Have you ever wondered why your pup sits around panting heavily? Is it a simple quirk of our favorite four-legged best friends? Could there be another reason why dogs are often seen breathing hard, or panting? The answer is, yes – it is something quirky that dogs do. However, it could be something more serious as well. Here are several reasons why dogs pant hard.
Panting can actually happen for a number of reasons when it comes to our lovable canine friends. Most often, they are panting in order to help cool their body temperature down. Whereas humans cool down by sweating, dogs are unable to effectively cool themselves down this way. In fact, the only sweat glands on a dog are actually on their paw pads. So these animals instinctively make do by cooling themselves through their tongue, or rather by breathing in air to help cool off the massive amount of moisture in their mouth that feels cool and in effect, helps cool the dog off.
Panting does a great job of helping dogs regulate their internal temperature; however, some dogs more than others are at a disadvantage in controlling their body temperature. Dogs that have a flat face usually do not do well with extreme temperatures and actually have a more difficult time regulating their internal body temperature.
If there is an extreme change in temperature, or just plain sweltering heat, dogs can experience heat stroke. Heat stroke will cause aggressive panting because the dog is doing its best to regulate its temperature. However at this point the dog needs to get out of the heat into a cool place where it can rest and get plenty of fluids. It is also very important that its veterinarian is notified to ensure the dog recovers properly.
Serious Panting in Dogs
Panting is a natural process for dogs, one that is often second nature to these beautiful animals. However, heavy panting could be a sign that something else serious is in the works. If you are unable to settler your dog down by getting it out of the heat, it is a good idea to have your dog seen by a medical professional to rule out any other possibilities like a seizure disorder, or worse, lung and/or heart disease.
If panting becomes a persistent and intense behavior for your pup, make sure you take a precautionary step by having your veterinarian rule out scary possibilities for your dog’s hard breathing. Heavy panting really can be a sign of anything from regulating heat to poisoning to a respiratory disorder or even an injury. So remember the golden rule of thumb: an ounce of precaution can lead to multitudes of prevention. If your dog is constantly panting with an incessant drool or you see that your dog’s gums are a color other than red/pink or you believe your dog has injured itself and is in pain – do not delay, be seen right away. Otherwise, you may just want to get your dog into an air-conditioned room with plenty of water to relax and get cooled down.
Thanks to our guest author, Shannon Davis. Shannon is the assistant to veterinarian Susan Wright, DMV. Shannon writes articles to educate dog owners on dog dangers in and around the home.