Why Is My Dog Hyperventilating?

Pet Health


June 23, 2021

Hyperventilation is simply described as rapid breathing, caused primarily due to anxiety or panic. When your breathing increases, most people eventually start feeling breathless. When a person breathes, they take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. However, over-breathing, as some call it, can lead to considerably low levels of carbon dioxide.

This eventually causes dizziness and you will have to sit down in order to catch your breath. It’s difficult to see a dog hyperventilating. It’s usually equally scary for the owner and the dog itself. Short, rapid breathing is cause for concern and it’s really not something that you should ignore.

Understanding Hyperventilation in Dogs

Hyperventilation, as described above, is simply rapid breathing. When your dog breathes regularly, its lungs fill with oxygen. This oxygen then circulates through the blood to the brain and the other organs. The oxygenated cells make sure that there is enough energy in the organs.

However, when your dog starts hyperventilating, the lungs don’t fill up properly with air. As a result, the amount of oxygen decreases in the lungs and your dog begins to gasp for air. It takes a bit of time for the animal to calm down, and the lack of breath may make the animal feel as if it’s suffocating.

As you can imagine, there are quite a few things that could be wrong with your dog which could cause the animal to hyperventilate. Some of the most common reasons for hyperventilation include allergies, anxiety, a state of panic or pain, asthma, or intolerance to heat or exercise.

Calming the Dog

Remember that when your dog is hyperventilating, it is in a continuous state of panic. As you can imagine, the excessive breathing could induce asthma, so it’s really not going to help the situation. As a result, the first thing that you need to do is to calm the animal down.

There are several different ways by which you can do this. In the following paragraphs, we shall discuss some of the best ways to calm a hyperventilating pooch and then treat the problem. Remember that you can’t offer emergency treatment unless you calm the animal down.

There have been cases where hyperventilating dogs have suffocated due to lack of oxygen. You need to take appropriate steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen. Here are some excellent ways to do just this.

Take Your Dog to an Airy, Cool Area

The first thing that you need to do is to take your dog to a cool, airy spot. This is one of the best ways to solve the problem. If you are in the house, you need to immediately move to an outer area. Look for a place that has lots of shade, such as the shade under a tree. Let your dog rest for a bit.

Similarly, you may want to open a window if you are in the house, or if you are in the car, just lower the glass. Let the fresh air hit your dog’s face. It will automatically start to feel better. It’s important for you to provide a more comfortable environment for the animal.

Talk to the Dog

Dogs like to be comforted by their owners. You need to talk and pet the pooch as much as possible in order to help the animal calm down. This is great for dogs that are suffering from an anxiety attack or panicking. You might be surprised at the level of comfort that they feel when you start talking to your dog.

It might be a wise idea to just let your dog rest in your lap for a while. Use a warm, gentle tone when talking to your dog and it will immediately respond. Your ultimate aim for calming a hyperventilating dog is to make sure that it knows that you are around. This calms a dog rapidly and makes it easy for the dog to start breathing normally again.

Get Rid of Stressors

What’s causing your dog anxiety or leading it to panic? For instance, some dogs don’t like being around certain things, such as the washing machine or the leaf blower. As they start panicking, their breath begins to shallow out and this eventually causes hyperventilation in the animal. Stress is a major problem for dogs.

If your dog is hyperventilating, the first thing you need to do is to look around and figure out if there are any stressors in the environment. This is critically important; otherwise, the dog will continue to react. Even if you have a mild suspicion that there’s something causing an issue with your dog, you need to get rid of it.

You will notice your dog’s temperament immediately calming down. The animal will become docile again and you will notice its breath normalizing again. It’s recommended that you take action right away and observe the animal’s surroundings. Once you remove those elements, start talking to your dog in soothing tones and you will notice a change.

Involve Your Vet

Most importantly, you need to understand that there are some issues related to hyperventilation that you can’t resolve by cuddling your dog or just sweet-talking to the animal. Fresh air is obviously not the solution to all problems, so it’s recommended that you think about getting a checkup for the animal.

The best thing to do once your dog calms down is to take the pet to a vet. They are going to run a complete check in order to determine what could be causing the problem. If the issue is related to the animal’s respiratory airways, the vet might find it before it can lead to serious damage or suffocate the animal.

As you can imagine, vets are in the best position to identify anything wrong with the animal. Once they are able to identify the problem, the vet will recommend suitable treatment.

Look Out for the Signs

There are some pretty clear signs that your dog is hyperventilating. For starters, if the animal’s breathing becomes labored or if its tongue turns blue, it’s a clear indication that the dog is not getting enough oxygen. As a result, you need to take the steps given above in order to relieve the problem.

These are just a few things that you should know about the steps to take in order to calm down your dog and prevent it from hyperventilating.