Why Dogs Pant
In hot weather, dogs pant a lot. It’s also normal for a dog to excessively pant following exercise or when they’re excited. Panting is a dog’s way of cooling down and regulating their body temperature, but how do you recognise when dog panting is normal and when there’s a potential concern?
There are times you expect your dog to pant heavily. When a dog pants, water and heat found on a dog’s moist surfaces, such as their lungs and tongue, evaporates, allowing their temperature to return back to normal. If you’ve been on a long walk with your dog, it’s a particularly hot day or if your dog has been running around and playing, it’s completely normal for the dog to pant considerably until they cool down and their temperature regulates.
If there are no obvious reasons for your dog’s heavy panting, then it may be a sign of a serious health issue requiring veterinary assistance.
A dog may excessively pant when suffering from poisoning. Poisoning in dogs is most likely to occur following ingestion of a toxic substance. Be sure to learn what products and plants are toxic to dogs and be sure to keep your pooch away from any potential dangers.
Heatstroke is a dangerous condition for dogs and a sure sign of it is heavy panting. Be sure not to take them out in extreme weather or leave them locked in the car. Cool, fresh water and shaded areas should always be available for your dog during hot weather too.
Chronic illnesses in dogs often present themselves with heavy panting as one of the symptoms. A dog with heart failure may have difficulty breathing and so the dog will pant to try to take in more oxygen. Multiple respiratory disorders in dogs such as pneumonia may cause your dog to breathe heavily and pant. Cushing’s syndrome is another chronic illness which can cause heavy panting in dogs.
Excessive panting can also be a sign that a dog is injured or is in pain or it may be a side effect of any medication that your dog is taking. If your dog is on any medication and is panting heavily, check the side effects of the medication and speak to you vet to ensure the panting is normal.
In female dogs that are nursing, heavy breathing and deep panting can be a sign of eclampsia. An allergic reaction to a substance or a blockage in the dog’s airways may also present itself as heavy breathing and panting.
A dog that is fearful, stressed or anxious may also pant heavily as a way of expressing their worries. Try to keep a panicked dog calm. Remove them from any noisy or stressful situations and take them to a place where they feel secure and comforted such as their bed or to their crate. Reassurance works wonders, so give them praise and a treat and they should hopefully return to their normal, happy self soon.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s panting, then you should seek the advice of your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may be able to determine the cause of your dog’s panting with a simple examination or they may need to run tests and observe your dog’s panting over a period of time to see whether your dog has any serious underlying conditions that require treatment.
Panting in dogs can sometimes be difficult for an owner to understand the cause. Remember that dogs naturally pant when they are hot and excited, but any excessive panting that goes beyond this, may indicate a health issue that requires veterinary intervention.