Panting is a typical doggy behaviour.
It’s normal for dogs to pant, especially when they’re hot, excited, or feeling extra energetic. Dogs will pant from exercise and lots of movement as a way to cool themselves off because they don’t sweat the way that humans do. Dogs do sweat a little bit from their paw pads, but this is not enough to sufficiently to cool them off.
Panting allows dogs to release heat in exchange for cooler air. The hotter the dog becomes, the more intense the panting. Most of the time, panting is nothing to be concerned about, but there are a couple of scenarios that you need to be aware of.
If you do notice that your dog is panting excessively, they could be experiencing heat stroke. Heatstroke can be fatal, so you should always keep an eye on dogs during extensive exercise and extreme temperatures.
It is important to always make sure that they always have access to fresh water and shade to help the cooling down process if needed. Sometimes certain breeds such as working dogs (border collies, kelpies) will become obsessed with the task at hand, (eg. Chasing a ball) and overheat themselves. Always monitor your dog’s behaviour when playing games such as fetch and give them little breaks in between games to help them cool off and have a drink of water so that they don’t overextend themselves.
Another reason that dogs pant can be caused by stress or anxiety. Termed ‘behavioural panting’ this type of panting can usually be seen with some of the following symptoms alongside it:
- repetitive yawning
- licking lips
- excessive salivating
You may see this type of panting if your dog is scared or stressed about something like thunderstorms, Fireworks, vet visits, car rides etc. Where possible, it’s best to remove your dog from a situation if you noticed stress/anxious panting. There are some great supplements and anxiety solutions on the market to assist your dog in becoming calmer. For fireworks and thunderstorms something as simple and quiet dark room with you sitting nearby can be all they need.
Another reason for heavy panting can be illness. Dogs can be pretty good at hiding pain and discomfort from humans. Once they reach a certain level of pain and discomfort, they cannot help but show signs, such as heavy panting, lack of appetite, lethargy, coughing and vomiting are also signs of possible illness. If you notice this sudden change of behaviour in your dog, it is best to consult a vet.
Speak to the pet expert at your local Just For Pets independent store, they have a range of solutions to aid with stress and anxiety in your pets, otherwise speak to your Vet for further tips and solutions. You might be surprised to learn how common stress and anxiety is in our pets!