Even though the dog is supposed to be man’s best friend, the behavior of our furry companions can often be completely foreign to us. Without the ability to share a verbal exchange, what your dog is doing and why can remain a mystery. Especially if this behavior is not something imitated in human life.
Panting, for example, is unique to the canine world. So how much panting is too much?
To find out why your dog might be panting excessively and when you should be concerned, we spoke to veterinarian Dr. Camille Alander, of Bond Vet in New York.
Why is my dog panting so much?
Alander said that for pet owners who come into his office with this question, his first answer is: When did you see a change?
Some dogs pant more than others, some are hot, some are anxious.
“Nine out of ten times it’s probably normal panting,” Alander said, and it can usually be attributed to body temperature regulation or anxiety.
However, some changes in panting behavior can be attributed to nausea and discomfort or other more serious conditions like heart failure and respiratory disease.
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When Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Panting?
When it’s outside the norm of what is usually seen for your dog.
Different dog breeds will pant different amounts. There is an element of individuality in the way a dog pant. The important thing is to get a baseline level of your dog’s behavior from an early age, then if you notice a major change that can’t be attributed to something like exercise or anxiety, take him to the veterinarian for professional advice.
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How to calm a panting dog?
If your dog’s panting seems related to anxiety, the surest way to create calm is to remove the offending source, Alander said.
This means that if your dog gets nervous around large crowds or fireworks, avoiding those things can help keep the panting at bay.
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Does panting mean a dog is in pain?
A dog may pant to regulate body temperature after exercise or to signal anxiety about a crowd or a visit to the vet. Neither are cause for immediate concern.
However, if the panting persists at an abnormal level, it could mean that your dog has an underlying medical condition or is experiencing nausea and discomfort.
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Why does my dog pant so much at night?
If this is a new development, definitely check with your vet about it, Alander said, as it could be an indicator of an underlying disease.
However, if this is typical behavior of your dog from an early age, there’s not much to worry about. Different dog breeds pant more than others, sometimes depending on the size of their noses, as dogs with smaller noses may be more reliant on mouth breathing (think pugs).
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why is my dog panting so much? Here’s what to know and when to worry.