All dogs do it, especially on a hot summer day or after physical exertion, as a form of thermoregulation. But, how does it work exactly? And what about the panting that occurs when neither of the above situations applies? Does it mean your dog is excited, stressed out, or sick? And is there any way that you can you help your furry buddy through it? Examining the circumstances is the only way for you to know for sure if your dog’s panting is normal and healthy or a sign of something concerning that should be checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any health problems.
The Root of the Behavior
Encouraging the Behavior
It is important to note that some breeds are physiologically predisposed to pant more than others. Brachycephalic breeds or flat-faced breeds such as Pugs and Boxers tend to pant more than other canines as they are built differently and are unfortunately at a greater risk of developing the aforementioned health issues. They require special attention from their owners and should be observed carefully for any changes in their breathing. The panting behavior should not be discouraged or encouraged as it is something that happens naturally in all dogs and can help identify your dog’s physical state as well as potential health issues. If your dog is panting, make sure to rule out anything that could be concerning. If it is hot or you just came back from a walk with your dog, make sure he has access to fresh water and some shade to rest. With time, the panting should decrease and stop. While the sound of your dog panting might not be the most pleasant sound to listen to, there is not really much you can or should do about it other than trying to be understanding. Remember that unlike you, your dog is always wearing a coat (of fur) that he cannot remove whenever it gets too warm or whenever he wants to play. Panting is his main way to cool his body down to prevent from overheating and therefore should not be discouraged.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Since dogs get rid of a lot of saliva through the process of panting, they require more water when they are hot to replenish what has evaporated, so make sure to have the water bowl full at all times, especially in the summer. If your dog’s panting was caused by vigorous playtime, make sure to limit his exercise so he has enough time to rest and cool off. Lastly, if it is not hot and your dog started panting suddenly and excessively without prior physical exertion, take him to the veterinarian. The same advice applies to dogs who pant constantly without pause or clear causes, as it is always best to be safe than sorry.
Panting is your dog’s primary method of thermoregulation and thus completely normal and healthy for your dog to do, especially after a walk, playtime, or during warmer weather. It is essential to be understanding of this natural behavior as well as observant as it may help in early detection of health problems in dogs.