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Why is my dog panting so much?

Why is my dog panting so much?

There's nothing better than being greeted by a panting, tail-wagging dog when you walk through your front door at the end of a hard day. But what if your dog's panting seems off or excessive? Excessive panting can indicate heat exhaustion, feeling nervous or anxious, or an underlying medical issue. So, how do you know if your dog's panting is normal or concerning?

Discover the reasons behind excessive panting and possible solutions to help any anxious pup.

In general, panting is a normal behavior for dogs. It's how they regulate their internal body temperature since they don't sweat like humans. Panting causes your dog to inhale, humidify, and exhale hot air, increasing water evaporation. The evaporation process (panting) gradually cools your dog's internal temperature.

Is my dog overheating?

Dogs pant for numerous reasons. As a pet parent, you should know what's normal panting for your dog. Excessive panting shouldn't be a surprise if you've just returned from a long run on a hot day — especially for larger, thick-haired pups or elderly dogs.

If your dog pants heavily because he's overheated, it's vital you help your dog cool down as quickly as possible. Offer your furry friend fresh water and a cool place to lie in a comfortable air-conditioned space. The K&H Coolin' Pet Pad is perfect for the active dog that likes to take long walks on a summer day. No electricity is required; it wicks heat out of your pet and releases the unwanted heat into the air. This pad is perfect for any pet with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other painful aging issues. It also helps regulate an overheated dog's internal temperature back to a normal range.

Is my dog nervous?

While some dogs seem to go with the flow, that is not true of all dogs. Many dogs suffer from nervous panting due to:

  • Large crowds
  • Loud noises (especially fireworks)
  • Unplanned visitors
  • Abrupt changes
  • Separation anxiety

If you have a nervous dog, you have a few options to help alleviate his fears and excessive panting. Believe it or not, exercise is one of the best ways to help your stressed pup release tension and unwanted nervous energy. Taking your dog for a long walk or a game of fetch is an easy way to release stress before a potentially unsettling event, such as a large dinner party or loud 4th of July celebrations.

Of course, dog training or a session with a veterinary behaviorist can also be effective if your dog continues to struggle with nervous panting.

Does my dog have travel anxiety?

You're likely very aware if your dog suffers from travel anxiety. While some dogs love an exciting ride with their favorite driver, your anxious dog may excessively pant, whine, yawn, or occasionally throw up. While traveling with an anxious dog may seem daunting, you can help calm your unsettled pup.

Helping your dog feel secure and safe is key to making an anxious or car-sick dog feel more comfortable. Safety seats, carriers, and cargo covers are perfect for a dog that is unsettled while traveling. A few of our favorites:

  1. The K&H Travel Safety Carrier is a simple way to keep your dog safe and restrained in a fully enclosed carrier. The mesh surround also allows you and your dog to maintain eye contact during travel.
  2. The K&H Bucket Booster Rectangle Pet Seat elevates your dog for a clear view out the window while keeping her safe and secure. Should your dog have an accident due to anxiety or car sickness, the quilted cover is easy to remove and washable — a win for you and your dog.
  3. The K&H Buckle n'Go Pet Seat is designed for any size dog and collapses flat for easy storage. Its mesh windows and open top provide extra airflow, making it a perfect solution for a dog that may require more open space during travel.
  4. The K&H Portable Pet Console Booster Dog Car Seat is perfect for the smaller dog that likes to stay a little closer to her favorite human when traveling in the car. Its carrying straps convert it into a portable dog carrier when not perched on the car's console.
  5. The K&H Quilted Cargo Cover (Black) is ideal for larger dogs needing more space in your vehicle's cargo area. Your super-sized pup can lie down in the cargo space and stretch out comfortably. As an added perk, you can keep your dog's toys, water bowl, and leash in the easily accessible pocket storage.

Travel anxiety is no joke. Dogs that feel anxious or get sick during car rides require a little extra care. Short rides ending with treats, praise, or an exciting activity — like a little park time — can help an anxious dog view travel as a positive activity rather than a stressor. While it may take a little time and patience, you can help your dog become a better traveler with positive and repetitive reinforcement.

When should I be concerned about panting?

"Is my dog panting too much?" To answer that question, look at what your dog is doing. If excessive panting doesn't seem to fit the current situation, nerves or anxiety may be the culprit. The key is to think of ways to lessen your dog's fear, anxiety, and stress levels by minimizing or removing triggers when possible.

Dogs are more than pets; they're family. Intervening when your dog seems to be struggling is the job of any pet parent. If your dog is too hot, ensure he's hydrated and cool. If your dog is nervous, try to lessen the impact of known triggers. If your dog has travel anxiety, work with him to reduce the fear of travel through rewards and positive reinforcement.

If your dog's panting doesn't seem to lessen with basic interventions, it may be time to talk to your veterinarian about possible medical concerns. Remember, you are your dog's best advocate, and if something seems off, it's best to check it out. When you're in tune with your furry pal, he'll usually let you know when he needs a little extra help from his favorite human.


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