Everyone has seen a dog panting with its mouth open, tongue lolling. The most common reason dogs pant is to stay cool and regulate their body temperature. Panting moves air rapidly across the surface of the tongue, creating a cooling effect.
Dogs aren’t able to sweat through the skin, except through their paw pads, which is why your dog’s feet may feel damp when they are stressed. Since panting is not an efficient method of cooling, it is important to make sure your dog does not overheat. Always ensure your dog has a ready supply of fresh, cool water and access to a cool, shady spot in warmer weather.
Other triggers which may cause your dog to pant include exercise, anxiety, excitement, or stress. Brachycephalic breeds, that is, dogs with broad, short skulls, often pant more than other breeds.
Be aware that panting excessively may mean your dog is in distress. Get familiar with how much your own dog pants in various situations. Should you notice a marked change such as excessive panting, discuss this with your vet.