Dogs do not sweat so they use panting to balance their body temperature. This refers to rapid and shallow breathing followed by a stretched tongue, which is how they balance their body temperature. It is wrongly considered that dogs do not have sweat glands. There is a small number of sweat glands on their bodies located on the surface of the paws which are used for getting rid of the sweat. However, their number is not enough to balance the body weight, which is why our best friends use panting in order to balance the temperature of their bodies.
Panting is a rapid, shallow breathing which increases vaporization of water from the tongue, mouth and the upper part of the breathing system. Panting is normal during very high temperatures, during the playtime, or when the dog is anxious or in some kind of an unpleasant situation.
A dog which pants takes its breath roughly 300 to 400 times a minute, while in a normal situation it ranges from 30 to 40 times a minute. Despite the number of breaths taken, this is an activity which requires minimal effort. Due to the elasticity of the lungs and respiratory ways, panting doesn’t consume much of the energy and while it does not create additional heat, it still efficiently refreshes the dog’s body.
Even though panting is an everyday activity, unless the temperature outside is not high or there is no other previous activity, your pet should be treated with precaution. Suspicion arises if panting is not accompanied by some obvious reason. Keep in mind that most dogs are highly tolerant to pain, so it could be possible your pet suffered an injury. Prolonged panting can be a result of respiratory or heart problems. If panting is followed by extreme appetite and thirst changes as well as excess hair loss, your dog might be suffering from the Cushing syndrome. Should you notice any similar symptoms or recognize similar behaviour, make sure you see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Unless there is a normal explanation for such breathing, and if it is intensive and perpetual, or should you notice the colour of your pet’s tongue has changed, make sure you pay an urgent visit to your veterinarian.