You’re out walking your Pug in the park and when you sit down to rest awhile, you notice your dog is panting. This is completely normal because your dog is trying to cool himself down.
Panting is how dogs cool themselves down after being exposed to the hot weather or physical activity.
But what exactly is normal and when should you as a pet parent start worrying?
In this article, we’re going to take a look a closer look at this brachycephalic breed to help you understand their panting behavior, and what can be causing it.
Why Do Pugs Pant So Much?
All dogs pant for several reasons from regulating temperature, excitement, trouble breathing, overheating, stress or anxiety, sickness, or allergies. Brachycephalic dogs like the Pug are prone to pant more often because of their smooshed faces.
This can make it challenging for new Pug owners to determine what’s normal or not. The first time I heard my Pug panting heavily, it scared me.
It wasn’t the normal panting I was used to hearing. So let’s look at what painting is and what’s considered normal.
What Is Panting
It’s not uncommon for Pugs to have their mouth open, taking shallow fast breaths, and their tongue hanging out. This behavior is commonly associated with your dog trying to cool themselves, which is also known as thermoregulation.
Dogs don’t have sweat glands as we do, so they cool their bodies by using the evaporation of moisture from the mouth and tongue. Their lungs exchange the hot air as it is expelled and replace it with cooler external air.
Panting should not be confused with a Pug breathing attack which is usually caused by mucus that gets stuck in their throat. It can cause your pooch to sneeze and snort uncontrollably.
Normal vs Abnormal Panting
As mentioned above, all dogs pant, so it’s important to know what’s considered normal and what’s not.
Normal panting can occur when your dog’s body is trying to cool down and is considered a healthy natural response. The panting will cease once your dog has cooled down and will start breathing normally without any assistance from you.
If your dog is panting heavily because of the heat, a cooling vest can help regulate their temperature much faster.
Abnormal panting occurs for no reason at all. You will notice your Pug panting for no reason, and it may sound louder or harsher.
Here are some signs that are associated with abnormal panting.
- Appears excessive compared to their normal panting behavior.
- It sounds louder, harsher and raspier than normal.
- Abnormal panting can occur any time
- Your dog will exert more energy than normal.
Abnormal panting can be the sign of underlying health issues such as:
- Cushing’s disease
- Heart problems
- Laryngeal Paralysis
If you notice your Pug panting heavily, there’s no need to panic. Contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment to have your pooch examined to ensure there are no underlying health concerns.
WARNING: Whenever you see your Pug panting heavily and won’t stop, you should take your pooch to the vet. It’s best to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health.
Common Reasons Pugs Pant So Much
Your puppy or dog may be panting for one of the following reasons.
She’s Trying To Cool Down
If you just finished playing with your Pug or exercising them, one of their natural responses is to pant to help them cool down.
When humans get warm, our sweat glands will produce sweat to help us cool down. While Pugs do have sweat glands, but only on the pads of their feet and nose. Their cooling mechanism to cool down is through panting.
It’s totally normal for your Pugs to pant during the day or at night if they become too hot.
She’s Becoming Overheated
Pugs don’t do very well when the temperature becomes hot and humid. So it’s totally normal to hear your Pug heavy panting when outdoors in the summer.
If your dog is spending a lot of time outdoors in the hot temperature, it could be a sign of an impending heatstroke, which is something you don’t want to ignore.
It can be difficult to spot in brachycephalic dogs, especially, since they are prone to panting for no reason.
Here are some of the symptoms to watch for if your dog is out in the heat.
- Excessive drooling
- Reddened gums
- Loss of consciousness
- Uncoordinated movements
- Excessive panting or rapid breathing
- Sudden weakness
Dogs suffer from heatstroke when their body temperature exceeds 103℉, and if they don’t receive treatment, they could go into shock or could even die.
Don’t let it get to that point. Monitor your Pug’s activity outdoor activities on hot summer days. Never leave your dog in a hot car, as it can kill your pooch.
If you suspect your Pug’s panting is related to heat stroke, take her temperature – if it’s over 103℉ you need to call your vet and take immediate action to cool them down.
Take your dog to the shade or inside your air conditioned house.
Next wrap her body with a cool damp towel to help lower her temperature. Never put ice or something too cold on her, as this can cause your pooch to go into shock.
Make sure they have access to fresh cold water to help them cool down. Once they have cooled down, you want to drive them to the vet to make sure she isn’t dehydrated or suffered any serious complications.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrom (BOAS)
Pugs are predisposed to all kinds of breathing problems and you may notice your four-legged friend panting for no reason.
Dogs with pushed-in faces are known to suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome which refers to the following:
- Stenotic nares
- Elongated soft palate
- Everted laryngeal saccules
Stenotic nares basically means that the canine’s nostrils are too narrow or malformed and make it difficult for the dog to breathe through their nose.
Elongated soft palate is a condition where the soft palate is too long and it interferes with the movement of the air in the lungs making it difficult to breathe.
Everted laryngeal saccules is when the airway tissue is pulled into the dogs trachea and obstructs normal airflow.
Unfortunately, Pugs are just susceptible to panting more heavily than other dogs, therefore they are more susceptible to heat-related issues.
She’s Anxious or Stressed
If your Pug is panting for no reason while they are inside the air conditioned house, it could be she is stressed or anxious.
This is known as “behavioral panting” and the signs to watch for are:
- Reclusive behavior
- Clingy behavior
- Lip licking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Crouched posture
If your Pug is panting and you notice some of the symptoms above, you’ll want to find out what’s making your pup anxious or frightened.
It could be something as simple as a toddler that loves rough playing with your dog and they get scared?
A visit to the vet?
Fireworks or other loud noses?
Once you know what’s causing the anxiety, you can address the situation and help your pup address her fear.
Pain or Discomfort
It can be hard to know when your dog is pain, especially, since they can’t come out and tell you. If your Pug is not feeling well or is suffering from an injury, panting is usually one of the first signs of pain.
If ignored, your dog may start displaying other signs associated with pain such as limping or whining.
It’s not unusual for your dog to pant heavily at night, especially, since this is when your dog may become more uncomfortable and it’s quieter at night so you can actually hear them panting.
Other signs of pain or illness to watch for are vomiting, limping, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and behavior changes. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has been injured or is ill.
She’s Having An Allergic Reaction
It could be something as simple as your dog having an allergic reaction to something.
Maybe you started your dog on a new medication without knowing they would be allergic to it.
This can result in your dog panting more than normal, struggling to breathe, lethargy or vomiting.
Brachycephalic breeds such as French Bulldogs, Shizus, Boxers, Pugs and etc are short-faced dogs that cause them to pant more frequently because it is harder for them to breathe.
These dogs have an upper-airway challenges, which can make it difficult for them to pant normally, and increases their chances of heatstroke.
Monitor your dog closely and if their breathing or panting becomes louder or heavier, you will want to take them to the veterinarian as soon as you can.
Pug Won’t Stop Panting Should I Call The Vet?
You should call your vet whenever you have any questions or are worried about your pet’s health. Just remember, that it’s completely normal for Pugs to pant after being exposed to the heat or humidity, have been playing or exercising, or are excited.
That being said, if your pooch is struggling to breathe and the panting sounds are louder and harsher, or you notice their gums or tongue changing from pink to white, bluish, or purple.
It’s time to take them to the vet.
Final Word On Pug Won’t Stop Panting
This breed is prone to panting and breathing sometimes for no reason. As you get accustomed to your dog’s behavior, you’ll learn to understand what’s normal and what’s not.
References And Further Reading
Pets WebMD – Why Is My Dog Panting Heavily
Pet Health Network – Brachycephalic Syndrome
Healthy Pets – Dr. Becker – When Your Dog’s Panting Might Mean Trouble