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Dogs pant as a cooling mechanism, especially after a long walk or a fun play session. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have an effective system of sweat glands, which can make it harder for them to cool down in warmer weather.
While panting is normal for happy and healthy dogs, heavy panting could be a sign of something more serious. To help you understand why your dog is panting, we speak to the experts to find out all you need to know. Take a look at their advice…
Why do dogs pant?
“Over the summer months, pets are susceptible to a whole host of health and safety issues, including dehydration, respiratory issues, overheating,” Caroline Reay, Chief Veterinary Surgeon at the Blue Cross, tells Country Living.
“But, unlike humans, dogs can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting to regulate their body temperature and keep cool — as well as laying in the shade and on cool surfaces to cool down.”
How do I know if my dog is panting too much?
It is very normal for a dog to pant regularly, but if your dog is panting too much it could be a sign of anxiety, fear or pain. If you notice your pup is panting more than usual, always head to your vet for expert advice.
“Panting lets a dog quickly inhale, humidify, then exhale the air, which increases the evaporation of water from your dog’s nose and lungs,” Caroline adds. “This process allows your pet to cool their body from the inside out, however, panting will also result in your dog becoming dehydrated, so always ensure that they have plenty of fresh water on hot days to drink and stay hydrated.”
Panting is a way for dogs to cool down quickly, so you may notice they do it more in the summer months. As owners, it’s important to know that dog panting can also indicate nausea, discomfort, and pain. Heavy panting is something to pay close attention to.
“Panting can be normal when a dog is hot, but if your dog is breathing noisily and rapidly at rest or minimal exercise then owners should cool their dog down and seek medical advice from a vet,” Caroline advises.
Yes, it can be a sign they are happy. Dogs will often pant when they are excited, happy or energetic. You may find that when you give your dog their favourite treat or ask to take them for a walk, their breathing will become heavier.
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