If you've ever found yourself gazing at your furry friend as they huff and puff like a mini locomotive, you're not alone. Dogs pant for a variety of reasons, some as commonplace as a squirrel darting by and others that might warrant a little more attention. In today's tail-wagging blog, we're digging deep into the age-old canine query: "Why is my dog panting?"
7 Reasons Why Your Dog Might Be Panting
The reality is that there's a whole number of reasons your dog may be panting, so we're delving into the 7 most common reasons.
1. Heat and Exercise
magine being wrapped in a fur coat on a summers day – you'd pant too, right?
Certain breeds like Pugs and English bulldogs are also more likely to suffer form heatstroke as they're less efficient at panting due to their short snouts, so it's extra important to be safe during summer days and not go OTT with the exercise.
"Biscuits", "Chicken", "Squirrel", three words that will have most pooches panting with delight. Panting can just be an expression of (over)excitement as adrenaline is pumped into their bloodstream, and will typically be accompanied by some yelps or whines. This kind of panting is typically shorter and shallower than for example heat-related panting.
3. Anxiety or Stress
Our canine companions can suffer from anxiety just like we do. Panting can be a sign of this stress, so keep an eye on the context. Thunderstorms, vet visits, and fireworks all being obvious factors. You'll likely notice other signs like trying to hide away, a lowered tail, avoiding eye contact and lip-licking (not the yummy kind) to help confirm it is stress causing the panting.
4. Pain, Pain Go Away
Dogs are champs at hiding pain, but panting could be their secret SOS signal. If your pup is panting suddenly and excessively, it's time to play detective and see if they're hurting somewhere.
5. Health Conditions
Dogs sometimes pant when they're feeling a bit under the weather, or due to an underlying health condition. Some such conditions include Anaemia, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (typically in dogs over ten years old), Cushing's Disease, respiratory disease, or heart disease. Typically these will be accompanied with other symptoms, so if you notice these a trip to the vet is best.
Just as medical conditions can cause panting, some medicines actually can too as a side effect. These include prednisone or other steroids.
7. Bun in the Oven
No, not literal buns. But if your lady pup is suddenly panting like she's been training for a marathon, she might just be expecting a litter of tiny tail-waggers. How exciting!!
Normal vs Excessive Panting
Let's clarify one thing: panting is as natural for dogs as barking at the mailman. But when does panting cross the line from normal to excessive? If your dog's panting seems out of sync with their activity level, the temperature, or their emotional state, it might be time to sit up and take notice. You can also look out for other symptoms which could indicate abnormal panting, for example lethargy, or loss appetitete. Some pooches like are more predisposed to conditions like heart disease
The final clue you can use to decipher if it's anything to worry about, is the rhythm of the panting. Long, deep pants? It's likely due to heat or exercise. Short, rapid pants? Could indicate it's just excitement.
Panting Excessively? Here's how to help
Seeing your dog panting excessively will trigger concern in any pet parent, however to best assist your dog it's important to keep cool, calm and collected. Here's your canine-calming game plan:
Stay Chill Yourself: Dogs are masters at picking up on your vibes. If you're calm, they're more likely to follow suit.
Hydration Station: Keep that water bowl full, especially during warmer days or after playtime.
Cooling Crusade: If it's a hot day, provide shady spots and even a kiddie pool for them to dip their paws into. You can also add ice cubes to their water for an extra cooling sensation.
Veterinarian Valor: If you're ever in doubt, don't hesitate to consult your local dog doc. They're the experts, after all!
- Scrumbles Calming Nibbles: Prevention is always better than cure, so if you know your pooch is a bit of a stress head keep a bag of our natural dog calming treats to hand. They're packed with naturally calming turkey, chamomile and lemon balm - pawfect for use during scary fireworks nights, before vet trips, or simply as a bedtime biscuits.
And that's that!
And there you have it, dear dog enthusiasts – the panting enigma unraveled, the mystery of the canine cooling technique unveiled. From "I'm a little warm" to "Let's play fetch until the sun sets," dogs have their own unique language of panting. So, next time you catch your pup breathing heavily, remember, they're just doing their best to navigate the world one pant at a time. Stay cool, keep your furry friend cool, and keep those tails wagging! 🐾