Dog Panting

Why do dogs pant?

Why does a dog pant so much? Is Your Dog Panting Too Much?

Panting is a common canine behavior that can help regulate temperature. Like humans, dogs don’t sweat a lot to cool down, so they pant to evaporate water in the mouth and upper respiratory tract, which helps them get cooler.

It involves the dog’s mouth, nose, trachea (windpipe), and lungs as they breathe in cooler air and exhale heat and water. They may also pant after exercise and if they’re feeling hot or sweaty.

If your dog pants frequently, you need to see a vet as it’s a sign that something is wrong. Your vet will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet to find out if there’s an issue with their heart, circulatory system, lungs, airway, neck, or head and will recommend blood tests or other diagnostic tests if needed.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Panting is a natural cooling mechanism for dogs. As they pant, saliva evaporates, and the cooled air is circulated through their body to help them cool down. It also speeds up the evaporation of water from their nose and lungs.

  • Heat Excitement

When a dog is sitting outside in the sun or when they’re running around, it’s normal for them to pant. They’re using their ‘cooling mechanism’ of panting to regulate their body temperature because they can’t sweat as people do!

They’re also panting to release carbon dioxide, which is produced during breathing. They can’t breathe out of their noses, so they use this method to get rid of excess gas and oxygen.

  • Stress and Pain

Panting can be a sign that your dog is in pain or is anxious about something. It’s a natural response to anxiety and can be triggered by things such as visits to the vet, a car ride, or going on holiday.

If your dog is panting a lot, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet for a check-up to see what’s causing it. Your vet may also do a blood test and x-rays to make sure everything’s in order.

  • Obesity

If you’re noticing that your dog is panting more than usual, it’s probably because they’re overweight. This is a common problem in dogs and can lead to obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It’s also a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough fresh, oxygenated blood to their vital organs.

  • Old age

The diaphragm and muscles in the lungs are weaker in older dogs, so they can’t breathe as efficiently as young ones. They may also have fibrotic tissue buildup in their lungs, which reduces the amount of oxygen they can breathe in and out.

  • Cushing’s Syndrome

Some dog breeds are predisposed to Cushing’s syndrome, a condition where the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. This can make them pant excessively as a result, especially if they’re on medication.

  • Laryngeal Paralysis

Some dogs are predisposed to ‘laryngeal paralysis,’ which is a dysfunction of the vocal cords that prevents them from opening as wide as they should. This can lead to a loud ‘what-ah’ sound when your dog is panting.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Another cause of excessive panting is IBD, a gastrointestinal disorder where the mucus membranes lining the stomach erupt from their normal position, forming lumps that can be painful or uncomfortable. It can also cause weight loss and bloating.

It can be very serious and can lead to life-threatening complications, so it’s a good idea to take your pet to the vet for treatment if they have any of these symptoms.

  • Heatstroke

If your dog is panting heavily when you are walking in a hot environment, it could be a sign of heatstroke. It’s important to find a shaded spot and give your dog plenty of water.

How to Tell Normal Dog Panting From Excessive Panting

Panting is a natural response for dogs to regulate their body temperature. However, excessive panting may be a sign of something more serious, and it’s important to know what to look for.

  • Take Note of What Your Dog Is Doing

Many dogs will pant when they feel fear, anxiety, or stress. This could be from a car ride, fireworks, vet visits, or other stressful situations. Understanding the cause of these incidents can minimize them for your dog.

Avoid stressful situations that can lead to excessive panting, and take steps to keep your dog calm, cool and comfortable. This can include putting them in a cool room, providing them with plenty of water, and keeping them out of the sun on hot days.

  • Look for Other Symptoms That Can Tell Normal Dog Panting From Excessive Panting

Some dogs are very good at hiding pain, so it’s important to look for other symptoms when your dog starts to feel uncomfortable or sick. In addition to a heavy breathing rate, other signs of illness or pain may include vomiting, lethargy, pacing, and changes in behavior.

  • Pay Attention to Changes in Your Dog Panting Sounds

When your dog is feeling cold, it will pant to bring its body temperature up. This can be a normal reaction to the cold, but when they start to pant more often or loudly, it’s time to call your vet.

What to Do If Your Dog Is Panting Heavily

Many times, heavy panting in dogs can be a normal response to exercise or excitement. However, in some cases, it may seem excessive and could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

If your dog is panting excessively, he should be checked over by your vet. They can give you advice on how to get your dog to relax, as well as check him over for any underlying conditions.

Your vet can check your dog’s breathing and take a temperature. They can also give you some medication to reduce your dog’s pain and help him relax.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your vet if you suspect your pet is suffering from stress or anxiety, as this could lead to panting. You can try calming techniques like using an anxiety wrap or shirt to calm your dog down or putting them in a quiet room to relax.