My Dog Was Pacing and Panting is a republish of a popular post, running again because a friend’s dog recently had the same issue. Her Layla was pacing and acting unlike herself. Layla lives in California, so friends conjectured that it could be an earthquake pending, or bad weather. Turns out it was construction nearby, the noise, and probably the tremors from the work.
My Dog Was Pacing and Panting
(From March 25, 2015) Y’all, my dog was pacing and panting two nights ago. Flash, my baby boy.
You don’t hear about Flash so much. He’s just turned 13, so at nearly 60 pounds, he’s definitely a senior dog. The expected lifespan is 12 to 15. I call him my grouchy old man, since he tends to be my shadow, growling at anyone or any dog that comes near mom. He’s grumpy, but the look in his eyes when he looks at me is pure love. He’s my favorite.
So two nights ago, when my dog was pacing and panting heavily, I panicked a little. It was ten o’clock at night, I was in my pajamas, and I was petting his side with my bare foot. I do that a lot. He doesn’t want to stand up and I don’t want to bend down. Then he jumped, yelped, staggered out of the room. It caught me by surprise. I immediately went after him, trying to calm him, see if there wasn’t something about his ribs that was bothering him. He kept moving away from me. So I took all the dogs outside into the back yard.
Flash moved to the corner of the house, then back, scratching at the foundation of the house, laying down, then up again. Perplexing behavior for him. Then was back inside. For the next hour he paced and panted. I gave him a couple of baby aspirin in my panic, waiting to see if it calmed him, thinking if it was pain, and that calmed him, I’d know it was something aspirin would take care of. Whatever the heck THAT meant. No logic. I think I was hoping it would calm him so he’d sleep and I could wait to take him to his regular vet in the morning.
What Would You Do?
The entire time, I’ll be brutally honest, this is what was running through my head, verbatim:
He’s old. What if it’s cancer? How do we treat it? Do we treat it? We’ve already spent a lot removing non-cancerous tumors. I’m a dog blogger. I don’t just have a responsibility to my dog, but to the public at large. What do I do? Do I take him to the emergency vet? Do I wait till morning? What do I DO?!?
To be equally honest, this is also what I was thinking: “I should get on FaceCrack and ask my friends what I should do.” Then, “If it were someone else doing that, what would you tell them? You’d yell at them! You’d say, ‘Take your dog to the vet!’ So get up and take your dog to the vet.”
At this point I’d dragged blankets and a pillow onto the living room floor so I could be near him for the night. He didn’t want to curl up next to me the way he usually does. My dog was pacing and panting still. So I called the emergency vet to get an estimate if I brought him in. Then we got in the car.
To the Vet
I like the emergency vet here. And it wasn’t outrageous, taking him just before midnight. Exam, shot for pain, pain meds to take home – less than $150. According to the vet, Flash is healthy for a 13 year old dog. He felt every part of him. Watched him walk. Rotated his neck. Temperature was fine. Ears look great. Nose was cold and wet. No felt or obvious masses. No pain reaction to any pressing and touching. Nothing.
We opted for the pain meds and came home about two AM. Got up bright and early and went to his regular vet. She went through the same routine, feeling everything. Then took the next step, after a million questions, of expressing his anal glands (one was full, but not infected or impacted), blood work to rule out liver and kidney (came back healthy and fine), fecal check (no parasites). So we agreed to keep him on the pain meds for the five days and bring him in if he got worse. Vet says he’s healthy and looking great for a big dog his age.
And do you know what? This morning he’s barking at leaves blowing across the yard. He’s no longer pacing and panting. He seems to be fine. So. I don’t know where that leaves me except relieved.
So What Caused This Behavior?
Amended – Two days after this incident we figured out what was causing Flash to pace and pant. We live in northeastern Oklahoma and it was spring. Tornadoes swept through. Flash was fine once the storms were past. He’s done the pacing and panting thing since this event every time a storm is pending, but not as severly – I think the tornadic activity was probably worse than our usual storms, triggering a reaction we hadn’t seen before. Or since.
I found a great joint supplement for senior dogs, Tomlyn makes them in treat form, and Flash and his sister each get an extra supplement when storms are coming through. It’s helped tremendously. So the barometric pressure causes his arthritis to flair up, just like an older person’s joints do when storms are coming. Panting is a sign that a dog is in pain.
Thanks for tuning in. I’m glad to tell my story. Not sure it will help anyone else. Now y’all scoot – I need to give my favorite dog a treat from Jones Natural Chews. It’ll make him smile. Naturally.
Spreading the good chews …