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Why Do Dogs Pant?
Posted by Abby Rosenberg on January 2, 2012
Filed under PetMeds Spotlight

Dogs pant to stay cool and regulate body temperature.

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.

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2 Responses to “Why Do Dogs Pant?”

  1. Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer | PetMeds.org on 21 Jun 2012 at 8:33 am #

    [...] Panting is a very inefficient form of cooling, so if you are hot, it’s likely that your pet is hot, too. One episode of heatstroke increases the likelihood of experiencing it again, so prevention is the best course of action. [...]

  2. Jennie Demmons on 26 Aug 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    My Chihuahua has started panting with his tongue out. Now we just lost another Chihuahua to death last week, has my Pedro ’s panting anything to do with this? They were very close. I’m probably being silly on this. But I am looking for another small dog to be Pedro’s companion.
    Thank you,
    Jennie

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