Dogs Panting: Why Does Your Pooch Do It?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Tongue hanging out; drool hitting the floor – they’re the telltale signs of dogs panting. Your pooch does it when he’s hot – but there are other reasons why dogs pant.

As any experienced dog owner knows, dogs can sometimes do some pretty silly things – things that seem to have no purpose at all. If you take the time to examine these seemingly strange behaviors, however, you may come to find that there is a good reason after all. This is the case for panting – it may seem like a strange behavior to you, but there is a very good reason for it. Keep reading to learn more about dogs panting.

Related: How To Spot True Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Why Do Dogs Pant?

You can learn a lot about how your dog is feeling just by watching his body language. Though his behaviors may not always make sense to you, your dog has a good reason for everything he does. Dogs panting, for example, is a completely natural behavior for dogs and there are many different things that can trigger it – here are some of the most common:

  • He is hot. The most common reason for dog panting is heat. Your dog doesn’t have sweat glands all over his body like you do – he can only sweat through the pads on his feet. So, when he gets hot, he pants to help cool himself off.
  • He is having trouble breathing. Brachycephalic breeds (short-faced breeds) like the Pug and Bulldog have a tendency to pant because they have trouble taking in enough air through their noses.
  • He is nervous. When a dog is nervous he might pant or yawn. If your dog is panting for this reason you may notice other changes in body language such as a hunched position, tail between the legs, and ears flat against the head.
  • He is content. Sometimes your dog may pant for no reason at all other than he is perfectly content. Panting is simply a normal behavior for some dogs.
  • He is in pain. Panting can sometimes be a sign of a health problem in dogs, so if your dog starts panting and you don’t know why, check him for injuries to be safe.

Now that you know some of the underlying causes for dogs panting, you may be wondering if any of these causes are something to be worried about. Keep reading to learn more.

Related: How to Quickly Cool Your Dog Down

Do You Need to Be Concerned?

If your dog ever starts to exhibit a new or strange behavior and you don’t know why, it is definitely something you should look into. Your dog can’t verbally communicate with you when something is wrong, so you’ll have to learn how to read his body language and get a sense of what is “normal” for him so you can tell when something changes. If your dog is panting and it isn’t hot enough to warrant the behavior, take a closer look to see what might be causing your dog to pant. If you can’t identify any source of stress or nervousness and the behavior continues, you may want to check in with your veterinarian, just to be safe.

The more time you spend with your dog, the more you’ll get to know his personality as well as his normal behavior. If your dog suddenly changes or starts acting strange, don’t delay in seeking veterinary assistance – it simply isn’t worth the risk to ignore the warning signs of a potential problem.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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