Panting in dogs: Almost all dog lovers know why their furry friends break out after the summer heat has subsided, but have you ever wondered
- Why Panting is the main way to keep our dog mates cool?
- Or why do they sweat only through their feet and noses?
- And have you ever wondered why your dog starts panting at midnight for no reason?
If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, then keep reading.
What is Panting?
Panting is a key approach to heat reduction. Air movement during panting is strictly limited to the upper airway, which ends where the windpipe branches begin.
Consequently, cold outside air absorbs heat from the body during panting and allows saliva to evaporate through the mouth and airway, thereby slowly lowering body temperature.
Panting is an inefficient way to cool down, especially in the heat that is so common in USA.
One of the main reasons Panting is ineffective is that dogs have evolved to retain their body heat as much as possible, which is why dogs sweat only through their paw pads and noses.
Pain and anxiety-induced Panting
If your dog is randomly panning at midnight in an air-conditioned home, what is the reason for such behavior? In the absence of a clear temperature-related cause, the three most common reasons for Panting are pain, anxiety, and disease.
During the summer thunderstorms in the USA or when dogs show signs of stress or pain from joint pain, their bodies rapidly increase cortisol production, leading to excessive panting.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands that help in coping with stress in normal amounts.
Under normal circumstances, cortisol helps regulate metabolism, salt and water balance, and blood sugar, to name a few functions.
When overproduced, excess cortisol increases metabolism, leading to an internal increase in body temperature and high Panting.
Any source of stress, fear, or pain can have the same effect on your dog. In addition to elevations in cortisol, drugs such as prednisone, which mimic cortisol, can also cause Panting.
Disease-related Panting in Dogs
In cases of the disease, any process that causes an increase in the respiratory rate (number of breaths per minute) often gives the appearance of Panting after the breath has been sufficiently accelerated.
Such disease processes include heart failure, lung and lung diseases, and some metabolic abnormalities.
Cushing’s disease is a disease that increases cortisol levels.
Dogs suffering from this condition not only experience excessive panting, but also develop a pot-belly appearance, have high thirst and urination, and their skin and coat appear undesirable.
How to Spot Panting in dogs?
The best way to find out if your dog is experiencing Panting or rapid breathing is to first know the normal breathing rate, with 10 to 40 breaths per minute during the rest.
If at any time you do not know if breathing is abnormal, call your veterinarian.
Whenever your four-legged family member begins to stutter, remember that it can be a sign of discomfort, warmth, or illness.
Your veterinarian can give you insight into why your dog stumbles without a clear explanation, so be sure to discuss any questions about Panting with your other family veterinarian during your next visit.