Q: My 12-year-old labrador retriever seems to pant often. Is that ok? What could be the cause?
A: Panting is a rapid and marked increase in the respiratory rate, often exceeding 200 breaths /minute. This is usually associated with open-mouth breathing. Panting can be completely normal and allows dogs to keep cool. Dogs don’t sweat, so panting allows for evaporative cooling. Dogs closed inside a car get overheated as the air warms up in the car. Panting doesn’t allow for cooling.
The top causes of abnormal panting include fear or anxiety, pain, fever, some medications (some narcotics), overheating or heat stroke, strenuous exercise, Cushing’s disease or cortisone administration (drugs like prednisone), some diseases affecting the brain, and respiratory disease.
If panting is a concern, consult your veterinarian to consider further evaluation.
By Dr. Frank Lavac, MS, DVM
Dr. Frank Lavac can be reached by calling 310-828-4587.