Dogs are active creatures and being active with your dog is part of being a responsible pet parent. Creating memories with long games of fetch, building bonds with tough games of tug-o-war, and taking walks with your dog are all fun, active parts of being a parent to a dog. As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, you may notice that these activities cause you to sweat more, and your dog to pant more than usual. As our dogs start to pant more, it often makes us wonder, "why does my dog pant so much and is he okay?" So, keep reading to learn why dogs pant and when you should and should not worry.
Dogs pant when they are happy, excited, want to play, and to cool off. As the seasons change from winter to spring and then summer, you may notice that your dog is panting more than usual, especially after you and your dog have been active. There is no need to worry. When humans sweat, that is our body's way of cooling itself off. Unlike humans who sweat all over their body, dogs only sweat through their paws. Instead, they pant to cool off their body. Through panting a dog inhales more air that circulates through its body, cooling it off. While it's always important to have fresh water available for your dog, it's even more important after playtime and during hotter months. Water keeps dogs hydrated and keeps their bodies from shutting down. So be sure to pay attention to your dog's water intake during the summer, after playtime, and after other active activities.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside and you notice that he's panting most of the day, that just means your dog is hot and his body is working the way it should be. Imagine you had on a fur coat in the middle of the summer that you couldn't take off. To help keep your dog cool and with a healthy airflow, try placing a Cool Air Cot for Dogs (shown above) outside for your dog to lay on when he's hanging out outside. This elevated pet bed has mesh on all sides that lets air flow through the bed all around him, helping to keep him cool. You can also place a cheap, plastic baby pool in your backyard and fill it up with water. Your dog will love jumping in to cool down when he gets hot.
Grooming is also a way to keep your pet cool in the summer months. It's important that you groom your long-haired dogs in the summer so that their fur doesn't mat. You could even have your grooming cut their hair shorter than normal so that your dog can keep cool a litter longer. For short-haired dogs, be sure to brush them so that any excess fur is removed. Brushing your dog's coat at least once a week will help with shedding, give your dog a healthy coat, and give you and your dog another way to bond.
Dogs also pant when something is physically wrong with them. Panting can be a sign of illness, allergic reaction to something, or because of anxiety. Your dog may also pant to tell you they need food or water. If you notice your dog panting over or near their food and water bowl, that may be his way of telling you he's hungry or thirsty. If you see your dog is panting and has been resting inside most of the day, you should look into it. Make sure your dog didn't eat anything he wasn't supposed to. If your pet starts vomiting or becomes lethargic, you should contact your vet immediately.
Dogs also pant when they experience anxiety. In fact, some dogs have separation anxiety and hate being left alone. Thunderstorms and other loud noises like fireworks or trash trucks can also cause anxiety in dogs, which is displayed through panting and walking around the house aimlessly. If you are about to leave your house, and your dog is walking around the house panting, it's likely that she has separation anxiety. To help with this, talk to your dog and let them know that you will be back. You can also try a dog blanket or a Calmz Anxiety Relief system to help with your dog's anxiety.
All in all, dogs are active creatures. Panting is the way their bodies cool itself off. Most of the time, there will be no need to worry. However, if you know your dog has no reason to pant and is, be sure to pay attention to it and check it out.
Get creative with fun and interesting ways to keep your dog cool this summer. Take him for a game of fetch at the lake or pond, get him his own pool for the backyard and fill it up with water and toys, turn the sprinkler on and let your dog run through it! You both will love and cherish the memories created by keeping cool in the summer.