One of the key characteristics that all dogs share is panting. This is where the dog opens its mouth, sticks out its tongue and begins taking quick shallow breaths. Normally a dog breaths about 30-40 times per minute, but this can increase to 300-400 times during panting. You may notice that dogs do this quite frequently, but have you ever wondered why they do it? Continue reading to find the answer to this question.
Why do dogs pant?
Basically speaking, dogs pant to keep themselves cool. Unlike humans, dogs have fewer sweat glands to keep cool. Instead, dogs pant to increase the airflow to their upper respiratory tract and as the air passes over the tongue it creates an evaporative cooling system. This process cools the blood vessels in the head area and keeps the brain cool. This is the best natural cooling technique available for a dog. This is why you may notice a dog panting on a hot day or after exercising.
To help your dog remain comfortable in extreme heat you should provide them with lots of water. The more water they have available the better they will be able to cool themselves and this will ensure their natural cooling system can perform to peak efficiency. Without enough water dogs can suffer heatstroke which may cause symptoms such as abnormal heart rate and breathing, dry mouth and nose, drooling, seizures and unusual gum coloring. If you notice any of these symptoms it is important to cool your dog down and seek treatment from a veterinarian.
Dogs are also known to pant when they are excited or stressed and it may also occur when the dog is suffering from heart or lung disease.