Our dogs often display many behaviors that we sometimes get bothered or worried about. Many of these behaviors are instinctive and are necessary for the dog’s daily survival and wellbeing, including panting. Dogs pant to regulate their body temperatures, especially when they are hot.
Dogs pant for some reasons, including excitement, heat, pain, stress, medications, discomfort, and overheating. Dogs also pant when they want to play with their owners; they also pant so much when they have physical issues, including high fever, bloat, laryngeal paralysis, and Cushing’s disease.
Dogs are not like humans; they communicate mostly through body gestures, and as a pet owner, you must be able to know the significance of all its gestures.
Why Does My Dog Pant So Much?
As much as it is normal for your dog to pant, especially when it is hot, it could mean something else when it begins to get too much. You should pay more attention to the panting, especially when it is becoming louder than usual. You might need to take your dog to the vet for a checkup and treatment when it gets to that point. Below are some of the most common reasons for dog pants.
For many dogs, this is the main reason they pant. It is a way of helping them cool off whenever they feel hot. Unlike humans that sweat through their skin pores when we feel hot, dogs do not sweat on their skin. They sweat through their pads, which is not usually enough to cool them.
So, by panting, they inhale air which helps to increase evaporation of water from their nose and lungs, resulting in natural cooling off. While panting, your dog would likely lose a lot of water within a short time, so ensure your dog has enough water to drink. You can also help regulate your dogs’ temperature by placing wet towels around their body.
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If your dog continues to pant very hard, looking restless and uncomfortable during summer, the dog is likely overheating. The dog will be dehydrated during overheating, and it needs urgent care from a vet. If care is not administered timely, it might result in the dogs’ death within a few minutes.
If you cannot get a vet quickly, get the dog to a cool place and offer it some water to drink. That could help save the dog’s life and keep its temperature cool before proper care from a vet. The appropriate care would require the vet to offer the dog some fluids and run tests to determine damages in the dogs’ system.
Overheating can be prevented during hot weather by ensuring your dog gets enough water to drink, and you limit its exercise to very early in the morning or late in the evening when the weather is a bit cool. Also, if you are to go out with your dogs in the car, ensure they are never left alone without turning on the air conditioner.
The heat in a car could cause your dogs to overheat and could die within a very short time. This is why it is an offense to leave a dog in a locked car without turning on the AC.
Discomfort Or Pain
Dogs can hide pains or discomfort from their owners. However, when the pain gets intense sometimes, they cannot hide it any longer. If your dog pants at night when it is supposed to be resting, it might mean your dog is panting due to pain. It would be best if you took the dog to a vet immediately you notice this to determine the cause of the pain or discomfort and get proper treatment.
Asides from temperature or discomfort, emotions also cause dogs to pant. Whenever your dog is excited due to getting some nice treat from you, it could pant. This type of panting is often rapid, and you could notice your dog wagging its tail too. So, if you have seen this in your dog, rest assured, it is very normal, and there is no cause for alarm.
Have you noticed your dog suddenly panting some hours after you gave it a particular drug? If yes, then the drug is a likely cause why it is panting. The panting could be a side effect of taking such a drug. Steroids are a common medication that causes dogs to pant. You might need to talk to your vet about this if the panting becomes excessive.
Why Is My Dog Panting When Doing Nothing?
Panting is a way dogs release heat and get cool air, although it is not very efficient, especially for short-faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs. Most times, dogs do not have to engage in any activity to pant; there are several other reasons your dog pants when doing nothing. The most common reason is to cool themselves down, especially in hot weather.
The fact that panting is not fully efficient in cooling down dogs’ temperature is why they pant when they feel the slightest heat. Furthermore, the hotter the dog gets, the more intensive the panting. Another reason your dog pants without doing anything is to get both of you to something.
If your dog is ready to play, one of the ways it will tell you is by panting; the dog wags its tail while its facial and body features are relaxed. Once the dog is satisfied, it will reduce the panting and stop after a while. If a dog is panting mildly with bright eyes and a wide-open mouth, it is relaxed.
Another reason why your dog pants without doing anything can be health issues. If your dog has a high fever, the most effective way it can reduce its body temperature is by panting. A dog with a full stomach will sometimes pant to prepare for vomit; if this is the cause, you need to take the dog to a vet immediately.
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When Should I Worry About My Dog Panting?
As we have explained above, panting is a normal activity for your dog, and there are different reasons why dogs pant. It is not all the time when a dog pants that you should be worried. Sometimes, it is just doing it out of emotions or because it feels hot. You do not need to be worried about this, as the dog would stop panting by itself.
However, you need to be worried and call a veterinary doctor to analyze and treat the dog under certain conditions immediately;
- Your dog suddenly begins to pant without being hot, excited, tired, or stressed.
- If your dog seems to be panting due to pain.
- Your dog pants constantly, loudly, and the panting is very intense.
- Your dog’s gum or tongue appears white, purple, or blue. This requires intensive medical care because it shows that the dog is not getting adequate oxygen.
What Causes A Dog To Pant Excessively?
Excessive panting can be a symptom of milk fever or eclampsia; this is a medical illness that usually affects nursing dogs. The dog has low blood calcium levels that result in tremors as well as the inability to walk or stand. The dog takes noisily and wheezy breaths, resulting from infection, allergies, or irritants within the airways. Also, a dog in severe pain will pant excessively.
It is of utmost importance that you monitor your dog’s activity and normal behaviors; this is the only way you can tell them there is an issue. Everyone knows that dogs pant, but they must also know what the pants signify; the more intense the pant, the more worried you should be.
Further Reading: Why Does My Dog Fart So Much?