As a dog owner, you expect to see your little buddy pant after a long exercise session. You’re probably a bit out of breath yourself!
Seeing your dog panting at night, however, is a different story. That’s when things get worrisome.
In this post, I’ll go over the common reasons and what you can do to help your pup get a good night’s sleep.
5 Reasons Why Dogs Pant at Night
Let’s dive into the common reasons that could keep your pet awake and panting.
1. His Bed Is Too Hot
One of the most common reasons dogs pant is because they’re overheating. Remember that they don’t rely on sweating to regulate their body temperature like we do. Instead, they’ve got to increase their breathing rates to take in more cold air.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a dog is considered overheated if his temperature exceeds 102°F.
What to Do
When your dog is panting at night, the first culprit to suspect is heat. Is the room air-conditioned and well-ventilated?
If not, start spraying cool water on the pup and wipe his nose with a cloth dipped in cold water as you make your way to the vet. Heatstroke can be fatal if you don’t act fast enough!
2. He Is Stressed Out
Just like how we hyperventilate when we’re anxious, your pooch might pant excessively at night if he’s stressed.
Stress triggers aren’t the same for all dogs, but there are a few common ones, including:
- Loud noises (fireworks, thunder, etc.)
- Separation anxiety
- Sudden changes in the sleeping arrangements
Regardless of the cause, you might notice other signs of stress, like tail tucking and whale eyes. I’d recommend using a pet camera to watch your dog’s behavior at night.
What to Do
The best approach here is to be there for your pet and reassure him that everything is fine. Use treats and familiar noises (like a radio) to create a safe space for your dog to sleep.
If that doesn’t work and the panting becomes a persistent issue, talk to your vet about calming supplements and pheromone diffusers.
Some people use pet wraps or vests if there are fireworks outside, but you’ll probably need to remove the wrap before the pup goes back to sleep to avoid skin irritation.
3. He Is in Pain/Discomfort
A dog in pain might have a faster heartbeat and, thus, end up panting.
If he limps while panting, that’s a dead giveaway that he’s in pain. This could be because the soreness from the daytime activities builds up at night.
However, the discomfort could also be from an internal issue, and you won’t be able to spot it right away.
What to Do
The safest bet is to take your pet to the vet for a full check-up. X-rays and blood tests can help pinpoint the exact cause behind the night-time pain.
Depending on the diagnosis, your pet could need either prescription pain relief drugs, physical therapy, or both.
4. There’s an Underlying Metabolic Issue
Some metabolic diseases, like Cushing’s, can cause panting, excessive urination, skin thinning, and hair loss in dogs. That said, you’ll probably notice the changes throughout the day, not just at night.
If your furry buddy is a Mini Poodle, Dachshund, or Boxer, he might be at an even higher risk. Plus, using steroid drugs for prolonged periods can also lead to iatrogenic Chushing’s disease.
What to Do
You can’t diagnose Cushing’s disease yourself. Only vets can do that after bloodwork, urinalysis, ACTH stimulation tests, dexamethasone suppression tests, and more.
Keep in mind that some cases of Cushing’s need surgical intervention, too.
5. He Is Suffering From CDS
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is also known as canine dementia, and it could be why your dog is panting at night.
For one, it disrupts the sleep-wake cycles. It’s also not uncommon to see dogs with CDS panting and pacing.
CDS is more common in senior dogs, and it looks a lot like Alzheimer’s. That means that you could spot other warning signs, such as:
- Potty-related accidents
- Low responsiveness to commands
What to Do
There isn’t one radical cure for CDS, but a vet could prescribe medication to help with the sleep-waking cycles. Odds are, he’ll also recommend sticking to a routine to ease the restlessness and panting.
Final Thoughts: When to Go to the Vet?
Overheating, stress, and pain can all keep your dog up and panting at night. However, there could be deeper underlying issues, like Cushing’s disease or CDS.
You could handle a stressed pup on your own, but all the other causes warrant a visit to the vet. Heatstroke, in particular, is an emergency that needs swift intervention!