It’s easy to tell when your dog is panting from a place of happiness. They played, chased, and ran around, and needed a drink of water and a cool place to lay down. Problem solved. But what about when your dog seems to be panting for no reason, particularly after a calm night indoors?
Many dogs are content to sleep throughout most of the night. They acclimate to their environment and will naturally fall into a schedule that’s a bit closer to their human’s schedule.
Panting isn’t a behavior you can expect to see at bedtime. Most of the time, adjusting the environment will mitigate the problem. If it doesn’t, your dog may have an underlying health problem.
Here are the questions to consider and some guidance on next steps.
Is It Hot in The Room?
If your house gets warm at night, your dog could be panting due to the temperature. This might also happen if your dog lays too close to a heater or a fireplace in the winter.
Make sure the area where your dog is sleeping is a comfortable temperature. Placing a fan near your dog’s bed can help to keep the temperature down.
Does Your Dog Think Your House is Spooky?
Panting can sometimes be a fear response or a cry for help. If your dog doesn’t like the dark, strategically place a few nightlights in areas where your dog may need to walk around at night.
If your dog gets spooked when the house is quiet, playing music or keeping the television on at a low volume can cut through the silence.
Nighttime storms can also rattle dogs. Combining unpredictable thunder and lightning with darkness could be a recipe for environmental stress, along with other loud nighttime activities like neighborhood gatherings or fireworks over the holiday season. If your dog is experiencing environmentally-induced stress, a weight-appropriate dose of CBD may help to calm your dog down when things feel a little spooky.
Some dogs are afraid to be alone at night. If you close your dog out of your bedroom and your dog prefers to sleep near you, your dog may be experiencing some degree of separation anxiety. If it isn’t a bother to allow your dog to sleep on the floor in your room, it’s a solution worth considering. It may be a little more important to consider that solution if you haven’t gotten to spend much time with your dog lately. Your dog could be communicating that they miss you.
Is Your Dog Overweight?
Overweight dogs may pant constantly because they’re struggling to take a deep breath. This panting can happen at any time of day. Overweight dogs may be in pain. They may struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position.
If your dog is overweight, you can likely tell without taking your dog to the vet. It’s time to put your pet on a controlled diet (which you may want to go to the vet for guidance on). Make sure everyone in the house knows not to give the dog any people food. Only use treats infrequently and in small amounts, like when training your dog.
Switch to a high-quality, fresh dog food and adhere to the feeding instructions. The packaging will state how to measure food for a weight-appropriate serving. Do not give your dog less food than the packaging states. Your dog will gradually lose weight by switching to appropriate serving sizes, rather than by throttling normal portions.
If you have multiple dogs, feed them in separate areas. This will prevent your dog from eating your other pets’ food. Dogs that are accustomed to overeating will need to be fed separately until they develop better habits. These will come with time and training if you stay consistent.
You also need to encourage your dog to get more exercise. Dogs should enjoy a few hours of activity every day. Some of that time can be guided play sessions or walks with you. If your dog has access to a fenced-in yard, encourage them to play outside more.
If your dog seems to be experiencing severe health issues as a result of being overweight, it’s best to take your dog to the vet. Your dog could be dealing with diabetes, Cushing's disease, joint pain, or cardiovascular stress. Your vet may recommend special food or exercise plans, including hydrotherapy, which is essentially water aerobics for your dog.
Your Dog May Be In Pain
Dogs do a remarkable job of hiding their pain. You may not suspect that your dog is in pain because things have been completely ordinary for the past several hours. Your dog could have gotten hurt playing earlier in the day, but you’re only seeing the signs of the pain when your dog is having difficulty attempting to find a comfortable position.
If your dog is in too much pain to sleep, this is a situation that requires an emergency vet visit.
Many dog owners are shocked to find their dog was successfully hiding or downplaying serious issues like broken bones or foreign objects in their digestive systems. Don’t wait until the morning to figure out what’s keeping your dog up. It’s better to overreact and discover that your dog is okay than it is to underreact and allow the situation to worsen.
Could Your Dog Have Heart Problems or Difficulty Breathing?
If your dog is panting and having trouble catching their breath, this is a situation that warrants immediate veterinary attention.
Do not wait until the morning. Take your dog to the nearest emergency animal hospital or after-hours vet.
This could be a sign of a serious heart ailment, an upper respiratory illness, or an allergic reaction.
If it’s possible that your dog is having an allergic reaction (or has been bitten or stung), you can give your dog Benadryl (diphenhydramine) as a first course of action. You still need to get your dog to the vet, but Benadryl will make your dog more comfortable in the meantime. Although Benadryl can reduce the severity of anaphylaxis, you should continue closely monitoring your dog to assure that the reaction doesn’t escalate.
You can call the hospital or vet to get guidance on an appropriate dosage for your dog, while also letting them know that you’re on the way.
Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy, and Safe
If you believe that your dog may be seriously ill or hurt, you should always schedule the soonest available vet appointment. Go to a walk-in emergency animal clinic for allergic reactions, potential heart issues, or difficulty breathing. These issues can’t wait until the morning.
If your dog is experiencing external stress by things that go bump in the night, VETCBD Hemp’s full spectrum CBD tincture for pets can be a useful tool for promoting calmness and emotional balance.
Use a nightlight, give your dog some ambient nose in a room that isn’t too warm or too cold, and give your dog 2 to 4 milligrams of CBD per ten pounds of body weight. Your dog will calm down and get some sleep, which means you will, too.
How Much Sleep do Dogs Need? | The Dog People by Rover.com
Should I Leave the TV on for My Dog? | Canine Country
Hydrotherapy for Dogs: A Growing Trend in Canine Physical Therapy | American Kennel Club
How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain | American Animal Hospital Association