow down you might become worried and concerned. Is the panting normal or is it getting excessive?
Although most panting is considered normal, there also plenty of situations when panting could indicate an issue. So let’s discuss everything you need to know below.
Vizsla Shepherd & Panting
All dogs, Vizslas included, use panting as a method to regulate their body temperature when they become too warm. It’s a critical cooling mechanism innate to all dogs.
➡️ Several regular scenarios that Vizslas to pant:
- After engaging in exercise or playtime
- During car journeys
- Upon meeting new people or interacting with unfamiliar dogs
- When they’re feeling excited
- In response to unknown sounds, events, or unexpected situations
It’s important to understand that panting is often a normal part of a dog’s behavior and shouldn’t necessarily be a cause for concern when you notice your vizsla panting.
➡️ Take everything into context before worrying.
Reflect on recent happenings and activities, like the introduction to new individuals or play sessions with other dogs, to pinpoint a possible cause for the heavy panting.
Before becoming worried, it’s crucial to take the entire situation into account. The vast majority of instances of heavy panting can usually be attributed to some identifiable event or activity…
Identifying Normal vs Excessive Panting
Panting is a normal canine behavior, and it’s your dog’s primary way to cool down. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have as many sweat glands, so they rely on panting to evaporate heat from their tongue and mouth.
Normal Panting ✅
Normal panting in Vizslas will often coincide with exercise, heat, or excitement. The panting is usually regular, rhythmic, and not too heavy. It should subside once the dog rests, cools down, or the exciting event is over.
A good rule of thumb according to Vetstreet, is if your dog is panting but still willing to engage in normal activities, such as playing or eating, then it’s generally nothing to worry about.
Excessive Panting ❌
Excessive panting, on the other hand, is more intense and prolonged, persisting even after the dog should have had time to cool down or relax. If your Vizsla is panting excessively, you may notice them having wide-open mouths with a fully extended tongue and faster, heavy breathing. They may seem distressed or anxious, and might even refuse activities they typically enjoy.
8 Reasons For Excessive Heavy Panting
However, not all panting is benign. In some cases, it can be a warning sign of underlying health issues. These include:
Stress & Anxiety
In vizslas, stress and anxiety can manifest through heavy panting. This breed thrives on activity and mental stimulation, so unfamiliar environments or situations can lead to stress.
- Loud noises, new people or animals, or a change in environment (like moving houses) can cause anxiety.
- Separation anxiety is a common issue, causing distress when left alone.
- Reducing stressors, behavioral training, and sometimes medication can help manage these symptoms.
Dehydration or Heatstroke
Heavy panting can be a sign that a vizsla is overheating or dehydrated, especially during hot weather or after vigorous exercise. Dogs pant to release heat, but excessive panting may indicate a problem.
- Ensure your dog has constant access to fresh water.
- Limit exercise during extreme heat and watch for signs of heat exhaustion, like excessive panting or drooling, confusion, or lethargy.
- If suspected, rapid cooling and veterinary attention are essential as heatstroke can be fatal.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies. Allergic reactions in vizslas may lead to heavy panting alongside other symptoms.
- Common allergens include certain foods, pollens, dust mites, and flea bites.
- Allergies may also cause itching, skin irritation, sneezing, or vomiting.
- Diagnosis requires veterinary testing, and treatment usually involves avoiding the allergen and possibly taking medication.
Obesity can put extra strain on a dog’s body, leading to heavy panting as they may struggle to catch their breath after minor exertion.
While obesity isn’t usually an issue with Vizslas, it’s still important to know.
- Regular exercise and a balanced diet are crucial for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Obesity can lead to other health problems like heart disease and arthritis.
- Veterinary advice should be sought for a weight loss plan if obesity is a concern.
Some underlying health issues like heart disease, lung disease, or Cushing’s disease can cause heavy panting in Vizslas.
- These conditions may affect their ability to breathe normally or their bodies’ heat regulation.
- Other symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss or gain, or coughing.
- If heavy panting persists or is accompanied by other worrying signs, a veterinary check is necessary.
Respiratory disorders can also lead to heavy panting in Vizslas. Conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, or obstructive airway diseases make it harder for your dog to breathe, resulting in increased panting.
- Chronic bronchitis involves inflammation of the airways, leading to persistent coughing and difficulty breathing.
- Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, can cause heavy panting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Obstructive airway diseases include conditions like laryngeal paralysis, where the dog’s airway is partially blocked.
- Any suspected respiratory conditions should be evaluated by a vet.
Pain or Discomfort
Vizslas might pant heavily if they’re in pain. This can be due to injury, arthritis, or an internal issue.
- Dogs may hide their pain as a survival instinct, but excessive panting, especially when accompanied by other changes in behavior, might indicate discomfort.
- Other signs may include loss of appetite, restlessness, or a reluctance to move or be touched in certain areas.
- Veterinary examination is needed to identify and treat the source of the pain.
Some medications may cause heavy panting as a side effect. Steroids and certain types of pain relievers are known to cause this in dogs.
- Always monitor your Vizsla closely when they start a new medication to observe for any potential side effects.
- If your dog begins panting heavily after starting a new medication, consult with your vet.
- It’s important not to discontinue any prescribed medication without first discussing with your veterinarian.
If any of the above seem like it could related to your Vizsla, then it’s important to contact your veterinarian to get professional help sooner rather than later. Some situations could be critical (like heatstroke).
How to Help Your Vizsla’s Breathing Calm Down
Helping your Vizsla to relax and stop panting will largely depend on the cause. Here are some general tips:
- Provide a Cool Environment: Ensure your dog has a cool, shaded place to rest, especially in hot weather.
- Regular Exercise: Regular exercise can help keep your dog in shape and reduce panting due to obesity.
- Healthy Diet: Maintain a balanced diet to prevent obesity-related panting. If your Vizsla is overweight, consider consulting with your vet about a weight loss plan.
- Water: Always provide fresh water. Panting can cause dehydration.
- Reduce Stressors: If you notice your Vizsla panting due to stress, try to identify and mitigate the stressors.
- Regular Check-ups: Regular vet check-ups can help identify any underlying health issues before they become severe.
When To Call The Vet
While panting is a normal canine behavior, there are times when heavy panting in a Vizsla could signal a serious health problem.
Owners should consider seeking veterinary help in the following situations:
➡️ Persistent Panting:
If your Vizsla is panting heavily without any apparent cause, like after exercise or due to heat, and it persists over a significant amount of time, it’s worth getting them checked.
➡️ Sudden Onset of Heavy Panting:
If your dog suddenly starts panting heavily, especially if it’s at night or when they’re at rest, this could be an indication of a problem. Sudden changes in behavior are often a red flag.
➡️ Additional Symptoms:
If heavy panting is accompanied by other signs of distress or illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, or urination, these could indicate a medical condition.
➡️ Change in Panting Sound or Pattern:
If the panting sounds different, like it’s more labored or your dog seems to be having difficulty breathing, or if there’s a noticeable change in the pattern of panting, it’s essential to consult a vet.
➡️ After Ingesting Toxic Substances:
If you suspect your dog may have ingested something harmful, like a toxic plant or food, or if they’ve been exposed to harmful chemicals, heavy panting can be a sign of poisoning.
Remember, you know your dog best. If their panting seems unusual or out of the ordinary, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary advice. It’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to your pet’s health.
As pet parents, it’s natural to worry about our fur-babies. While panting is a normal part of your Vizsla’s life, understanding when it might indicate something more serious is crucial. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
If you’re ever in doubt about your Vizsla’s panting, consult with your vet. With careful attention, you can ensure that your Vizsla lives a happy and healthy life.
Remember, this article does not replace professional veterinary advice. Always consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s health.