If your Pomeranian gets overexcited when you come home, or goes a little crazy at playtime, heavy panting is normal. However, heavy panting when at rest, or persistent heavy panting, could point to a health problem. You can help your vet diagnose the problem by giving him as much information as possible. The key to this is to look at the accompanying symptoms to figure out what's making your pom pant.
Pomeranians are classic lapdogs. They are great at keeping you company in the house, but can suffer from heatstroke if they spend too long outside during summer, especially if they are charging around the garden like loons. The first sign your pom has heatstroke is heavy panting and an inability to regulate his temperature the normal way, through gentle panting. if your pom appears to be in distress, bring him inside, make sure he has lots of water and discourage him from moving about.
Heavy panting can be a sign of a heart problem, especially if that heart problem is causing your little buddy breathing difficulty. Sadly Pomeranians are particularly prone to a condition called patent ductus arteriosus, which is a kind of heart murmur. In severe cases, this can lead to heart enlargement. Your vet will test for this condition if you tell him about the heavy panting. The problem is fixed with surgery if diagnosed early enough. Lethargy, exercise intolerance and breathing difficulty are typical accompanying symptoms. Once your vet has fixed this problem, your Pomeranian should be back to his old, delightful self.
Tiny dogs are super-cute, but with their small size come some big health problems. Small breeds are most prone to collapsed trachea and, unfortunately, your Pomeranian is no exception. It is caused by a weakening of the ligaments that hold the trachea together. However, since you're a responsible Pomeranian owner who never misses a trick, you'll be able to spot the signs early. As well as heavy panting, symptoms include coughing, honking, difficulty breathing and, in severe cases, your poor little pom may display a blueish discoloration of the gums. Thankfully, your vet can fix this problem, either with drugs or minor surgery. If your pom is a little porky, losing weight can help with this condition.
Pomeranians are prone to Cushing’s disease, which is caused by an overactive adrenal gland producing too much cortisol. As well as heavy panting, Cushing's disease can mean your pom may have turned a little greedy recently, eating and drinking like his life depends on it. Other symptoms include weight gain, a bloated tummy and hair loss. Depending on how advanced and severe the condition is, your vet either will treat this with adrenal suppressants or surgery.
Like all dogs, your pom can pick up nasty infections, such as pneumonia and kennel cough, both of which will cause heavy panting and difficulty breathing. Lung tumors, obesity and even some medications can cause your pom to pant heavily. If your dog is in pain or discomfort, he may pant as a coping method.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.