The Top 5 Reasons Dogs Pant

A French Bulldog panting

Although it may appear that your dog is panting without cause, panting is a typical dog activity that always has a purpose. You must think about other potential circumstances for your dog at that time in order to determine the cause of your dog's panting, which may be extreme or occurring at night. Are they worried? Hot? Dehydrated? Discover the typical causes of dog panting so you can respond effectively.

What Is Panting in Dogs?

A typical dog and puppy habit that reduces body temperature and introduces oxygen to the dog's circulation is moderate to fast open-mouthed breathing. The mouth is open and the tongue is slightly projecting as the panting dog breathes.

As a cooling strategy, panting is required since dogs lack an efficient system of sweat glands similar to how people do. Instead, dogs use the evaporation of saliva and tongue moisture as well as the exchange of heated air from their lungs with colder outside air to cool their bodies.

Not to be mistaken with laborious breathing is panting. The hallmark of labored breathing is forced breathing, which may be accompanied by noises of discomfort like sobbing or whimpering or whistles coming from the nose or windpipe as a result of obstruction.

Common Reasons for Panting

Your dog or puppy may be panting for one of these five reasons.

To Cool Off

Dogs will pant after exercising even if they are not overheated. Similar to how people breathe deeply when engaging in aerobic exercise. However, because dogs don't sweat as people do, panting serves as their main method of cooling off. Although dogs do occasionally perspire from their paw pads, this is insufficient to keep them cool. Instead, dogs use their jaws to chill down.

Dogs may discharge heat by panting and exchange it for colder air. This is not a particularly effective technique, as you might expect. Even less effective is it for dogs with short faces (like bulldogs or pugs). Dogs begin to pant as soon as they even begin to get somewhat heated. A dog's panting gets worse as the temperature rises. Drooling, tongue and gum redness, and excessive panting can occasionally occur together.

The warning indications of overheating include intense panting, wide eyes, a bright red tongue, and weak muscles. Take precautions to avoid overheating by and limiting heat exposure. Always take precautions to keep your dog safe when it becomes hot outside. Because automobiles may quickly get more hotter than the ambient temperature, never leave a dog alone in one. If in doubt, take your dog to the veterinarian for care.


Panting will not adequately cool a puppy when the ambient temperature is equal to or greater than the puppy's typical body temperature of 102° F, and this might result in heatstroke. Digging is another tactic hot pups may use to find cool areas to relax.

Excitement or Stress

Panting might not be related to body temperature. Many dogs will pant in times of stress, worry, or terror. Examples include driving, watching fireworks, feeling lonely, going to the vet, and other stressful situations. To assist you identify whether your dog is displaying indications of fear or any other sort of discomfort, pay attention to your dog's body language. You may reduce these occurrences by identifying the source of your dog's fear or anxiety. The best course of action is to remove your dog from the situation as quickly as you can if panting appears to be a sign of stress, worry, or fear.

Many Dogs Pant When They Play

Your dog's panting might just be an expression of delight. If so, your dog's other body language will demonstrate this joyful state of mind. Usually, the tail will be wagging in a cheerful manner. The physique and characteristics of your dog will be considerably relaxed. The eyes will seem cheery and lively. The panting will lessen and finally stop after things have calmed down. A comfortable, satisfied dog will often have an open mouth, bright eyes, and continue to mildly pant. In fact, a lot of people think of this as a dog smile.

Pain or Discomfort

Dogs are often skilled at concealing their suffering from people. Dogs vary in how hard they attempt to mask their distress. But when they get to a certain point of discomfort, they frequently can't help but exhibit indications, such panting. Other symptoms of illness or pain to watch out for include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, limping, pacing, and changes in behavior. If you think your dog may be ill or wounded, call your veterinarian right away.

Anytime you notice your dog panting vigorously and for no apparent reason, you should take him to the local vet clinic right away. Always err on the side of caution and have your veterinarian examine the situation.

Physical Problems

These are just a few of the possible reasons why your dog may be panting:

  • Dogs with a high fever may pant to help lower their body temperature.
  • Medications given by the veterinarian may increase respiration or prompt panting.
  • A very full stomach or , sometimes in preparation for vomiting. This can be an emergency and your pet should be evaluated immediately if they are vomiting or dry heaving.
  • , a condition caused by excessive production of the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause excessive panting.
  • , a condition where the muscles that open and close the larynx at the back of the throat are weakened or paralyzed, is another cause of panting. This condition is more common in older medium to large breed dogs such as Labrador retrievers. The panting is often accompanied by a high-pitched wheezing noise known as stridor.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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