Why Do Dogs Pant?

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.

About author

Erin Gleeson

Erin Gleeson is the Outreach Specialist at 1-800-PetMeds® and works with the 1-800-PetMeds Cares donations program. She has loved animals as long as she can remember and has worked in several veterinary offices in the past as a veterinary technician. She has one cat, Kitsy, and frequently fosters kittens for a local rescue group. You can also find Erin on Google+.

There are 2 comments

  • […] 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. […]

  • Jennie Demmons says:

    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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