Dog on beach panting

Why Do Dogs Pant? (5 Reasons)

The only time you’ve ever seen your dog’s mouth that wide open was when she yawned. Dogs pant for a variety of reasons, most times because it’s the only way to alert us to a problem. Some are no more serious than the dog is hot, but others are indicative of a problem. 

1. Cooling Off

Dogs don’t sweat like people sweat. They’re covered in a fur coat 24/7/365. They can only sweat through panting, although they do sweat a little through the pads of their paws. Panting circulates air throughout their bodies. They always need lots of water and shade. 

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A dog on a leash panting

2. Heatstroke

Heatstroke is something to worry about. If a dog is panting heavily and for a protracted period of time, get her to a vet. This is especially necessary in older dogs. Walk dogs during the cool of the evening or early morning. Make sure they are never left in a hot car during the day. It only takes minutes for them to die in those circumstances. 

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3. Fear or Happiness

A dog will pant when he fears something. Many times loud thunderstorms, groups of loud people, or things like vacuum cleaners or lawnmowers whose sounds they don’t understand will make them pant heavily with fear. The other side of that coin is joy, happiness, or excitement. When dogs see people they love, encounter places they enjoy or see treats or toys they love, then they will pant with happiness.

Dog panting in the forest

4. Allergic Reaction or Poison

Many dogs will become lethargic, begin to vomit, as well as pant to show their owner something is wrong. If he’s on medicine for some reason, pay special attention. Get him to a vet when this happens, because something serious is wrong. 

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5. Serious Illnesses

If the dog begins to pant for no reason at all, it could be indicative of something serious like heart disease, obesity, pneumonia or other respiratory problems, epilepsy or diabetes and/or other serious illnesses. Get him to a vet pronto. 

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Last update on 2020-01-18

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