Why Do Dogs Pant? + How to Know If It's Too Much | Pupford
August 21st, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
If you look at our Instagram account on a #TongueOutTuesday, you know we love a good puppy tongue! But sometimes we get to see those floppy little tongues when our dog is panting, leaving us wondering, why do dogs pant?!
And it raises other thoughts like if we should be concerned, or why they’re doing that, or if they’re panting too much.
We get asked about this topic a lot, so we thought we’d dive into it a bit and answer some frequently asked questions.
Here's what we will cover:
- Why Do Dogs Pant?
- How Do I Know if My Dog is Panting Too Much?
- Is Panting A Sign of Anxiety or Stress?
- Do Dogs Pant More When They Get Older?
Now let’s get right to it, starting with 👇
Why Do Dogs Pant?
In short, panting is how dogs regulate their body temperature. Our furry friends can’t sweat through their skin as we can, so they have to rely on pushing cool air through their upper airway to cool their whole body.
It makes sense that there are so many questions around dog panting since there are a number of scenarios where it happens.
Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons dogs pant:
- Toxic or allergic reaction
- Illness or disease
Let's look at each one below. 👇
Some breeds like pugs and bulldogs pant more because of their short snouts.
It makes breathing a little easier for them, especially when they are active.
You might notice your dog pants after exercise or when they play (just how you and I sweat more when exercising).
Typically they’ll just need a break and some cool water to stop.
NOTE: If you think your dog is experiencing severe heatstroke, a reaction, or an illness, please contact your veterinarian immediately!!!
Toxic or Allergic Reaction
If this happens, get in contact with your vet or poison control immediately!
Illness or Disease
Some conditions can cause panting, like arthritis, heart disease, , obesity, .
Most of the time though, panting is natural, normal, and nothing to worry about, so don't freak out when your dog pants after reading that line above!
However, it could be a sign that your dog is uncomfortable because of an underlying condition, especially if the panting seems to increase for what seems like no reason.
It’s important to know when panting is abnormal so you can address the situation quickly.
That brings us to our next question ⤵️
How Do I Know if My Dog is Panting Too Much?
Of course, some dogs will pant for a short period of time, but if it's prolonged panting while indoors and resting, that can be a sign of problems.
Panting at Rest
Similarly, if your dog wakes up in the middle of the night panting, or begins panting without physical activity, this would be considered excessive panting.
Panting With a Cough and Other Mouth Abnormalities
If your dog is coughing, hacking, or having difficulty breathing, panting may be an attempt to regulate the respiratory system because of a serious condition.
Basically, if you wouldn’t find yourself sweating if you were in your dog’s position, panting can be considered abnormal.
Is Panting A Sign of Anxiety or Stress?
You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t mentioned anything about anxiety or stress yet, and that’s on purpose. This is such a commonly asked question that it deserves to be addressed in its own section.
When your dog is distressed, they release an excess of a hormone called cortisol. High cortisol levels can cause panting, among other things.
If you notice panting when there are thunderstorms, fireworks, other loud noises, sudden movements, or your dog is adjusting to a new family member or house, stress is likely the cause.
Why Do Old Dogs Pant More As They Age?
If you have a senior dog, you might notice that they tend to pant a little more than their puppy counterparts. Given the reasons why dogs pant, this makes sense.
As dogs get older they tend to get overheated more easily and have less stamina than when they were younger. So naturally, they’ll need to regulate their body temperature more than a younger dog would.
But it’s important to pay special attention to panting in older dogs.
They are more prone to the serious medical conditions we discussed earlier -- remember, panting is typically the first sign of discomfort.
Older dogs are also more prone to nervousness and anxiety because their senses lessen as they age.
Why Do Dogs Pant Recap
Remember, if your dog is cool, resting, and has plenty of water yet is still panting, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
But in most cases, panting is a completely normal thing that dogs do!
Hopefully, that answered your questions about dog panting.
Have any other questions we didn’t address? Drop them in the comments below!