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

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby 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,

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