Panting is a sound that all dog owners are familiar with. Even if you don’t own a dog, you have probably encountered that heavy breathing sound. Panting is not uncommon, it is something that all dogs do. It is most commonly associated with dogs that are warm, or dogs that have been exercising.
Panting is something that we accept is normal for our dogs, and as a result we don’t really wonder why they pant. But, when you think about it, it is a rather strange behavior. After all, humans don’t really pant, and it is rare for cats to pant too. So, why do dogs do this?
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at reasons why your dog may be panting, and how to tell the difference between regular panting and abnormal panting. So, if you want to find out more, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
- Is It Normal For Dogs To Pant?
- Why Is My Dog Panting?
- How To Tell The Difference Between Normal And Excessive Panting
- When Should I Worry About Dog Panting?
Is It Normal For Dogs To Pant?
First things first, let’s establish whether, or not, panting is normal behavior. Well, as we have said, yes, it is normal for dogs to pant.
This is something that dogs have done for a long time. Panting is part of your dog’s physiology, and it is a natural bodily behavior. That is why dogs pant so often.
However, just because panting is normal for dogs, this doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be a concern.
All dogs pant. But there is a difference between a normal amount of panting, and excessive panting.
If you find that your dog is panting excessively, this could be a sign that there is a medical condition that your dog is suffering from.
But, generally, there is no need to worry about panting. As we have said, panting is usually associated with dogs that have been exercising, and dogs that are warm.
However, this doesn’t explain why dogs pant. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your dog may be panting.
Why Is My Dog Panting?
So, panting is typically associated with dogs that are warm and dogs that have been exercising. But, why do dogs pant?
Well, as you would expect, panting is associated with regulating temperature in dogs.
Human beings are able to regulate their body temperature through sweating, but this isn’t something that dogs are able to do.
As a result, they pant instead. This is why panting is associated with dogs that are warm, either through exercise or the temperature.
When a dog pants, it circulates cool air throughout their body which actively reduces body heat.
At the same time, panting evaporates water from the mouth and respiratory tract which also cools your dog’s body down.
This is why you will often notice that your dog pants more after they have been busy running around, or if the weather is warmer than usual.
However, dogs do not only pant when they are warm. While this is the most common reason for your dog panting, they can also pant when they are stressed or excited.
This is because these emotions trigger a reaction in their body that can increase your dog’s body temperature, leading them to pant, even though they are resting.
But, there are some circumstances where panting is abnormal. So, let’s take a look at how to tell the difference.
How To Tell The Difference Between Normal And Excessive Panting
As we have said, there is a difference between a dog that is panting as part of their normal behavior, and a dog that is panting because something is wrong.
Typically, dogs will pant when they are warm. Occasionally they will also pant if they are excited for something, or they are stressed about something.
You will usually be able to tell if this is the reason for panting as your dog will often be in an abnormal position (i.e., on the way to the vet’s office, or waiting excitedly for you to throw their new toy).
The main way you will be able to tell that your dog’s panting is abnormal is through the amount of panting that they are doing.
As you live with your dog, and spend a lot of time with them, you will become familiar with what is normal panting for them.
So, you will often be able to tell that your dog’s panting is abnormal because it is different from what you are used to hearing.
Typically, it will be more rapid, sound raspier or louder, and happen at inappropriate times. For example, when your dog is resting and there is no reason for them to be excited or stressed.
When Should I Worry About Dog Panting?
For most dog owners, their dogs are their babies. We love our dogs, and because of that, we look after them like they are our children.
So, when you observe that something isn’t right, it can be easy to worry. But, when should you worry about your dog panting? Let’s take a look.
Most of the time, there is no need to worry about your dog panting. Typically, dogs pant because they are hot.
So, if you can see a reason why your dog may be warm (i.e., they have been exercising, or it is a hot day), there is no need to worry.
You should only really worry about your dog’s panting if it seems abnormal or excessive.
One reason to worry about your dog panting is if they are panting excessively when resting (on a normal day). Panting is not normal behavior when a dog is resting, unless that dog is warm.
So, if there is no reason why your dog may be warm, then they could be panting because something is wrong.
Excessive and abnormal panting has been associated with cardiovascular disease, and Cushing’s disease. It can also sometimes be a sign that your dog has been poisoned.
So, if you notice that your dog is panting uncharacteristically, you should seek veterinary advice.
In short, dogs usually pant because they are warm. Panting is normal behavior in dogs because they are unable to sweat.
So, they pant instead in order to regulate body temperature. But, abnormal or excessive panting can be a sign that something is wrong with your dog.
So, if your dog is panting more than normal (and there is no reason for them to be warm), you should seek veterinary assistance.
Rapid or labored panting, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, should be taken seriously and evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.