Dogs can’t sweat through their skin, so they use panting as a natural way to get rid of body heat. Hence why it’s normal to see dogs panting more heavily on summer temperatures. However, some dogs can experience severe panting which can be a sign of an underlying physical or emotional condition.
Why do dogs pant?
Panting is a normal process in which dogs make short quick breaths through their mouths, in order to evaporate water from their body. They exchange the hot air of their lungs with fresh cold air from outside. This process is known as ‘dog’s sweating’ and helps dogs to cool down. Besides, it can also be a natural response when dogs are excited or energetic since these states can increase their heart rate.
However, many dog parents ask themselves: when is it abnormal?
The answer is pretty simple. Pay specific attention if panting:
Appears out of nowhere: It’s very different if your dog is panting after coming back from a long walk or a play sesh while it’s 90°F outside than if he’s just lying on the floor panting heavily for no apparent reason.
Comes accompanied by other symptoms: Restlessness, disorientation, loss of appetite, and coughing. If panting is normal, it should not come together with any of these symptoms.
Sounds louder or harsher than normal: If your dog pants heavily and you can hear the noise from another room, he might need a check-up.
Lasts longer than usual: Some dogs pant more than others, and that’s okay. It’s important for you to get acquainted with your dog’s panting pace and how much it usually lasts, to check if there is any abnormality.
Why do dogs pant abnormally?
The causes can vary widely.
- Stress and anxiety: If your dog suffers from anxiety (due to separation, loud noises, or stressful events) he can agitate and pant even in quiet moments. He might also be restless and uneasy. You can try our Hemp Calming Treats for dogs, to help relieve stress and relax muscles.
- Fever: As we’ve mentioned before, panting helps dogs lower their body temperature. Thus, many dogs pant when they have a fever, as it helps recover their normal body temperature. You can read more in our blog How to tell if my dog has a fever?
- Full stomach: Always check the amount of food you are giving to your pup. If your dog is stuffed with food, his heart rate can increase and he will probably experience some trouble breathing normally. Like if he had run a marathon, but a food one!
- Respiratory problems: Pneumonia, bronchitis, allergic reaction, or BOAS (a.k.a Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, a very common condition among dog breeds with flat face and squashed nose) can cause difficulty breathing, and hence, heavy panting.
- Pain: When dogs pant because of pain, it usually comes together with whining and moaning sounds that express discomfort.
If your dog is experiencing heavy and abnormal panting, please consult your vet straight away.