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Chewing on treats like bones, bully sticks, and rawhides are great substitute for shoes! However, these hard treats can cause dogs to pant. So, if you’ve given your pooch a bully stick, bone, or rawhide, you must’ve wondered: Why is my dog panting heavily after eating bone, bully stick, rawhide?

In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about why your dog pants heavily after chewing on their chew treats. Let’s get started!

Why Is My Dog Panting After Chewing a Bone, Bully Stick, or Rawhide?

Understanding the reason for a dog’s heavy panting after chewing on a bone, bully stick, or rawhide can determine what to do. A dog will pant as a cooling mechanism, because they are excited, or because they are stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable.

The most likely reasons for your dog to heavily pant during or after eating a bone, bully stick, or rawhide, is because they are excited, or because they’re working hard and getting hot chewing on it.

If you dog shows symptoms of pacing, hiding, whimpering, shaking, whining, lip licking, and crying, then they may have hurt themselves on their treat. If this is the case, it’s probably best to take them to their veterinarian.

It’s not uncommon, however, for a dog to get overheated if they’re spending a lot of time chewing. For instance, some dogs can take at least an hour to finish an entire bully stick. Additionally, it’ll take a smaller dog longer to chew on the same amount.

However, depending on the breed and its health condition, some dogs won’t get easily exhausted from chewing on bully sticks, bones, and rawhides.

Some stronger jawed dog breeds like Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Cane Corsos, and even Labrador Retrievers all can make short work of these types of treats and so are less likely to heavily pant for long afterwards. At least if it’s heat related, they may still just be excited!

Some smaller dog breeds that are also known as notorious chewers like Jack Russells and Dachshunds can also handle a rawhide better than say a poodle.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Too Much Bone, Bully Sticks, or Rawhide?

Although bones, bully sticks, and rawhides are great alternatives, giving a dog too much can increase the risk of the following health issues:

1.   Constipation or Bowel Blockage

Although bully sticks and rawhides are digestible treats, they’re not digested right away.

Generally, dogs can take about one to two days to digest rawhide completely. On the other hand, dogs will take up to 12 hours to fully digest raw bones while bully sticks may take only 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, too many bones, bully sticks, and rawhides may lead to constipation, especially if a dog ingested large chunks of the treats. The pieces are going to pass through the digestive system and might not get broken down along with the rest of their food.

As a result, the dog might have a hard time defecating.

Monitor your dog to ensure that they’re not nibbling too much on the chew treats in one setting. Give them at least 30 minutes to one hour of chewing time. You should only allow your dog to have bully sticks or rawhides two or three times a week.

In addition, you can give your doggo one to two raw bones weekly, and you might like to read our post, How Long Can a Dog Chew a Bone For? (Answered)

Husky eating bone

2.   Pathogen and Bacterial Contamination

Raw bones, bully sticks, and rawhides might get contaminated with bacteria and pathogens, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These pathogens can make a dog sick—even more so if he consumes more than the recommended amount.

On top of that, humans in the household who come in contact with the chew treats may also be at risk.

What’s more, bully sticks contain a chemical preservative called Sodium Metabisulfite. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, deemed the chemical as not safe for meat products.

3.   Choking and Intestinal Damage

Giving a dog too many edible treats can increase the risk of intestinal blockage and choking. Large pieces of hard treats, like bully sticks and rawhides, can get stuck in his esophagus and digestive tract.

A vet can remove the blockages through the throat. Sometimes though, the dog needs to undergo abdominal surgery to remove the pieces from his intestines or stomach.

Not just that, but raw bones can also break into sharp shards that can cause damage to a dog’s stomach and intestinal lining. Worse, the bone fragments might penetrate the walls of the stomach and intestines and cause an abdominal infection called Peritonitis.

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4.   Mouth and Tongue Injuries

Giving your dog too many chew treats, especially rawhides and bones, isn’t always a good idea. Bones might splinter the dog’s cheek, tongue, palate or the roof of their mouth.

Plus, bones can be hard to chew. A dog might even break one of their teeth.

Moreover, rawhides can break into sharp shards as well. That’s why rawhide treats can cause the same injuries as raw bones.

When Should I Worry About Dog Panting?

Dog panting

Generally, a dog’s panting is associated with his cooling mechanism, otherwise known as thermoregulation. Panting may also be his way of telling his owner that he’s stressed, anxious, and uncomfortable.

However, some dog breeds with short snouts are naturally heavy breathers. Some examples include Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, Bull Mastiffs, and Boston Terriers.

Once you’ve ruled out the breed being the cause, look for other symptoms of discomfort. Usually, a distressed dog will pant and show other signs of anxiety as well. Those include pacing, hiding, whimpering, shaking, whining, lip licking, and crying.

Can Panting Mean a Dog Is in Pain?

Dogs pant when they’re active, energetic, happy, and excited. However, keep in mind that dogs are pretty good at hiding pain and discomfort from their owners. Once they’ve reached a certain level of discomfort, they may show signs, like panting.

Dogs may also exhibit other stress indicators, such as vocalizing and restlessness.

Should I Take my Dog to the Vet For Excessive Panting?

If your dog is panting heavily after chewing on his bully stick or rawhide, and is showing other symptoms of discomfort, your best option is to take them to the vet. If you suspect they’re just hot, then using a cooling mat or a wet towel to cool them down is a good idea to see if the panting subsides.

You can also place your dog in the breeze of a fan. After that, spray cool water over your dog’s head, ears, and feet.

Dog eating bone

How Much Is Too Much Panting For a Dog?

Although panting is common, a dog shouldn’t pant for over 10 minutes, after which time their breathing should return to normal.

Normally, a dog has three patterns of panting. A dog would inhale through the nose and exhale through their mouth. They may also inhale through their mouth and exhale through their nose. Other patterns include inhalation and exhalation through both nose and mouth.

However, if their panting heavily to the point where it’s labored breathing; it’s a sign that they’re panting abnormally. Another indication is when they’re panting for over 30 minutes while resting.

In this case, your dog may require veterinary care.

In Summary

Typically, a dog pants after chewing on hard treats, such as raw bones, bully sticks, and rawhides. The main reason is that dogs use a lot of mental and physical effort to chew on these treats. This chewing can cause them to heat up and panting cools them down. They could also just be excited by the treat.

Although digestible chews are great substitutes for your sneakers and furniture, you should only give your pooch a maximum of three bully sticks and rawhides per week. Other than that, you can allow them raw bones twice a week.

Keep in mind that giving your dog too much might increase the risk of constipation or bowel blockage, and mouth injuries. Other health risks also include choking, intestinal damage, and pathogen or bacterial contamination.

Moreover, monitor your dog while they eat bully stick, rawhides, or bones. If your dog is panting heavily after eating a bone, bully stick, and rawhide, and it’s not subsiding, and there are other signs of discomfort, then take you dog to the veterinarian for a check up.