Why exactly do dogs pant? (5 causes & tips against it)

When can panting be a sign of pain? What can you as a dog owner do about it? That's exactly what you'll find out here! Also, for this article we have Advice from veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic obtained. So be curious!

panting
Article Overview

When we think of dogs, we may also think of the famous panting of our pets. Each of us has certainly observed this.

Sometimes this panting seems almost dangerous for the four-legged friend. If loud breathing is added to this, many dog owners become frightened. 

Basically, panting is part of normal dog breathing. Just as we get out of breath from time to time, this can also happen to our favorite on four paws.

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Meaning and symptoms

In dogs, regulation of body temperature takes place largely through the upper respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes the pharynx, nasal cavity, larynx and trachea. 

Unlike us humans, our four-legged friends have hardly any sweat glands on their bodies. The few sweat glands are located in the area of the paw pads and the nose leather. By panting, the animal gets fresh air into its body and thus cools down from the inside.  

Basically, this method is similar to our sweating. However, it is not as effective as it is for us humans. 

In any case, you should make sure that your pet has fresh water and a place in the shade. Thus, he can recover more quickly after strenuous activities. 

In the height of summer, don't go for walks and wild play adventures at lunchtime, preferring to wait until the cooler evening. 

Dogs themselves know quite well when they have had enough of playing, but the blazing sun is not good for the animal. 

Should you still want to go for a walk in the blazing sun, you must make sure that your darling does not overexert himself. 

After the walk there must be plenty of water and shade. In addition, you should take a few short breaks so that your four-legged friend does not overexert himself!

Heavy breathing and panting explained

In the "dead space", which is from the mouth to incl. the trachea, much more air circulates through the mechanism of panting. However, this air does not reach the lungs. 

Thus, this process is not about supplying cold air to the dog, but about allowing liquid to evaporate through this continuous draft of air. 

Heat of evaporation is extracted during this process, as in our human sweating.

This causes the animal's body temperature to drop. 

When the temperature is in a normal range, the dog gets up to 30 or even 40 breaths per minute. 

If he exerts himself or is exposed to great heat, he reaches 300 or 400 breaths. This means that your protégé increases his breathing rate tenfold. 

Evolution has created a particularly effective system with this process! 

What makes this frequency possible now? 

There are two reasons for this: The saliva production is designed for the so-called "drooling", which we know too well from dogs. The tongue of the is not dried out, unlike it is the case with us humans. In addition, a dog breathes much more shallowly than humans do. 

Thus, hyperventilation does not occur in dogs during panting. A human being would not be capable of this number of breaths per minute.

Do large or small dogs pant more?

It is interesting to note that panting varies from dog to dog and especially from breed to breed.

Small dogs pant less, they have a smaller body volume. The temperature can therefore be brought under control earlier.

Large dogs have to pant much more, so that they do not overheat in the end. The drooling and panting are thus much stronger than their smaller counterparts.

Panting can become problematic when dealing with short-nosed dog breeds. These include, for example, the pugs. Breeding has produced a shortening of the respiratory tract, which is why the animal can no longer pant well. 

In hot weather or during intense play, you must pay special attention to the panting of this dog breed. During long walks, you should also watch your pug more closely.

Fear and pain the cause

Dogs can pant not only for the purpose of cooling, but also out of fear and nervousness. 

Some four-legged friends are incredibly afraid of thunderstorms or come with the Noise from fireworks not get along. 

The animals can get a real panic, which is easily recognizable by their widened eyes. Short-breathed panting is then usually also added. 

The panting itself is usually not a cause for concern, but you should still pay attention to why your pet is panting now. If it is fear, you should gently reassure him to be able to thus take the fear away a bit. 

Not only fears, but also Pain can be a reason for panting, especially in older quadrupeds. 

Restless panting for no apparent reason can thus be a sign of pain. Your pelt's body language is critical in determining whether it is true pain.fear or something else. 

If it comes to an excessive panting attack you should visit the vet in any case and clarify the matter!

Recommendation from the vet

You certainly know the panting of dogs, which usually occurs with intense drooling. 

Panting is completely normal in quadrupeds and is no cause for alarm. The animal manages to cool down its body temperature through this process. 

So after long walks, strenuous activities, wild play, or in the heat, it's perfectly normal for your dog to start panting.

It is important that you keep an eye on the animal and provide adequate shade and hydration.

Out of fear and nervousness, a dog may also start panting heavily. We can experience this in some dogs, for example, on New Year's Eve or during a thunderstorm. Calming the animal is critical in these moments. 

Panting can become dangerous in small dog breeds or when it occurs for no apparent reason.

In this case, it may be a sign of pain and you should see a vet in any case!

Examined by the veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Mag.med.vet. Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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