Dogs are surely lovable pets to be taken care of in your lifetime. They are your best partner especially when you take a walk, jog, or even a full run. They go with you no matter where your feet could take you.
As you halt and look closely at the dog on your side, you may have noticed its panting. Dogs pant a lot especially on a sunny day and it is normal. Weird as it seems but panting is their natural way of cooling down.
However, panting can also be a sign of something terrible, especially when it’s excessively observed. Irregular, unusual panting of your dog requires your parental heart as a pet owner. You might unconsciously find your self also panting after you learn these things. So, try to walk between the thin line of what is typical panting for the dog or not by reading further below.
Panting in Dogs
Panting is a type of rapid, shallow breathing that speeds evaporation of water from the dog’s tongue, and inside his mouth and upper respiratory tract. Dogs breathe with their mouth open and tongue somewhat protruding. Moderate to rapid open-mouthed respiration is a doggie behavior of lowering body temperature and getting enough oxygen in the bloodstream.
Dogs with their tongues out all the time might be quite disgusting for some, however, it could be one of their cutest assets. They sweat differently from their owners due to having an ineffective system of sweat glands located underside of their paws and within their ears. Consequently, they also cool themselves off in a different yet unique way given the sweat glands’ minimal cooling capabilities.
Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash
Their maximum way of cooling down is through panting. It allows the water and moisture to evaporate across the damp surfaces of the lungs, tongue, and surfaces within the mouth. In this process, the dog releases hot air from their lungs and eventually receives cooler air back.
Panting dogs, on average, can take 300-400 inhalations and exhalations per minute. It is 10 times their breathing rate of 30-40 per minute when non-panting.
The ‘Not Normal’ Panting
Panting can be prompted not normal when it has other reasons than canine heat dissipation. It can be observed by the following common manifestations:
- Appears excessive compared to the dog’s normal panting pattern
- Happens at inappropriate times (for instance, when the dog is not overly warm)
- Sounds raspier, louder, or harsher than normal
- Occurs with more effort of execution than normal
Abnormal panting, as researchers say, can be gravely caused by light to strong internal or external factors. Here are some of the negative causes of abnormal panting among dogs of any breed, shapes, and sizes.
Causes and Remedies of Abnormal Panting
Each abnormal dog panting needs initial or full proper remedies from the right, immediate individuals.
Heatstroke. Just like regular people, dogs are not exempted to be stricken by the cursing heat of the sun. As the body of the dogs absorb too much heat and trap it in their furs, the dogs cannot help but pant excessively. If you notice this, it can be a sign of heatstroke that needs a medical emergency. To avoid this, take your dog to a cool spot or head for cover immediately. When playing with your dog outside under the hot weather, see to it you bring water along for your dog to drink, too.
Fear, Anxiety, or Stress. Many dogs will abnormally pant once they sense and experience any opportunity that fosters an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, or stress. Events like fireworks, car rides, thunderstorms, vet visits, and the like trigger the dog to whine, hide, tuck its tails or even submit itself to reclusive behavior. If panting seems to be related to these negative feelings, it is best to remove the dog from the situation as soon as you can.
Poisoning or Allergic Reaction. Panting can also be a sign that something inside of your dog’s body is bothersome especially when you cannot think of any logical reason as to where the problem lies but on the inside. When accompanied by lethargy or vomiting, panting can be caused by poison being ingested or by an allergic reaction. Watch out for specific foods and medications.
Pain or Illness. Dogs often exhibit discomfort through panting before more obvious forms of pain namely pacing, limping, whining, loss of appetite, fever, or diarrhea. Also, look out for more serious conditions like heart disease, lung disease, anemia, and other life-threatening occasions. If you suspect these things, directly consult your vet.
Laryngeal Paralysis. The larynx is the opening of the windpipe. It contains cartilage flaps that operate like saloon doors- opening wide during breathing and closing during swallowing. With this kind of paralysis, one or both of the laryngeal cartilages can be affected and can fail to operate normally. Thus, it will result in the creation of turbulent, restricted airflow and panting accompanied with often raspier and louder sounding.
Cushing’s Disease. Cushing’s Disease is a hormonal imbalance that occurs primarily in middle-aged and older dogs. It is caused by the overproduction of cortisone (steroids) by the adrenal glands. One of the earliest and most common symptoms of this disease is excessive and inappropriate panting. Successful treatment of Cushing’s disease typically resolves the abnormal panting.
Cortisone (Steroids) Therapy. Treatment with any form of cortisone leads to Cushing’s disease. Many dogs receiving steroids demonstrate excessive and inappropriate panting that typically goes away within a few weeks after the medication is discontinued.
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Dogs don’t story tell pet owners what they are feeling from one moment to another, however, their body language shows. By understanding the cause of their panting, you can save your dog with the help of your expert vet friend. So, the next time your dog pants, think twice because it might be something that you have read above. Your dog’s life should be on top of your priority line.
About the Author:
Charles is a certified pet-lover who writes for Restorapet. He, together with his wife, enjoys doing volunteer work in various animal shelters at his city.