Do dogs pant when in pain?

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Pain is a situation that is inevitable in every living thing. In mammals, there are hormones and receptors in charge of sending pain signals to the brain. These receptors are responsible for letting us know that we are feeling pain in a particular area. Reaction to pain differs according to the species involved. The reaction to pain could be hissing; as found in snakes, or could be snapping as found in birds, could be clawing as found in cats; could even be barking and biting as found in dogs. All these reactions are some of the numerous ways these animals can show their pain.

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Dogs feel pain because of different reasons, ranging from infections, diseases and or home accidents. All these can cause a dog to feel pain. Most times, owners of dogs develop a considerable amount of affection and attachment for their dogs. Due to this reason, anything that might cause hurt for their furry friend means hurt for them too, because a dog is already practically part of the family. This attachment to the dog as part of the family makes humans inquisitive about the reaction of the dog to pain. It also makes humans inquisitive about the signs the dog is going to show when it feels immense pain.

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There are many signs a dog might show when it is in pain, depending on the type of the dog and the intensity of the pain. A dog might bark more often than usual when it is in pain, or it might bite even more. These are more prominent signs, and it is very easy to know when these signs are involved. However, not all dogs are loud with pain, some are calmer and try to hide their pain—somewhat like suffering inside with their pain. Even though it is better for a dog to shout out their pain than suffer inside with their pain, we do not choose the kind of behaviour our dog ends up with. The dogs that subtly show their pain might have a faster heart rate and pulse rate, alongside a very high temperature. These are some of the subtle signs that show that a dog is in pain. So if you’re wondering if a dog would pant if it is in pain.

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well, it would pant, especially if it isn’t a loud dog.

Do dogs pant when in pain?
Do dogs pant when in pain?

Does Dog Panting Mean it is in Pain?

As said in the previous paragraph, dogs pant when in pain. The panting dogs do when they are in pain is quite different from normal panting. It is panting, accompanied by increased body temperature and grunts, that type of panting shows they are in immense pain and need to be taken care of immediately. That being said, it is good to know that dogs pant normally. It is part of their physiological need to pant. When the composition of a dog is studied, it can be seen that dogs lack skin that gets rid of heat quickly. The kind of skin they have is adorned with fur all over the body. The fur on their skin is to conserve their body, to avoid them getting cold if they are in a cold environment. Their body composition is made to conserve heat, but it also needs another mechanism to get rid of heat. 

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In humans, the mechanism to get rid of heat is by sweating and the evaporation that occurs in the skin after sweating. This is the way that heat is gotten rid of in humans. However, in dogs, there is an absence of sweat glands and sweat pores. The sweat glands would have enabled them to get rid of the heat in their body.

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Nonetheless, there is a modification in their physiology that enables them to replace this body heat structural function with a behavioural function. This behavioural way of getting rid of body heat is by panting. Panting helps the dog get rid of heat from the surface of the lungs and from the internal structures of the dog’s body. 

Panting does for a dog what sweat does for humans. This type of painting is known as normal dog panting. It is usually accompanied by the playfulness of a dog. If a dog is having a very busy day with lots of physical activities, you have to expect the dog to pant. So, when a dog pants, it doesn’t have to be caused by pain; it could be caused by playing or loss of excess body heat. If it is caused by pain, there are other symptoms; like high temperature and excess lying around, to show that it is in immense pain. 

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Why Do Dogs Pant?

There is no specific reason as to why dogs pant; there is a range of reasons that can make a dog pant. A dog’s natural physiologic response to excess body heat is panting. If a dog has just engaged in physical exercise, it is very normal for it to pant. Just like the way we have increased our respiratory rate after going through strenuous exercise. A dog might pant in order to be able to get rid of excess body heat. These are some of the reasons a dog might pant. Another reason that a dog might pant is because it is in pain. When a dog has a fungal infection on its skin, on any part of its body, you would see the dog pant. This is an abnormal type of painting. 

Another reason why a dog might pant abnormally is because it might have a sprain or dislocation of one of its limbs. We know how painful sprains and dislocations on any part of our limbs can be. The pain is no different in dogs. This pain they experience can be shown in the way they pant.  Some bacterial infections can be really painful too, so they pant when they are infected. Some dogs are not even vocal with their pain, so the only time you might hear them pant so much is when you pick them up. Another thing that can make them pant is severe anxiety, fear, or stress. When a dog is going through a stressful time, you might see it pant more than usual. 

Also, dogs that exhibit fearfulness pant more than other dogs do. Anxiety, too, can also cause a dog to pant. The other causes of abnormal panting are all health-related. sicknesses like; lung disease, heart failure, and laryngeal paralysis can cause abnormal panting. The mentioned diseases are all associated with the respiratory system. Also, anemia—that is, reduced red blood cell and hemoglobin count, can cause panting in dogs. Hormonal imbalance can also cause abnormal panting. The last health-related cause of panting is treatment with steroids. This is to say, there is a wide range of reasons why a dog would pant. 

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Why Does My Dog Pant When I Pet Him?

Dogs are social animals, and as such, they love to be petted. When they love their owner, they would love to be carried, played with, and petted all the time. It is normal for a dog to like to be petted, especially when it is used to your company. One question to ask yourself is, “does it pant when you pet it normally?” If it does, which is highly doubtful, then there is no problem. However, if it does not show this behaviour normally, it should be clear that there is a problem your dog is doing so well at hiding. If you pet it behind its ears, and it suddenly recoils, with its breath quickening and by panting, you should know that it either has an injury behind that ear, or it has an infection on that ear. 

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The main thing to know is that it probably is going through more pain than you can ever imagine. The main thing to know is that if the panting is not because of physical activity, it is probably because it is going through pain, anxiety, or because it is sick. When a dog pants when you pick it up, it is important to examine the part you touched to know if it is okay. If you have a dog’s first aid kit, you could use a stethoscope to check its pulse rate, to check if it’s normal. You could also do a physical examination to check if there are any visible injuries that could be treated by disinfecting the surface.  All in all, when it pants when you pet it, it could be a minor thing or a sign of a major emergency. If you have examined it, and you cannot tell why it is panting it is important to take a trip to the vet for treatment. 

Why Is My Dog Panting And Restless?

When a healthy dog gets into a restful state, it is not usually restless. Although alert, it could completely rest without pacing around like it is not at rest. When ill, one of the symptoms of illness is restlessness. When you see a dog restless, it might mean that it is sick. Also, sometimes, anxiety can make a dog restless. If a dog is faced with a situation or a person that makes it anxious, it might be very restless, and it might even pant because it is not comfortable with everything it is seeing. So if you see your dog panting and restless, it is important to check the situation so you know what to do. 

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If there is a strange face in the house that the dog is not comfortable with, you should keep the dog away from that person till it gets used to the person. If you don’t do this, you would be anxious. It is very important not to overlook the restlessness and to take panting for granted because it could be a symptom of a deadly underlying condition. If this condition persists, it is very important to see a veterinary doctor immediately.

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Do Dogs Pant When They Are Happy?

Among several other body language behaviours of dogs, one of the most prominent is panting. A dog pants when it feels several emotions. It could be panting because it is sad, or it could be panting because it is sick, or even because it is excited to carry out the activity you are about to take on.  All these reasons and many more are some of the reasons a dog might pant. How to decipher the reason for the painting can be connected to the intensity of the painting. 

If the panting is laboured and accompanied by biting, grunting, or even laying around, you can say the dog is panting due to sickness. If it is panting and very restless throughout the day, it can be said that the dog is anxious or uncomfortable with a situation going on in the house or a person over for a visit. A dog can also pant with restlessness when it feels like playing about—this is especially found in puppies. They would pant, most times, with their tongues out to show that they are in the mood to play with their owner or another pup. 

Another way to know what panting represents in dogs is by observing the intensity of the painting. If It is loud, it could be a serious problem that might require an immediate check-up from the vet clinic. If it is low, accompanied by playful licks, or wagging its tail, it is more than obvious that the dog is happy at that particular time. So yes, dogs pant when they are happy, and it can be easy to tell when a dog is panting when it is happy.

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How To Calm A Panting Dog?

Panting is a thing that is inevitable in dogs, as most of the time, they use it to get rid themselves of excess body heat. However, when panting becomes excessive, it becomes a thing to be worried about. This is the reason why many dog owners and lovers set out to find ways to calm a dog that is panting. If a dog is panting because it is having a good time, or it is energized because of the physical activity it just engaged in, there are simple ways to help it calm down. You could calm it down by helping it take deep breaths or even by distracting it with simple games that involve sniffing treats and finding them. You could also give it treats while you set down a mat for it to relax on. However, if a dog is panting because of illness, these steps might not work. In such cases, it is advisable to take it to the vet.

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Dogs Panting At Night

Dogs pant most of the time to get rid of heat, as said earlier. If your house is very hot at night, then your dog panting might not be a cause for concern; it is simply getting rid of body heat. However, if your house is not hot and your dog keeps panting through the night, it might be anxious about something. If it is a fearful dog, maybe it hears weird noises that do not sit right with it. It might not just be because of weird noises it is hearing; it might be because it couldn’t find you at night. This happens especially when you keep your pup in a separate room. In adult dogs, this rarely ever happens. 

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Another reason a dog might pant more than usual at night is because it is sick and needs medical help. In this case, a quick examination can tell, and it is advisable to see the vet for treatment.

Do Dogs Breathe Fast When In Pain

Pain is something found in all animals, including humans; just like humans, when a dog is in pain, the respiratory rate of the dog increases. This is not a deliberate action performed by the dog; it is just the normal physiological response of the body to pain. The increase in respiratory rate can be shown in the quickening of the expulsion of air and the intake of air. It seems almost like the dog is panting. It is very normal because the body of the dog is trying to adjust to this newfound feeling of pain. Due to this effort to adjust, there are new compensatory mechanisms in the body, like; the quickening of breath and increase in temperature to adjust to the feeling. So yes, dogs breathe fast when in pain; sometimes, they even pant when in pain.

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Dogs pant a lot; it is not an abnormal thing to see a dog pant. A panting dog could mean several things, from being overly excited to being very anxious. It could also mean that the dog is sick. This is the reason why it is good to observe the body language of your dog, so you can know the real thing that is wrong and deal with it accordingly. Knowing the body language of your dog can be understood by just spending quality time with your dog.   

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

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