Panting: Reasons Why Your Dog is Breathing Heavily

Chocolate dog panting in park

After a long hike or walk through the neighborhood, it’s normal for your dog to come home, grab a sip of water and start breathing a little heavier than normal. But has your pup ever started panting for seemingly no reason?

Especially if you have a young puppy, this is more common than many pet parents realize. In fact, it’s been dubbed by many as “puppy panting.” Panting involves heavy, rapid, open-mouth breathing as a way of lowering body temperature and getting more oxygen.

Common Causes of Panting

The Need to Cool Off

After spending a summer day in the park, it’s normal for dogs to pant as a way of cooling themselves off — panting allows dogs to release internal heat in exchange for cool air. Unfortunately, this isn’t the most effective method for cooling off, especially if they’re still outside in the heat. If you believe your dog is experiencing heat exhaustion or fatigue, you should bring them to a cool environment and give them plenty of water.

Playtime Excitement

Panting isn’t always a bad thing. Often, dogs will pant if they get excited during playtime. If your dog’s tail is wagging and they appear to have a “smile” on their face while panting, they’re likely having fun and there’s no cause for concern. Still, it’s important to make sure your dog takes plenty of breaks while playing or spends time calming down in a quiet place by themselves.

Pain and Discomfort

Dogs in pain can express their discomfort in many ways, with panting often being one. If you notice your dog is suddenly panting, look for other signs of distress like vomiting, diarrhea, limping, and wincing.

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