Why Do Dogs Pant?
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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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- adp_description_block137A Healthy Diet for Your Dog Can Mean Good Health for You
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As a veterinarian, I’ve found that pet owners take seriously the responsibility of ensuring their dogs live healthy, happy lives. They worry about making sure their dog gets enough exercise, receives regular wellness checks and receives balanced nutrition that gives them energy to run and play.
What some people don’t realize is that owning and caring a dog can improve the owner’s health as well. Spending quality time with your dog and providing them with quality nutrition is good for the dog and can help ease stress and anxiety levels for you. Studies have shown that owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels1 — which is great news for your heart health.
In short, when your dog is getting the best care, proper exercise, nutrition and love, they can enjoy a long and healthy life. And that can ultimately make you healthier, too!
So what does that mean when it comes to feeding your dog?
Many owners see their dog as part of the family, and that sometimes means they will feed their dog like they feed themselves. For example, some people may choose low-carb or gluten-free diets for themselves and do the same for their pets. However, while this instinct comes from a place of love, many owners don’t realize that their dog’s dietary needs differ from their own.
Take grains for example. As a veterinarian, it’s important for me to note that grains are good for your dog. Yes, you read that right — they’re good!
A very small percentage of dogs may have a food sensitivity that requires a special grain-free diet or a dog food without a certain protein. However, this is not necessary for the vast majority of dogs. Most dogs benefit from a complete, balanced diet with healthy grains, high-quality proteins and essential vitamins and minerals.
Here’s why: Grains are a good source of carbohydrates that provide healthy energy. Some grains, like rice and wheat, provide “quick” energy, while other grains, like barley and sorghum, take longer to convert to energy. A combination of these different grains can offer a time-released energy source that helps dogs sustain energy. The whole grains in IAMS dog food are a beneficial mix, as they supply steady energy.
In addition to the grains you’ll find in IAMS food, you’ll also find high-quality proteins, like chicken and lamb, as well as essential nutrients needed to help support heart health. Together, this combination will give your dog a steady source of energy to be active on walks, runs, hikes or play sessions around the house.
For your dog to be healthy and happy, be sure you feed them a well-balanced diet and allow them enough exercise time. In return, you’ll get unconditional love, plenty of sweet doggy snuggles and maybe even more exercise — just a few of the ways you and your dog are joined at the heart.
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