Panting in Dogs With Brain Tumor

One of the most common symptoms associated with brain tumors in dogs is excessive panting. The reason for this is quite simple: dogs increase their breathing rate in order to help alleviate discomfort and/or pain.

How to tell if your dog’s excessive panting is normal or something to worry about

Panting in dogs is fairly normal and can be caused by a variety of things. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between panting that’s normal and panting that may be an indication of something more serious.

If your dog pants when he’s hot, it’s perfectly normal, but excessive panting can signal health problems. A dog with shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can also sweat excessively due to a heart condition or high temperature.

When your pet pants excessively or their breathing seems labored or too fast, it could be a sign that they are experiencing pain, anxiety or distress. Excessive panting can also be caused by physical problems such as respiratory infections, heart disease, fever and even allergic reactions.

Ultimately, the decision about whether to worry about panting comes down to its context. If your dog is panting excessively in one situation but seems otherwise healthy, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if you see your dog panting outside of normal circumstances or after exertion, it’s time to take action.

How do dogs act when they have a brain tumor?

Although there are many different types of brain cancer, most share similar symptoms. These include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of vision
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in behavior
  • Tilting the head (a sign of pain)
  • Pain in the neck
  • Seizures

Dogs that have a brain tumor will display many of these symptoms. They may walk in circles and bump into things. Sometimes their heads tilt to the side. Dogs may also lose their sense of smell or start vomiting for no reason. They can even display aggression and other behavioral changes. Some dogs will lose interest in food and even stop drinking water altogether.

What are the final stages of a brain tumor in dogs?

The final stages of a brain tumor for dogs can be very distressing and include:

  • Daily seizures
  • Head pressing
  • Sudden behavioral changes like fear or aggression
  • Increased weight loss and disorientation

How do you comfort a dog with a brain tumor?

Your dog may have a brain tumor, but it’s still your dog. It needs a loving owner to comfort it and care for it. Here are some things you can do to help ease the pain and make your dog’s last days as comfortable as possible:

Try medications first. Pain management is always the first step. Most likely, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to try and reduce swelling, along with opioids to control pain. Obviously, you don’t want your pet to suffer needlessly, so if the pain medications aren’t doing the job, talk to your vet about other options.

Keep her comfortable. Your dog might associate being moved around with being in pain, so it’s best not to move her unless absolutely necessary. Try putting blankets or pillows on the floor where she spends most of her time so she can be more comfortable when she wants to rest or sleep.

Give him space. It may be tempting to hold and cuddle your pet when he’s in pain, but this could be stressful for him because he may associate you with causing pain. If he does calm down while being held, keep the cuddles brief so he doesn’t associate them with discomfort.

When is it time to put a dog down with a brain tumor?

There are numerous treatment options available for dogs with cancer, but sometimes the quality of life is more important than the quantity. No one wants to consider euthanizing a pet, but when they’re in distress or pain even with pain medication and the seizures are frequent, it may be time to consider that option.

The most important thing is your dog’s quality of life. Treatment that could prolong their life may also prolong their suffering.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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