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Why do dogs pant?

 by lucy on 30 Nov 2016 |
1 Comment(s)
Dogs pant when they’re excited, scared, and even when they get too hot. It’s a normal physiological function for our pets, but too much panting can be a sign something’s wrong. To determine whether Fido’s heavy breathing is natural or if it’s a symptom of a larger health issue, pay close attention to what’s causing your pet to pant.
Unlike humans, who sweat when we heat up, dogs cannot release moisture through their skin. With their thick coats, our canine companions need a way to cool off, so they turn to panting. Breathing quickly circulates air throughout dogs’ bodies, resetting their thermostat to a lower temperature. This not only cools dogs down after a game of Frisbee in the park, but allows our canine companions to lower their body temperatures on hot summer days or in heated rooms. If your dog is seeking out shade and cool spots in the house, his panting is most likely a response to temperature.
Heaving breathing can also indicate your dog is excited or nervous. He may start panting suddenly during a thunderstorm, for example, and could exhibit other signs of stress such as whining, pacing, lip licking, trembling, or repetitive yawning. This type of panting is a short-term response to a stressful event and allows our pets to prepare to fight or take flight, if necessary. Longer-term, chronic fear can cause your dog both physical and emotional distress, however, and should be addressed with your veterinarian’s help.
The real cause for concern arises when a dog begins panting excessively for seemingly no reason. If your pet has taken a break after exercise and continues to pant heavily, he may be experiencing heat stroke. Especially common in older dogs, heats stroke can damage a pet’s organs and even cause death, so it’s crucial to move your dog to a cool spot and seek veterinary help immediately. Panting can also indicate poisoning or a severe allergic reaction that is hampering your dog’s ability to breath. If you suspect this is the cause of your dog’s heavy panting, call your veterinarian immediately. If you know what your dog ate, you can also call a Pet Poison Hotline to find out the level of risk your dog is facing after eating something he shouldn’t have. A sudden onslaught of unwarranted panting can signal more long-term medical issues, too, from obesity to heart and lung disease, anemia, Cushing’s disease and other disorders.
Remember, panting is a normal response for dogs that are hot or feeling stressed. Bring plenty of water along on walks and don’t worry unless your dog starts panting for seemingly no reason. If you cannot diagnose the cause, make an appointment with your veterinarian ASAP.


Maril - Comment
Maril01 Dec 2016Reply
Very helpful article! My brother-in-law was just asking me this the other day. I knew some of it, but some was new!THANK YOU!??

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