Posted 7 months ago ago
Panting can be a completely normal habit in dogs. Unable to regulate their own temperature, they do it as a way of cooling themselves down.
It’s also pretty common after exercise, just like us humans need to catch our breath after physically pushing ourselves.
But while panting following exercise or after enjoying a long afternoon walk may be completely normal, panting excessively without any obvious reason could be a sign that something is wrong.
There are many reasons why dogs pant, paying attention to your dog’s overall health and behaviour can help you determine whether or not you should be concerned.
Some serious, some not so, here are nine reasons why dogs pant.
1. Cooling down
With their fur meaning they are unable to sweat through their skin, dogs are unable to regulate their temperature. They are able to sweat through their paw pads but only a limited amount, not enough to cool them down. Instead they pant which cools them down by circulating cool air into their lungs.
Heavy panting could be a sign that your dog has been unable to cool themselves down and are suffering from heatstroke. Other symptoms of overheating include excessive thirst, glazed eyes, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. Get your dog somewhere cool as soon as possible and get them a drink.
To avoid heatstroke, during the summer months try and take them for a walk earlier in the morning or later in the evening, avoid the midday sun.
3. Allergic reaction
If your dog has accidentally disgusted something it shouldn’t, this could trigger an allergic reaction, especially if it is something poisonous to dogs such as chocolate, rat poison or slug killer. Panting is a sign of a bad reaction.
Your dog could also have an allergy to medication so if they’re taking something new, make sure you keep a close eye on them.
Obesity in dogs can cause them to pant excessively. If you think your dog may be overweight then ask your vet for advice. Obesity in dogs can cause other health complications such as arthritis and heart failure.
Just like us humans, our bodies can display physical symptoms when we are stressed, the same can be said for dogs. If they’re feeling scared or anxious, you may also notice other symptoms such as yawning, pacing, whining, licking lips, shaking or hiding.
6. Respiratory illness
If your dog is suffering from any condition that makes breathing difficult, you may notice them panting more than usual. These conditions can include lung tumours and pneumonia. Look out for symptoms such as fever, difficulty breathing and coughing. If you are concerned then you should definitely take them to the vets.
It’s not always easy to spot when your dog is in pain, they are pretty good at hiding it. But if you notice them panting, particularly if it is out of the ordinary, it could be because they are in pain.
8. Heart problems
Dogs that are experiencing heart problems such as heart failure may pant excessively for no apparent reason. They may struggle to catch their breath if there is a lack of oxygen being circulated around their body. You may also notice tiredness, coughing and general weakness.
9. Cushings disease
This usually occurs in middle-aged and older dogs and is a disease caused by adrenal glands causing too much cortisol. Other signs include your dog eating, drinking and urinating more often.
Another cause for concern for dog owners is when their dog stops eating. Here are nine reasons why they could be off their food.