Why Dogs Pant to Stay Cool
Dogs may pant for many different reasons, including excitement, exhaustion, health issues, and regulation of body temperature. Today we’re going to focus on its role in cooling and regulating body temperature.
Human bodies regulate temperature through sweating. As liquid sweat evaporates and converts to gas, heat is carried away, leaving the surface of the skin cooler. Our lack of fur and large skin surface area allow this to happen very efficiently.
Dogs lack this cooling system that humans take for granted. The limited number of sweat glands they possess are located on the bottom of their paws—not nearly enough to lower their body temperature significantly. Therefore, our canine friends have to find alternative ways to keep cool.
How Panting Works
Panting overcomes dogs’ inability to sweat and helps them lower their body temperature. Their bodies expel heat by rapidly inhaling cool air and exhaling warm, moist air. While a dog will typically take around 35 breaths per minute, this number skyrockets to more than 300 breaths per minute while panting.
Have you ever noticed how a dog’s nose is always cool? Since the main cerebral blood vessel passes by the surface of the nose, the air a dog inhales works to cool the blood in the nose. This cooler blood then works its way through the remainder of the body. This process accelerates during panting due to the increased number of inhalations.
A long tongue also aids dogs in keeping cool. As they hang their tongues out during panting, the large surface area allows a great deal of evaporation to take place, further cooling a dog’s head and body.
Water also plays a vital role in helping dogs regulate their body temperature. Make sure to provide your dog with plenty of cool drinking water, especially during the warm summer weather. This water will help cool their core while also drawing out heat from the mouth through evaporation during panting.
As an added precaution, fill 2 water bowls before leaving for the day. This will provide a backup water source if your dog accidentally tips one over.
Outdoor dogs may enjoy a nice cold dip in the pool. Fill a children’s play pool with a few inches of water and your dog will love you for it! As the water evaporates from their skin, the body is left cooler and more refreshed. To prevent the risk of drowning, make sure your dog can sit or stand in the pool without the water covering their mouth.
Panting on warm days or after exercise is normal and expected. If your dog continues to pant heavily for an extended period of time, continue to monitor their health carefully. A temperature above the standard 102°F, abnormal heart rate, dry mouth, or heavy drooling could be signs of something more severe. If you have any concerns about possible heatstroke, call or visit your veterinarian right away.
K&H Cooling Products
We help dogs stay cool and comfortable during the heat of summer by offering a wide selection of cooling pet products. Whether your dog lives inside or outside, there's a K&H product designed for his or her needs.
To keep your dog's entire body cool, use our bestselling Cool Bed III™. Simply place these beds in a shaded location and fill with water to provide your dog with a cool bed he or she will love.
For a more portable cooling solution, try our Coolin' Pet Pad™. Its cooling gel takes on the ambient air temperature and helps draw heat away from your pet's body. It's great for around the home, in the car, or anywhere life takes you.
Since water consumption is vital to canine health, we offer the CleanFlow Water Filter Bowl™ as well as the brand new Coolin' Bowl™. These exciting items provide better-tasting, colder water any pet will enjoy.