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The Panting Pup

Panting DogIt’s important to know that excessive panting can also be a sign of illness in some dogs.  We know that dogs don’t sweat like humans and cool themselves by breathing and panting.  So on a hot day or after chasing the ball a few times, it’s unquestionably normal for the dog to pant.  Also, brachycephalic dogs (canines with short snouts, such as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, etc.) are more prone to excessive panting as they need to work a little harder due to their short windpipes. 

So how can you be sure if it’s just normal panting behavior?  The best advice is to know your dog’s typical behavior on a hot day, on a cool day, and everywhere in between.  Of course, there is no need to panic if the dog is winded after some play time or a walk around the block.  If there is a change in the occurrence times and strength of the panting without having just been exercised, then you may need to look into the situation further.  Some other reasons for excessive panting other than heat stroke are:  obesity, stress and anxiety (any changes in the dog’s environment (i.e. new family member, move to new home)), and pain (signs that may suggest pain, e.g. restlessness, constant licking or biting at one specific site, whimpering, reluctance to lie down).  If your dog exhibits excessive panting for more than 10-15 minutes after exercising or being exposed to heat, you may want to explore the situation further by contacting your veterinarian.


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