Dog Behavior Decoded: Why Do Dogs Pant?

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Have you ever seen a clever pooch wipe his face with a bandana on a particularly hot day? Probably not. Dogs are built to handle the heat very differently than their owners are.

Dogs have very few sweat glands, so you won't see one enjoying a sauna anytime soon. While they do sweat from their paw pads and other less furry areas, the primary way dogs cool off is through panting. Panting is very rapid, shallow breathing that enhances the evaporation of water from the tongue, mouth and upper respiratory tract. Evaporation dissipates heat as water vapor.

Magic? Pretty close. A panting dog can take 300 to 400 breaths per minute (the normal canine breathing rate is 30 to 40 breaths per minute), yet it requires surprisingly little effort. Because of the natural elasticity of the lungs and airways, panting does not expend much energy, nor does it create additional heat. Pretty cool, indeed.


This article was written by a Veterinarian.

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