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How to Calm a Panting Dog
As a pup parent, you know that dogs have a tendency to pant in certain situations. For instance, when the weather turns warmer or when they’ve just been running around like a lunatic. But sometimes our dogs pant when they are in pain or distressed. In times like these, most pup parents wonder how to calm a panting dog. Is there anything we can really do?
There are definitely some ways to calm a panting dog so be sure to read this entire blog post!
Why Do Dogs Pant?
Dogs pant for a variety of reasons. In addition to heat and exercise, a dog may pant when she is feeling stress, fear or anxiety. Anxious dogs are more apt to pant on car rides or when taken to the vet, during thunderstorms and fireworks displays. They may also pant when a stranger or new pet comes into the home.
Dogs also pant when they are sick and in pain. It’s important to mention up top that if you believe there is any chance your dog’s panting is caused by an illness or injury (ie they are also vomiting, not eating or they took a bad fall), you’ll want to get her in to see the vet (or an ER clinic if after hours) to get her checked out.
How to Tell if Your Dog’s Panting is Normal or Excessive
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, a little bit of panting when the weather is warmer or when your dog has been playing is normal. But how can you tell if she is panting too much? What is normal and what constitutes excessive?
The first thing to consider is the situation and if it is likely to cause your pup to pant. Is there something stressful going on in the environment? You’ve really got to try and think from your pup’s point of view on this one. While you may not find anything stressful going on, your dog might.
For instance, some dogs are stressed when a new baby arrives in the house. A dog may be stressed when they know you are leaving the house. Senior dogs with dementia often pant at night.
Determine the context of the situation and whether or not it seems normal for your dog to be panting. You may also want to ask your vet’s advice.
And as a reminder, if there are any other symptoms present with the panting – vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, etc. – get your pup in to see a vet right away.
6 Common Causes of Excessive Panting in Dogs
In addition to cooling themselves, here are some other common reasons that dogs pant:
Fear of Loud Noises
Many dogs are very fearful of loud noises such as fireworks and thunder. Their instinct will be to run away from the sounds but if they are contained in one place, they will typically begin to pace and pant from anxiety.
Our pups are naturally social creatures. More than anything, they just want to be with us. Some dogs, particularly those who experienced trauma in their early life, may experience separation anxiety. This often leads to excessive panting and even drooling.
Certain dogs like Pugs and French Bulldogs have trouble breathing through their short and stubby noses. This can lead to abnormal panting.
Cushing’s disease is a fairly rare disease that typically affects older dogs. The disease causes an overproduction of cortisol, excessive thirst and appetite and a lot of panting. A veterinarian will need to test to make an accurate diagnosis.
Dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM, is a health condition brought on by the weakening of the heart muscle. One side effect of this disease is heavy panting. Luckily DCM can be managed with a proper diet.
Laryngeal paralysis is a partial blocking of a dog’s airway. If you’ve ruled out other causes of why your dog may be panting so much, you and your vet may want to investigate if this disease is the root cause. Laryngeal paralysis can usually be corrected with surgery.
How to Calm a Panting Dog
If you’ve ruled out any sort of medical emergency, then you can try and use the following methods to calm your panting pup:
Cool Them Down
Heatstroke is no joke. If your dog is panting because of excessively high temps, you’ll need to get them cooled down quickly. Look for any cool water nearby, i.e. a hose, stream, kiddy pool, and try to cool them down that way. If you are home, get them inside in the air-conditioning quickly and allow them to lick some ice cubes.
Offer Them Some Shade
Dogs can’t lose heat quickly, so if you are out and about and your dog starts panting excessively, find shade immediately. If you live in or are visiting a dog friendly area, see if a shop owner will allow you to bring your dog in to cool down.
Provide Them a Calm Space
If you have a nervous dog that pants when she is stressed, do your best to make a space in your home that is calm, quiet and peaceful. You may want to use a calming diffuser in the room, such as DAP, and play calming music.
Seek Veterinary Advice
If you are having a hard time identifying what may be going on with your pup, it’s really important to seek the advice of your veterinarian. She can examine your dog and determine if the panting is caused by a medical condition or something else.
Calm Your Own Nerves with a Pet Health Insurance Plan
It can be incredibly upsetting to see our pups struggling with any kind of medical issue. What can cause even more upset is to not be able to afford their medical care should a real need suddenly arise.
That’s why more and more pet parents are enrolling their fur babies into health insurance plans. Did you know there are some plans that will actually reimburse you for up to 90% of the vet bills? That can help you breathe a little easier!
Take a few moments to get a free customized quote from some of the top providers in the marketplace.
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- “Why Do Dogs Pant? Is Your Dog Panting Too Much?” Retrieved from: https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/evr_dg_why_do_dogs_pant
- “Why Do Dogs Pant?” Retrieved from: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/why-do-dogs-pant/
- “Why Is My Dog Panting?” Retrieved from: https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-do-dogs-pant-2804787
The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.
The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.
We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.