If your Labrador breathes fast you probably want to know why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador breathe fast? Possible reasons are that it has been being active, it is a large dog, it’s not getting enough exercise, illness or injury, heatstroke, medication or an allergic reaction.
There are a lot of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador breathes so fast
Below are common causes of it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Labrador does it.
It is active and a big dog
Labradors are relatively big dogs and they can be very active. If your Labrador is particularly big and it tends to be very active it could be that it breathes fast because its body requires more oxygen naturally. This would be more likely if it has always breathed fast and if the vet has never found any issues.
To cool down
By panting, dogs are able to circulate air through the bodies which helps them to cool down (source). The reason why your Labrador has been breathing fast could be that it is trying to cool itself down. This would be more likely if it breathes faster temporarily when it is hot such as after exercise or when it’s in a hot room.
Not enough exercise
Labradors are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to develop health issues and it might be why yours is breathing fast.
Generally, it is advised that they get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy adults. If your Labrador is not getting that much and the vet has confirmed that it is not ill or injured then it would help to make sure that it gets frequent exercise.
Illness or injury
It might be the case that an illness, medical condition or injury has been causing it to breathe faster. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued, vomiting or limping. If it does seem like it might be ill or injured it would help to take it to a vet.
It has been active recently
If your Labrador tends to breathe faster after doing exercise it would be likely to be because it is doing it in order to cool down.
If your Labrador has been out in the sun for a while and it has started panting a lot, it could be because it has heatstroke. It would also be more likely if it is drooling more, its heart rate is very high, it has diarrhea and seizures. If it does then make sure to let it into a cool and shaded area, to give it water and to follow the advice in this article then to take it to a vet.
If the weather has gotten hotter recently where you are it could be the case that it has been panting more during the day to cool down. This would be more likely if it starts panting more when it is hot inside. In this case, it would help to make sure to give it access to shaded areas, a cool room and lots of water.
If your Labrador has started breathing faster after being put on medication it could be a side effect of the medication (source). This would be more likely if heavy breathing is listed as a side effect on the medication. However, it would help to make sure it is ok with your vet.
The reason might be that it has had an allergic reaction to something. This would be more likely if you saw it eat or interact with something that it shouldn’t have, if it has been showing other signs of having an allergic reaction or if it has started breathing fast suddenly. If it has been showing signs of having an allergic reaction then it would help to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your Labrador has been doing it.
When it started doing it
If your Labrador has always panted a lot it would be more likely to be natural especially if the vet has not found any issues on previous visits and it is a large Labrador. However, it would still help to ask if the panting is normal on your next visit.
If it has started breathing fast recently it would help to consider what else changed when it started doing it since it could be that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it did start breathing fast suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as heatstroke, an allergic reaction, a change in its diet, being hot, being more active, illness or injury. In this case, it would likely be the best option to take it to a vet.
How to get your Labrador to stop breathing fast
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop breathing fast.
Take it to a vet
If your Labrador has started breathing fast suddenly, it has been panting heavily or you don’t know why the best option would be to take it to a vet to rule out the possibility of it being due to a medical issue.
If it has always breathed fast it would also help to consult with your vet when you see them next on its breathing to double-check that it is normal behavior.
Keep it cool
If the weather has become hotter recently, it would help to make sure that your Labrador is able to stay cool. You can do this by exercising it in the morning or evening when it is not as hot, giving it access to shaded areas and a cool room.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get lots of exercise on a daily basis. Provided that your vet has not found any issues it would help to exercise your Labrador either yourself or by getting a dog walker to do it for you when you can’t do it.