Panting is when dogs breathe rapidly with their mouth open and tongue hanging out like a slobbery yo-yo. You know what we’re talking about. So other than as an effective method of drool distribution, why do they do it?
Keeping their cool
Some dogs may occasionally pant when they’re excited or afraid, but the main reason is to help keep themselves from overheating.
In a recent IAMS™ survey,* a majority of dog parents believed that dogs have sweat glands. But dogs don’t sweat like humans do. “We have glands all over our body. Dogs can’t do that,” says
Opens a new windowDr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute. “They have sweat glands on their paw pads, but that’s the only place.” They rely on panting to let out warm air and bring in cooler air. All that drool and fluid in their mouth helps dissipate the heat as well. It’s like a big soggy air conditioner.
Most mammals, and even many birds, pant to regulate their temperatures. Humans are some of the only creatures who cool down by perspiration. Imagine what dogs think of us losing fluid from all over our bodies, sweating through our clothes and needing to wipe our faces all the time. Fortunately, they love us anyway.
How to help your overheated dog
Panting is normal, but it expends lots of water, so make sure Fido’s bowl is full of clean, cool H2O, especially during warmer months.
Opens a new windowDr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, suggests “seeking out cool shade, giving them water and stopping physical activity.”
And it goes without saying — but we’re going to say it anyway — that you should never leave your dog in your vehicle on hot days. Even if they’re driving. Which you shouldn’t let them do either.
Signs of an overheated dog
Some dogs run a higher risk of overheating. “It’s very easy for dogs to overheat on very hot days,” cautions Dr. Jo Gale. “Any dog with a squashed face — bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese — their nasal passages are not able to cool the air as much.” She added that dogs with heavy coats, overweight dogs, and very old or very young pets also can’t control their body temperature as effectively.
If your pooch seems to be panting more than usual or at unusual times, check to see if they’re having trouble breathing, are shaking, or their gums or tongue have noticeably changed color. If so, make sure they have access to water, get them to a cool place and contact your vet.
*Surveyed U.S. dog owners, age 18+
Sample Size: n=201
Fielded May 8-10, 2020
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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