When you open the door to your pups and they’re panting like crazy, it can be scary. After all, dogs don’t have sweat glands to help them cool off, so when they start panting you know something is wrong. But not all panting is a sign of a bigger issue — some of it is just because that’s what their body does to help them deal with stress and anxiety or even overexertion.
What Is Panting in Dogs?
Dogs don’t sweat like humans do because they have fewer sweat glands in their skin than people do, so instead of using evaporative cooling, dogs dissipate heat by panting with open mouths that take in air at high speed to create a current of air across mucous membranes lining the throat and mouth cavity. This process creates an evaporative effect as moisture from inside the dog’s mouth is carried to their lungs, which cools the blood running through them and then circulates throughout the body.
Not everyone agrees that panting acts as a mechanism of heat dissipation. Some feel it’s not the air coming in and out of the mouth but rather evaporation off of mucous membranes lining the dog’s mouth and respiratory tract that is primarily responsible for cooling.
Thus, when we see a dog panting we assume they are hot and in need of some relief. But it turns out that this is not always the case.
Here are five common reasons why your dog might be panting:
1. To Cool Themselves Off
You may have noticed your dog panting when they’re hot. This is because dogs, like humans, sweat through their noses and mouths to cool themselves down. Panting helps to regulate their body temperature by either allowing more water vapour to escape from the lungs or cooling the air before it reaches their lungs.
In hot weather or hot environments (like a car on a summer day), panting helps dogs cope with the heat by cooling off their bodies as blood vessels in their tongue and mouth expand under pressure from increased blood flow.
Dogs that don’t have access to water or who are unable to reach water can become dehydrated if they don’t pant enough during exercise or on extremely hot days.
2. To Calm Their Anxiety
- Panting is a way for your dog to calm down. When a dog pants, it’s not necessarily because they’re hot or excited—it’s because panting helps them relax. So, next time your dog seems anxious or nervous around other people or dogs, take a deep breath and let him know that everything is okay by calmly petting him under the chin and speaking in a soothing voice.
- Panting can help your dog become relaxed. Just like humans tend to slow their breathing when they feel calm, dogs do too! If you want to see if this strategy works for your pup (and why wouldn’t you?), try taking some deep breaths with them. Then watch as their pace slows down even more than it already was!
3. Because They Are In Pain
If you notice your dog panting, it could be a sign that they are in pain. Panting is not just due to heat or exertion; it’s also a way for them to cool down their body temperature. If your dog is panting excessively, check for physical signs of injury or illness.
If your cat starts breathing faster than normal and showing other symptoms like drooling, vomiting and loss of appetite then this may be a sign that something is wrong with them as well. It could also mean that they’re feeling anxious about something so make sure you try talking calmly with them while giving them some space away from any potential triggers like loud noises or sudden movements in the area surrounding where they are sitting (like when someone comes into another room).
4. Because They Have A Fever
If your dog is panting, it could be a sign (or an early symptom) of a fever.
A fever is when a dog’s body temperature rises above normal levels. A fever can be caused by any number of things, including viruses or bacteria and other factors such as inflammation. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms, like vomiting or diarrhea. Fever itself isn’t necessarily dangerous for dogs—some are even able to fight off their bacterial infections without getting sick at all—but it does mean that they’re experiencing some kind of illness. If the fever persists for longer than three days and/or gets worse over time, you should see the vet and ask about suspected causes.
5. Because They May Have A Heart Problem
Heart problems are more common in large dogs and those with an inherited predisposition to certain conditions. However, heart disease can also occur in small dogs and even cats. Heart disease is often fatal if it’s not diagnosed early, so if your dog is panting excessively or has any other symptoms of heart disease, take him to a veterinarian!
Symptoms of heart problems include:
- Excessive panting (as described above)
- Lack of appetite
- Coughing up blood
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Physical Problems That Can Cause Panting
There are a number of physical problems that can cause dogs to pant, even when it’s not hot outside. Some of these include:
- Respiratory problems such as kennel cough, bronchitis, and pneumonia
- Allergies or asthma
- Heart problems such as congestive heart failure or aortic stenosis
- Obesity or being overweight
- Metabolic problems such as liver disease, kidney failure, diabetes, and Addison’s disease
- Neurological problems such as seizure disorders and epilepsy.
A number of these conditions are life-threatening without prompt veterinary attention. Some can be managed with medication or dietary changes, but only a veterinarian can diagnose them. If you notice that your pet is panting even when it’s not hot outside, call the doctor right away.
What to Do if Your Dog Is Panting Heavily?
If your dog is panting heavily, there are a few things you can do to help.
- Make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink
- If you are experiencing heat stroke symptoms, take your dog to a cool place indoors where they can rest and drink plenty of fluids
- If you think your dog has ingested something poisonous, take them to the vet immediately.
- If your dog is panting due to anxiety or excitement, try to relax them by speaking calmly and petting them gently.
When to See a Vet?
Dogs can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of common health problems.
Dogs pant for many reasons, and if you cannot figure out why your pup is breathing heavily it’s always best to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the problem and provide the necessary treatment. By being proactive and taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, you can help ensure that they live a long and healthy life.
Dogs pant for many reasons some of which are health-related and some of which are not
Dogs pant for many reasons, some of which are health-related and some of which are not. In this section, we’ll discuss the top reasons why dogs pant.
- Dogs may be hot, so they pant to cool themselves down.
- If you’ve ever been outside on a humid August day in Houston or Phoenix, you know how important it is to stay hydrated to keep yourself from overheating. And dogs can get dehydrated just like people do if they don’t have enough water available at all times when the temperatures rise above normal levels. Panting allows dogs to cool themselves down by transferring heat from their body into evaporation — but only if your dog is getting enough fresh water every day!
Dogs are amazing companions, they are loyal and loving. And they love us unconditionally. They deserve to feel happy, comfortable, and safe. If you think your dog might be panting because of any of these reasons or you’re still not sure about the underlying cause then it’s important for you to take them to a vet immediately