There are several reasons your dog pants and fortunately, the most common is absolutely normal.
When humans get overheated, we begin to sweat. It is the body’s way of regulating the body temperature: it helps cool you down. The sweat gland is a type of skin gland that secretes the sweat. Dogs only have glands that secrete sweat in their paws: you sometimes see wet pawprints because of this. Because they do not have sweat glands all over their bodies, dogs pant. This pushes the warm air out of their body and brings cooler air in. The drool in his mouth helps cool the air. Your dog is panting to cool down.
Although it is normal for dogs to pant, excessive panting can be a sign of heat stroke. In this case, you will notice that his mouth is open as wide as he can get it and his tongue is stretched all the way out. You may also see swelling in his tongue.
Dogs will often pant if they are in pain or if something traumatic has happened to them. Do not just assume he is in pain unless you see other symptoms. These could be limping, licking a part of his body, trembling, or moaning. Older dogs can develop conditions like arthritis that cause constant aching. If your dog is panting a lot (especially if it is happening even when he is not hot), you should check with your vet.
Dogs may also pant if they are having an allergic reaction or have eaten something toxic. This will probably be accompanied with vomiting, or other symptoms. This is the time to watch your dog carefully and contact your vet.
There are a variety of medical issues that dogs develop that may cause him to pant frequently. This includes heart problems, lung problems, and anemia, as well as hormonal problems. Obviously, all of these issues can be serious and have different treatments. Talk to your vet for diagnosis.
If your dog has a shorter snout you will probably see him panting often. Breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs have fairly short snouts and sometimes have problems breathing. The airways in their snouts are so compacted that they have trouble getting air through. This results in frequent panting. You should certainly discuss the situation with your vet. There are some surgeries that will correct the problem. Your vet can help you decide what is right.
· Normal panting: It is very common for dogs to pant and again, it is very natural. It is their body’s way of cooling itself down. When your dog has be exerting himself he will naturally begin to pant. He will usually lay down in a cool spot. Let him relax and give him access to plenty of water. He will recover and be ready to go again soon.
· Abnormal panting: Excessive panting can be an indicator of any of the more serious problems listed here. If you find your dog panting for no apparent reason or if he does not stop panting after rest you should contact your veterinary office immediately. They will be able to make an appropriate diagnosis and give you options for treatment.
You should always give you dog access to plenty of water. Pay particular attention when the weather is warm. Never leave your dog in a car (even with a window cracked) as he can become overheated very quickly. Just like you need to “baby-proof” your house, you also need to “dog-proof” your house. Be careful what foods you leave out (some are toxic to dogs) and keep chemicals away from him. Remember that some dogs are very curious, and some are very smart. They may be able to get cabinet doors open. Be safe!
If your dog is breathing very fast, chances are that it is his normal bodily response. His body is working to cool itself down. There are two keys to determine if his panting is normal: does it stop naturally and are there other symptoms. It is always safe to check with your vet if you are worried though.