Panting is a dog’s way of cooling down. But it may also be a sign of stress or anxiety. So dogs will pant when they are very hot, after very vigorous exercise or when they’re in pain and that’s normal. Short-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and pugs often pant as part of their normal breathing. But otherwise, your dog shouldn’t pant in normal situations or at a normal walking pace at a reasonable temperature. By the way, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, read this article about adopting a dog first!
If your dog does pant on a leisurely walk, you may want to ask yourself if your dog is really enjoying that walk, or is your dog panting due to anxiety? Everyone assumes that their dogs love going for walks but there’s a lot of things out there for a dog to worry about: traffic, other people, other dogs, bikes to name but a few. If there are other signs such as pulling on the lead, lunging or barking at cars/people/dogs, you may need to consider that your dog’s not enjoying the walk as much as you think. And just because he/she gets all excited, jumping around etc, when you get ready to go out, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re looking forward to it – they’re simply getting ready, psyching themselves up for this big event.
And while you might expect to see your dog panting while in an understandably stressful environment such as the vet’s waiting room, you shouldn’t expect to see them panting in other situations. For example, getting in the car, visiting a friend’s house or having visitors in your house shouldn’t cause your dog stress. If this is the case, you may want to consider getting advice so you can help your dog through these events and let him/her know that everything is fine, you’re in charge and there’s nothing to worry about.