Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. This could be due to a number of problems. Panting can be a sign of pain, for example due to arthritis. Excessive drinking could be a sign of kidney or liver disease, diabetes, hormonal problems or even a tumour. You should take your dog to your vets for examination and possible a blood test and urine analysis.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Problems like BOAS, heart disease, Cushing`s Disease or a high temperature/fever can make your dog pant and breathe more quickly. Often, your dog will also show other symptoms of their illness, for example coughing, drinking and peeing more or having low energy.
Many senior dogs pant at night for a number of reasons, which can include health conditions like anemia and Cushing`s disease. Older dogs can also suffer from cognitive dysfunction, which disrupts their sleep-wake cycle, causing them to be restless at night.
If pain or discomfort is not the cause of heavy panting, your dog is likely exhibiting panting and restless behavior is likely due to underlying stress, fear, or anxiety. Anxiety is the most common cause of panting and restlessness in dogs without other clinical signs.
There are a few medical reasons for increase in panting. If your pet is experiencing a lung disease, heart disease, Cushing`s disease, Anemia, or other conditions they may show changes to their panting patterns. Some transient reasons for increased panting can be side effects from medications like steroids.
Wincing, Whining or Crying

All three of these actions indicate an injury or some kind of pain your dog is experiencing. If you start to pet your dog and they shy away from your hand or whine, you know there is something wrong.

Excessive panting is a common symptom of discomfort or pain. In fact, dogs who are uncomfortable often exhibit panting well before more obvious indicators of pain, such as whining or limping, arise. When the heart is doing an inadequate job of pumping blood around the body, the tissues become deprived of oxygen.
Dogs pant when they`re in pain or feel stressed—including when they have dog arthritis. “They can`t really do anything about [achy joints],” says Dr. Nelson.
Similarly to humans, arthritis in dogs causes changes in the affected joints that can be incredibly painful for your pet. Arthritis can occur in any joint, but is most commonly found in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees.
Many conditions can lead to excessive thirst or dehydration in your dog, including diabetes, Cushing`s disease, cancer, diarrhea, fever, infection, kidney disease, and liver disease. Sometimes, however, it may not be the condition itself causing your dog`s excessive thirst, but the medication used to treat it.
What are the typical signs of pain in dogs? General behaviour: Shaking, flattened ears, low posture, aggression, grumpy temperament, panting or crying, excessive licking or scratching a specific area, reluctant to play, interact or exercise, lameness (limping), stiffness after rest, loss of appetite.
In older dogs, labored breathing may be caused by fluid in the lungs or chest cavity that can be related to lung or heart disease. An injury or trauma to the windpipe or chest can cause labored breathing. A foreign object — such as a small toy or food — can block your dog`s nose, mouth, or windpipe.
A: Cushing`s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism-HAC) is a somewhat common condition in older dogs, often mistaken for the aging process itself. Dogs gain weight (pot belly), lose hair, drink water to excess and urinate more. Many owners think their dog has diabetes.
When dogs are in pain or don`t feel well, they tend to display behavioral changes, such as decreased activity or lethargy. Some sick dogs that are normally social may start to withdraw. A kind and energetic pet may begin to show snippiness or aggression.
Sick dogs need a lot of sleep and rest. Provide a quiet and comfortable place for your dog to relax that is free of disturbances, including other pets or young children who may be a bother. You may want to keep your sick dog in a private room or separate area of the house to ensure that they are left alone.
Breathing Changes

Dogs experiencing pain may have a faster and more shallow breathing pattern than normal. They may also pant.

Your dog might be shaking or panting because they`re having difficulty getting enough air. Panting allows your dog to take deep, rapid breaths. This can be caused by several health issues, like heart conditions or lung issues, and can indicate a need to go to an emergency vet.
Stage 4: Pain can be severe at this stage. Lack of mobility is a life threatening disease – dogs who can`t get up or walk anymore usually are euthanized. This is the stage we are trying to prevent by intervening early. At this stage, the pet may resist, cry or even scream when the joint range of motion is tested.
Severe Osteoarthritis (STAGE 4)

A dog often becomes restless when standing and may be reluctant to stand or move. Other signs include consistent severe lameness, weight shift and abnormal limb loading.

In summary, the best medical recommendation for dogs with arthritis is that they should exercise regularly, ideally 30-60 minutes every day, and not engage in high-impact activities such as running, jumping and rough play. But, you do have to factor in your dog`s quality of life as well.
Without treatment, it will get worse and worse. We sometimes hear canine osteoarthritis called degenerative joint disease. With this condition, the joint cartilage degrades and slowly disappears. This is protective connective tissue, and when it wears down, bones grind against each other.
If your dog has arthritis, grain-free food may be the way to go. Many processed commercial dog foods contain grains such as wheat, rice, soy, and spelt, which can cause your dog`s blood sugar levels to fluctuate and increase painful swelling. Limiting the grains in your dog`s diet can decrease their inflammation.
Symptoms of Liver Disease in Dogs

Early stage symptoms can include: Vomiting and diarrhea. An increase in thirst, which will cause the dog to pee more frequently. Loss of appetite and weight loss.

It`s normal for dogs to pant, especially when they`re hot, excited, or energetic. Heavy panting is different, though, and may be a sign your dog is dangerously overheated, coping with a chronic health problem, or has experienced a life-threatening trauma.
Some dogs remain stoically quiet when they`re hurting but others, especially young dogs who have not experienced physical discomfort, may whimper and cry when they`re feeling pain. Your presence may provide comfort and lead them to stop whining.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My 13 year old mixed breed is panting a lot and drinking a lot. He has arthritis. He is also eating less than he used to
ANSWER : A. This could be due to a number of problems. Panting can be a sign of pain, for example due to arthritis. Excessive drinking could be a sign of kidney or liver disease, diabetes, hormonal problems or even a tumour. You should take your dog to your vets for examination and possible a blood test and urine analysis.

Q. My 20 month Cavalier doesn’t eat unless I let him eat from my finger, then he eats. Sometimes he will only eat once a day and leave his food.
ANSWER : A. It is possible that your dog is just not satisfied with his current food, or may be a picky eater. There are several things you can try to encourage your dog to eat.

The first step is to remove any additional treats or people food that may be more enticing to your dog than his own meal. If you feel you must give him some form of treat, be sure to place them directly in his food bowl and mixed with his regular diet. This allows him to get some snacks while also “forcing” him to try out his current meal to get the reward.

Enticing your dog to try his food by adding a pet-safe gravy or even a few treats of plain boiled chicken mixed in can help. Be sure to mix the foods thoroughly so he must explore his own food before getting the treat.

Some small breed dogs may also have a hard time with certain bowls and their collars. If there is a metal name tag on the collar and a metal bowl, the clinking sound can sometimes scare off dogs and make them not want to eat from their bowl. Using a bowl of a different material, or removing the collar prior to a meal may help with this issue.

Your dog may also just not be into his current food and may like another variety better. You can try a new variety by gradually switching over a period of 7-9 days, slowly adding in more new food and removing old until it is switched. This change may encourage him to try out meals again, and the slow changeover will allow his body to adjust to the new diet without digestive upset.

Q. I have a 10 year old mutt who is hyper but doesn’t like hyper dogs. Getting another dog from a shelter soon any ideas on calm breeds?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is uncomfortable with other dogs (of any sort), it is important that you bring your current dog to the shelter so he can meet the dog you plan to adopt. You should check out your local shelter, and walk around looking at all of the dogs. Mixed breeds have mixed amounts of energy and it’s tough to recommend a breed. I suppose I would say calm breeds would be the Great Pyrenees, the Newfoundland, the Bernese Mountain dog CAN be a calm breed.. really with any breed you will have mixed litters. Many breeders breed specifically the “calm” Newfies, or the “hyper” Bernese. If you are going to adopt from a shelter however, it’s impossible to expect that level of breeding.

As I said, just be sure you bring your dog along so you can slowly introduce the dogs. If your dog is uncomfortable, immediately separate them, and try again in a couple of minutes. You don’t want to force them to get along, and you don’t want to move too quickly when introducing them.

Q. Which flea and tick drops are the best and why?
ANSWER : A. Your question is a good one, and unfortunately the answers are going to differ based on who you ask. Many vets are seeing resistance to Frontline, which has been the go-to product for many of us for many years. It contains the active ingredient Fipronil, which is very safe and typically extremely effective. I use it on my dogs and never see fleas or ticks. However other vets will tell you in their areas, for whatever reason, they are seeing fleas and ticks on dogs and cats on which this product was used.

Another reason opinions differ is that some people like to give an oral product, and some like to put a topical product directly on the skin. That’s a matter of personal preference mostly. Bravecto, as mentioned below, is one of those products. Most people find it safe and effective. It uses a different process that Frontline to kill fleas and ticks.

In general the products you buy over-the-counter are likely going to be less expensive and less effective than what you get from a vet. I think the reason is that the more expensive products contain newer insecticides, and likely less resistance to these products has built up in the flea and tick population but also they are maybe less “proven”, so it’s important for a vet to be involved in the use of the product in order to ensure that there won’t be a negative reaction to using it.

If I lived in an area where there was Lyme disease (in the US that’s the northeast and upper midwest) I’d most definitely add a tick collar to my standard oral or topical flea and tick prevention. AND I’d search both of my dogs everyday for ticks. It’s because nothing you buy will be 100% effective, and Lyme disease can be a very serious problem.

If you want to talk further and talk more specifically about where you live and what products you’re considering, I’d be happy to do a consult with you. Nobody here is paid to recommend products, but we do develop preferences based on what we use on our own pets and in our practices.

Q. What brand of dog food should I feed my dog? She’s a husky mix and about 45 lbs. She’s almost 2 years old.
ANSWER : A. I would recommend Natural Balance at your local Petco store. Call the store and ask if they have a Natural Balance Brand rep who comes to the store and see when they come. Make sure the brand rep brings free samples with them. Normally they bring samples of the different flavors to the store and you should ask for some to try to see what your dog likes best. Offer the dog the different kibble and see which they prefer by holding them out in your hands and switch out the flavors. My dog prefered the Salmon based Natural Balance Synergy bag the best from all the flavors. I also found out he doesn’t care for the Bison Natural Balance even though a lot of dogs love it. The Petco may have free samples already so ask if they do. The pet store associates should be able to also assist you in finding the right food for you. The reason you want to go with a high quality high protein food vs the cheaper brands because they are grain free, no by products, and no corn. The cheaper brands have corn in it as the main ingredient and by product which is also very bad. When our dogs are forced to eat the cheaper brands they have to eat more to get the energy they need from the food resulting in more bowel movements and without the proper nutrients this can hurt their health later in life. The higher quality brands will be more cost per bag but you will be buying less because the dog eats less so you will be saving money that way and it comes out about even in the long run. Petco has a great Rewards Program so make sure to sign up and ask about the details on it. Every $100 you spend you get $5 in your email with the Pet Pals Reward Program.

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. How do I FINALLY rid all 4 of my cats of tapeworms after 2 years of dealing with it? Fleas seem to be controlled. I know they are the vector.
ANSWER : A. If your cats keep getting tapeworms, then they are picking up fleas from somewhere. Fleas will hitch a ride on your pant leg from outside.

Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

You can also use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the life cycle.

Q. My dog hasnt eaten snce I left 4 days ago. I won’t be home for 6 more days. How can the caretaker get her to eat?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is feeling a bit sad while you are away and is refusing to eat, your pet sitter may try some things such as adding in boiled chicken or turkey to meals to encourage eating. A pet-safe gravy may also entice your dog to eat as well while you are gone. Your pet sitter may also want to offer smaller meals more often throughout the day to give your dog more chances to try and eat when she is feeling more comfortable and a little less sad. A game of fetch or playing together may also get your dog’s appetite going and help her to feel more comfortable eating around your pet sitter.

If your dog is showing any other signs of illness in addition to the refusal to eat (beyond normal missing an owner), then it is always a good idea to keep an eye out and contact a veterinarian as needed.

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