My Dog Was Pacing and Panting

My Dog Was Pacing and Panting

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.

Pacing and panting just he night before, my senior Aussie is at the vet
Flash, my senior Aussie mix, waiting at the vet. My dog was pacing and panting just the night before.

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.

Can I have a treat, mama? Please?
I love this adoring look. Flash is the dog of my heart.

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.

A dog running from a duck?
But it wasn’t sunny. And the duck wasn’t out. I just like this photo.

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.

Debonair Dog Maintenance
There’s no logic to Flash wearing a sombrero, either. But it’s super cute on him.

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.

Sick senior dog at the emergency vet
Flash at the emergency vet. He’d stopped pacing, but he was still panting. It surprised me, when we got home, that he didn’t want water, as much as he’d been panting hard.

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.

Feliz Navidad!
My dog was pacing and panting, but now he’s fine. What a relief!

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.

Don’t forget to enter to win our Canine Christmas Crunchers giveaway!

Spreading the good chews …


22 thoughts on “My Dog Was Pacing and Panting

  1. Oh we are so happy that Flash is okay…how scary for both of you. I was worried the more I read through your post….it is funny though how that is exactly how us doggy parents feel….”do I ask my friends, what will they say etc. etc.” Hopefully, it was a one time thing, and the pain med’s are helping…..deb

  2. They sure know how to scare us, don’t they?! I know I mentioned arthritis or back pain, but here’s another, how about a gas attack. Don’t laugh, it can be very painful and not necessarily smelly. It happened to my old boy one time after he ate a bunch of beans (yes!) and he was in agony! It never stunk and he was better the next day. I didn’t know about bloat at the time or I probably would have gone to the emergency vet just in case, but I did know about him eating the beans so I figured that was the issue.
    Taryn recently posted..Wilson Within Wicker on Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  3. If only they could tell us what they want and need. It is frightening when they are pacing and panting and nothing calms them down. My boy Buddy was pacing on February 14 and I had to take him to the emergency vet, but it was easy to figure out what was wrong with him — he had tried to kiss a porcupine. Happy the pain meds seem to be working and sending many positive thoughts for Flash!
    Buddy’s Beat recently posted..Return of the Great White NorthMy Profile

  4. Mom always gets scared when one of us starts acting weird. We try to only do it when she has plans to be somewhere, evenings, or weekends as it adds stress to her panic. So glad Flash is doing well, who knows what was going on with him.Yesterday Bailie freaked Mom out by barely moving, not wanting to eat, nothing like her wild child self. By day’s end, she was fine. We think it was sore muscles from all the racing and hopping she did all day on Monday in the fresh ten inches of heavy snow, but Mom worried all day.
    Emma recently posted..Emma’s Easter PicksMy Profile

  5. What a scary night you had! We become so fearful that something is wrong with our dogs that it can actually make us sick! Don’t you just wish they could talk and let you know if something is hurting them? I’m glad everything turned out okay. Maybe he had a charlie horse of some sort, those can freak me out a bit. ;-/


  6. It is times like that when I really wish they could do a better job talking to us. LOL! I’m glad that he is okay. Why do we always think the worse possible illness when they get sick? Must be the mom gene. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted..Maximum Tasting MinisMy Profile

  7. So glad Flash is sure sounds like a pinched nerve …so hard when they can’t tell us..i panic too…Forrest is a big dog and 12 this year and Doc is a small dog who will be 13…so we always think the worst…urghh they do know how to freak us out! hope Flash stays well! hugs Bev
    Bev Green recently posted..Wet WednesdayMy Profile

  8. he could be developing vestibular, these are some of the beginning signs….so watch him carefully. they may be fine one day and the next not so fine. this is what happened with evie, i just did not know the signs. also i as i told you b4 he may have some old age problems similar to dementia that humans get, evie has this and wonders alot….just make sure they are on antioxidents and i also use neutricks which is for older dogs as well. you can take their temp at home, should be around 101 or so…if you catch vestibular in the very beginning, acupuncture helps. was he eating, drinkng, etc. sometimes just holding his food to find out what is going on helps, also i use arnica for pain….evie takes it everyday for her back….please dont use any steroids, more problems.

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