Dogs pant for all sorts of reasons. Dogs do not have sweat glands. Therefore, they have to pant to cool themselves. If your dog is panting because they are hot, there usually isn’t anything to worry about. You don’t need to “calm” a dog that is panting because they are hot. However, you may want to offer them some cold water or get them somewhere cool if they’re panting very profusely.
However, dogs can also pant because they are stressed. Similar to humans who sweat when they are nervous, dogs can also pant because they are anxious or stressed. In this case, you may want to attempt to calm your dog. If your dog is panting due to stress a lot, then a more permanent solution like medication may be called for.
The 7 Tips to Calm Down a Panting Dog
1. Stay Calm
You need to stay calm to help your dog stay calm. Dogs can often feel when we are stressed. Therefore, if you’re stressed and trying to calm your dog, it probably won’t work. In many cases, staying calm is easier said than done. It helps to take a few deep breaths and focus on you before you start focusing on your dog.
If you need to, there is nothing wrong with taking a break and having someone else stay with your dog for a bit. If you are stressed out, remaining around may do more harm than good, especially if you have someone who can take over while you take a break.
2. Distract Them
The easiest way to calm a stressed dog is to distract them. You can try this in multiple different ways. If your dog is able, feeding them a treat is often helpful. Aim for one that takes longer to consume so that your dog stays distracted for longer. Bones and similar chews are a great option if your dog will use them.
You can also take them on a walk if they are able. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but many dogs are plenty distracted by walks. You can also take a slow, winding walk to distract your dog for longer.
Sometimes, just a change in scenery is enough. If your dog likes car rides, you can take them on one. However, some of these dogs are more stressed out by cars than others.
3. Offer Some Water
A panting dog can become dehydrated quickly, even if they aren’t panting because they are hot. Therefore, we recommend offering them water as much as possible to keep them hydrated. If your dog isn’t interested in drinking, be sure to have water nearby for them to take advantage of. Dogs that are offered water are less likely to be stressed out.
If your dog needs water and it isn’t there, then they may become even more stressed out.
4. Visit the Vet
If your canine is commonly getting stressed out, it may be time to visit a vet. Your vet can prescribe medication to dogs with serious anxiety issues. If your dog’s stress is due to a medical condition, your vet can treat that, as well. There are many steps that your vet can take to make your canine calm down and relax more often. Sometimes, targeted medication is the way to go. In this way, you can give your canine the medication only when they are stressed. However, very high-strung dogs may benefit from daily medication or behavioral training.
We highly recommend giving your vet a call if you believe that your dog’s anxiety isn’t normal.
5. Try Anxiety Wraps
On the market today, you can find lots of wraps that are designed specifically for dogs with anxiety. These wraps work by providing gentle pressure to your dog and giving them a “hug.” While these don’t always work and don’t work for extreme stress, they can be helpful when paired with other methods.
You can also put the shirt on before your dog becomes stressed out. In this way, you can help ensure that your canine is properly prepared for the potential of stress.
6. Try Supplements
There are several supplements that can help some dogs with stress. Sometimes, dogs with certain deficiencies can become more stressed. Therefore, fixing these nutritional problems can help your dog handle stress a bit better. Similarly, sometimes dogs with increased levels of certain nutrients can handle stress better.
Usually, supplements aimed at treating stress have higher levels of these nutrients in them. Of course, you should also feed your dog quality dog food to help ensure that they are meeting all of their nutritional needs.
7. Try Calming Pheromones
Not all dogs respond readily to pheromones. However, some dogs respond to them extremely well, making them a good choice in some instances. These pheromones are synthetic versions of the pheromones produced by mother dogs, which keep their puppies calm and happy. Therefore, we highly recommend that you at least try these if your dog is commonly stressed out.
Calming pheromones usually come in the form of a collar, which ensures that your dog is always surrounded by the pheromones. For these to work, your dog does have to wear the collar practically all the time. Therefore, this doesn’t work well for dogs that are only stressed at certain times.
Dogs can pant when they are stressed. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to calm them down. For instance, you can distract them and ensure that they are meeting their nutritional needs. Veterinary help may be recommended in extreme cases, such as if your dog is stressed more than they aren’t. If your dog’s anxiety is interfering with their life, you may want to speak to your vet.
With that said, your main goal shouldn’t be to change the panting itself. Instead, you should pay attention to the underlying cause of the anxiety and fix that, if possible. Some dogs are more sensitive to stress than others, though.
Featured Image Credit: michaelbarrowphoto, Shutterstock