Why is My Dog Panting
Panting can be a very normal action for dogs and puppies! Although this can be normal, it’s important to know that there is always a reason your dog is panting. Dogs pant when they’re hot, when they exercise, and when they’re excited. While these are all normal reasons your dog may pant, it’s important to know when an issue may be more serious than you think.
What is Panting?
Panting is a normal phenomenon that dogs experience that helps regulate their body temperature through open mouthed respiration, and assists with getting oxygen into the bloodstream. When dogs do this, you will typically see them with their tongue hanging out, and them breathing mildly heavier. Since dogs do not have sweat glands, and this is their method to reduce body temperature after they get warmer. Normal panting is something dogs do starting at a young age, so get to know your dog’s regular panting behaviors so you will be able to know if the panting is irregular or not.
What Type of Pant is Considered Abnormal?
Dogs typically take 15 to 30 breaths per minute at a relaxed state. Although this can be different for each dog, always be aware of your dog’s normal breathing rates, so you’ll always know if something is off or not. Some other forms of abnormal panting would be if your dog was taking a lot longer than usual to cool down after exercise, or maybe they’re acting hot in an air conditioned, cool room.
Common Reasons a Dog Pants
Listed below are the main reasons for dog panting:
A dog may begin to pant when they know they’re about to eat, or maybe if they know their favorite human is about to come home. Dogs will even pant when they’re excited about playtime, whether with a human friend or a dog friend. In this case, this is typically very normal.
When dogs anticipate something scary is about to happen, you may see your dog begin to pant. Sometimes you’ll see this during a car ride, or maybe every time you go out in public. This could mean your dog is overstimulated. You’ll be able to diagnose this by looking closely at your dog’s body language to see if there are any other signs of stress associated with the panting. If you’re suspicious that the reason for your dog panting all the time is due to anxiety, it may be best to hire a trainer to brainstorm ways to reduce anxiety in your dog’s day to day routine.
To Cool Off When They’re Hot
Like mentioned earlier, panting is normal while dogs start to cool off. Always make sure your pup is properly hydrating and limit exposing them to temperatures that are too high for long periods of time.
More Serious Reasons for Panting
Listed below are serious reasons for dog panting:
This can happen at any time, and must be something that all pet parents watch out for. Heatstroke can be very dangerous and at times fatal if you don’t act quickly. Some common signs of heatstroke would be red and swollen gums, excessive panting, excessive thirst, glazed eyes, and a speedy heartbeat. Since dogs don’t sweat, the ability to continue to pant is crucial so your dog can continue to regulate their temperature. This is why you never want to leave your dog in a hot car, or leave your dog outside too long in the summer days.
Excessive panting can be a sign that your dog has an underlying heart or respiratory issue, such as a tumor or possibly congestive heart failure. If your dog is showing signs of excessive panting paired with coughing and a general struggle to breath during basic tasks, get your dog to the veterinarian right away.
If you believe your dog got into something they shouldn’t have, call your vet right away. Signs of an allergic reaction in dogs can pertain to excessive panting, drooling, itching, swelling, or they may become lethargic. You may also see discoloration of the gums, and other gastro issues like vomiting. A simple elimination diet can help you figure out if food allergies are playing a part, or an allergy test to learn if environmental allergies are playing a part.
General Pain and Discomfort
Your dog may pant when they are just in pain. Dogs can’t communicate with humans to tell us when they’re hurt or when they’re uncomfortable. It’s important as pet owners that we look out for clinical signs ourselves. If you rule out a lot of these above problems and you’re still not sure what exactly is causing panting in your dog, it may be okay to get further testing done to see what else it could be. Dogs that have a high fever or an upset stomach may pant to lower their temperature, prepare for vomiting, or they may pant due to meditation given to the dog.
Obesity and Old Age
Dogs who are overweight may also be prone to excessive panting. With all that extra unnecessary weight on them, it can make normal day to day tasks a lot more challenging for your furry friend. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can solve this issue. Talk to your vet about the best type of diet for your dog, and the daily recommendation for strenuous exercise to get your pup back in shape. Being overweight can restrict oxygen flow throughout your dog’s body, therefore causing more panting throughout the day.
Old age can also play a factor as well. Being overweight AND being older can really put your dog at risk, so always keep this in mind as well as it can always be more difficult for an older dog to keep that weight low. Always make sure your older dogs stay hydrated, well fed with a nutritious diet, and in good shape.
Contact a Veterinarian if Your Dog is Panting
As you can see, there are many different causes for dog panting. As a pet owner, it is important to look out for these signs and to contact a veterinarian when needed. For more information, contact Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County by calling (772) 337-8570. Our animal hospital is here for your pet 24/7 and will always be there when you need us.