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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Panting drinking more than normal scratching

Customer Question

Panting drinking more than normal scratching
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 2 years ago.
Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian in the US who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm sorry to hear that Cassie hasn't been acting herself - I'm here to help. When I hear of pets who are unable to settle like you're describing, there are two different causes I'm looking for: either physical discomfort of some kind (including pain anywhere, itching, or nausea) or anxiety. As you can imagine, physical discomfort is pretty much impossible for me to assess without seeing her myself, but most times owners have an idea of what might be bothering their dog by watching their behavior. Some dogs with sore backs will guard their spine (tighten their belly muscles when you try to bend their back), some dogs with joint or limb pain will limp, dogs with severe itching are easy to spot because you're seeing lots of scratching. Allergies is the typical cause for severe itching in dogs (although there are certainly others). In some cases they can be so miserable from itching that they won't even be able to sleep. They'll stay up and pant heavily from the discomfort. For dogs who aren't on any other medications and who don't have any other health concerns, a dose of 0.5mg per kg of body weight of diphenhydramine can help quell allergy itching. I would ideally have you consult your vet prior to giving any medications though. The increased thirst level that you're describing could signal other diseases like diabetes or kidney disease, which would take some blood work to diagnose.Nausea or GI discomfort can cause panting is often followed by vomiting or diarrhea - they can get all crampy just like we can when they are having a GI upset. I've seen dogs with things like abscessed anal glands, severe allergies, fleas, GI upsets (diarrhea or vomiting), back or limb pain, and even ear infections be up all night pacing and trying to settle. The possibilities, unfortunately, are many. If we've done a full physical and potentially some lab work if we thought it indicated and we cannot see any sign of physical problems, that's when we will consider anxiety. Obviously some pets show us with their behavior that it's anxiety by "targeting" the source of their anxiety - for instance, my dog had a serious phobia of stink bugs, which would cause him to pant, drool excessively, pace, and whine any time we had one in the house. It took me awhile, but eventually I recognized that the bug was the trigger. Equipped with these tips, I think that you may be able to have a better idea of what's bothering her. Red flags that indicate that we need to seek emergency care would be: any sort of abdominal distention, pale or white gums, very high heart rate (>140 beats per minute), or any sort of labored breathing.Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you~Dr. Sara ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)