Ask A Vet: Why does my dog pant?

Ask A Vet: Why does my dog pant?

You’ve probably noticed your dog panting regularly, and it’s nothing serious most of the time. Dogs usually pant to regulate their body temperature.

Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature using sweat as humans do. Instead, they pant to evaporate excess water from their mouth and the upper respiratory tract and circulate the cool air through their furry bodies. A dog panting is a relatively normal sign of being hot, excited, or even just taking a short breather from exercising.

As the atmosphere temperatures rise, so too do the panting of the doggos we see. We usually tend to pay no mind to this behavior simply because it’s considered so normal. But, it’s not always regular. Read below to find out if your pup’s panting is normal or should you be concerned?

Normal panting:

Dogs depend on panting as their prime means for expelling excess body heat. Panting allows the evaporation of heat and water across the moist planes of the tongue, lungs, and the areas within the mouth.

So it makes sense for a dog to pant following exercise or on a hot day. Dogs have sweat glands within their ears and on the undersides of their paws, but these glands have very minimal cooling capabilities.

Abnormal panting:

If your dog is panting more and heat dissipation is not the reason, it can be abnormal. Any of the following characteristics can recognize this type of gasping:

  • Your pup pants at unfitting times (when its body is not that warm)
  • When the panting is excessive compared to your pup’s regular panting pattern
  • Your dog exerts more while panting than normal
  • Your pup sounds louder, harsher, or raspier than normal

Why do dogs pant?

Following are some conditions that are considered abnormal:


Heatstroke is a deadly condition when a dog’s body temperature rises to a hazardous level. Quicker and heavier panting is one of the initial and common signs of heatstroke in dogs. Immediate action is needed to treat this condition since heat-related diseases can kill pets in as little time as 15 minutes!

Heart failure:

As a dog’s heart deteriorates, it is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The pups start to display several signs, like excessive panting, coughing, exercise intolerance, and weakness.

Respiratory illnesses:

Disorders in the respiratory system can also lead to breathing trouble in dogs, and one of the common signs is panting or heavy breathing. These disorders can include pneumonia, lung tumors, and laryngeal paralysis.


Anemia is detected when there’s a dramatic fall in the number of red blood cells in a body. And since these cells transport oxygen all around the body, anemia can cause oxygen deprivation. Which, in turn, results in the dog panting excessively to compensate.


Excessive panting in obese dogs is a sign that they’re straining to get fresh, oxygen-rich blood to their vital systems.

It is always a better choice to consult with your vet if you think that your dog is breathing or panting abnormally. 

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