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Excessive Panting in Dogs

 Submitted by Michael Adams on April 16, 2010

Panting is a natural and normal process in a dog. Dogs use this technique to cool their bodies down. Because dogs do not sweat, panting is the method that they employ to cool themselves down.

Panting is normal in dogs as they run about and expend energy. Your dog may also pant a little bit when moving around normally during the day.

Panting is also a reaction to heat and you will notice your dog panting during summer days than at other times.

This is also perfectly normal. There are also certain breeds of dogs that tend to pant more than other breeds of dogs. Pugs and Bulldogs are examples of these breeds. You may also notice that certain breeds, like Golden Retrievers tend to pant excessively in the summer. This is because they have a thick layer of hair on their bodies which causes the body to heat up. Your dog may also be thirsty when he/she is panting, and again, this is normal.

However, if your dog has not been running around and is panting heavily while simply sitting idle, there may be an underlying problem. Excessive dog panting is essentially a reaction to a lack of cooling, tiredness or a lack of oxygen being absorbed into the system. Therefore, excessive panting can be used as a symptom for diagnosing problems that your dog is facing.

The first thing that you can suspect is a fever. In humans, we tend to sweat when we have fever which is the body’s natural cooling mechanism to get our temperature under control. The same is the case with dogs as they tend to pant to cool themselves down. In such a case, you can give your dog a cool bath or sponge it down with cool water. Do not use excessively cold water for this.

Excessive canine panting is also indicative of more serious health issues. A respiratory problem may be responsible for this. Once again, as in humans, if the dog’s respiration is blocked due to a cold, your dog may pant in order to breathe effectively. There may be other infections in the respiratory system that are causing your dog to pant excessively. Panting may also be linked with heart disease. This may also be linked with low energy levels and drooping eyes. Your dog may also cough and be unable to perform normal tasks that involve a physical effort, like climbing up onto the sofa. When you note any of the above symptoms, visit your vet for a diagnosis.
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