Watching your husky pant relentlessly can be quite worrying. This is a common question asked by husky owners, so in this article, I explain the causes of excessive panting, when to worry, and if there’s anything you can do to help.
Huskies pant primarily to cool themselves down, but panting can also occur for many other reasons. Panting can happen when excited, exhausted, nervous, stressed, and in response to unfamiliar events. It may also be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Why Your Husky is Panting So Much
Humans are great at recognizing things that aren’t right. And when your husky starts panting for longer than usual, or it seems out of place, we will be quick to notice and question it.
Let’s take a look at all the possible reasons for panting before moving on to whether or not you should seek further help, or if there’s anything you can do.
⭐ Why do huskies pant in the first place?
Most panting is to cool down. Dog’s cool down in two primary ways, they sweat through their paws, and they pant. In rare cases, panting could be a sign of further health issues and isn’t necessarily related to cooling down, more on that shortly.
⭐ When you can expect to see your husky panting
You can expect to find your husky panting in any of the following situations:
- After exercising
- During warm temperatures
- Your husky has spent time in the sun
- After playing or training
- Whenever he gets excited or in anticipation for something
- When traveling in the car
- When meeting new dogs or people
- In response to unfamiliar events: Fireworks, loud noises, or anything remotely frightening.
As you can see, there are many moments when it’s normal for your husky to be panting.
I will shortly discuss when panting becomes excessive and the signs to look out for.
The Primary Cause of Panting (For Huskies)
Siberian huskies are the original snow dogs of the world, but yet most of them live in hotter countries. At first, this doesn’t sound great, but it’s been that way for a long time, and huskies are much better adapting to heat than you may think. (whether it’s right or wrong is a different topic, for a different day!)
Huskies have thick double coats that of course keep them warm in freezing arctic conditions. But it has another amazing ability as well, it actually helps to keep them cool in hot conditions too. That’s why their coat has two layers. Each layer plays an important role, and when the soft fluffy undercoat sheds, it leaves just the topcoat. This allows for excellent air circulation along the skin and allows heat to easily leave the body. Exactly why a husky should never be shaved.
But, having said that, huskies still do get very hot, and this is when they will use further ways to cool down. Our vision isn’t good enough to see dogs sweating through their paws, but we will certainly see them pant!
Also, huskies are a medium to large dog, and panting is more commonly seen in medium to large breeds compared to smaller breeds. In general, bigger dogs pant more.
When Panting is a Sign of Something Worse
Although panting is quite normal and in most cases fine, it still helps to know when to be concerned or contact your veterinarian.
⭐ Heatstroke & Dehydration
Heatstroke is different from mere overheating. Heatstroke will negatively affect other aspects of his behavior. Panting can be a symptom of heatstroke and or dehydration.
You may notice your husky’s tongue to be bright red, his saliva will turn incredibly thick or sticky. He may be physically weak and find it hard to get up and walk. He may also experience vomiting or diarrhea. Some symptoms of dehydration will include sticky gums, lethargy, and sunken looking eyes.
If your husky is panting constantly and displays any of the above symptoms, then it could be heatstroke and dehydration. It’s recommended to call your veterinarian for further advice.
⭐ Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are broad topics and can be brought on by many different things. Things such as a lack of exercise, boredom, spending too much time alone, life-changing events like moving house, or the addition or loss of another pet or family member. Just like stress can affect our bodies in many physical ways, it can do the same with dogs too. Excessive panting is a symptom of stress or anxiety.
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint the root cause of stress and make the appropriate changes, and other times it’s harder. If you notice your husky panting excessively when the situation doesn’t seem right for it, then it could indicate stress or anxiety is the reason.
If there are no obvious reasons that jump out to you about why your husky maybe stressed, then it’s best to call your veterinarian for extra help.
⭐ Allergies & Other Health Concerns
In some unfortunate cases, your husky’s panting could be caused by more serious health conditions like Cushing’s disease, heart disease, or pulmonary disease.
It’s also possible for panting to be brought on by allergies or fevers. Huskies, in particular, do seem to suffer from environmental allergies more than other breeds. I am not sure why, but it seems to be the case!
Spotting Excessive Panting
I know what you may be thinking, and unfortunately, there isn’t a specific amount or rate-of-panting that holds the answer.
So it all comes down to knowing when panting is appropriate and not appropriate. It helps to go back over the list mentioned earlier in the article. Does your husky fit any of the scenarios when panting is to be expected? If he doesn’t then it’s time to think about it further.
If the temperature isn’t particularly high, he isn’t showing signs of dehydration, he hasn’t been in the sun or recently exercised, played, or experienced any kind of excitement and he’s still panting fast, It’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, or give them a call.
It’s admittedly hard for us to know what’s really going on with our furry friends, and that’s why veterinarians are so important. Whenever you are unsure, it’s best to contact them.
What You Can Do About Your Husky’s Panting
Taking action when your husky is panting depends on why he’s panting and events that have just occurred.
If you’ve just been out for a long run then bring him indoors, keep him in the shade and ensure he drinks plenty of water, encourage him to lay down, which he will likely do himself anyway, and with time, the panting should reduce.
If it’s a hot summer day, don’t keep him outside for too long, and ensure he always has access to shade, water, a cool spot, and even an air-conditioned room that he can retreat to. Investing in a cooling bed is a great, inexpensive way to help your husky cool himself down.
If he’s recently become excited or you’ve just had your friends over with their dog and they’ve been playing in the yard. Encourage him to take a big drink, call him over to lay down with you, and gently stroke him.
It’s all about assisting your husky to cool down and calm down, to reduce panting. Even when you suspect something else is wrong and you require help from a veterinarian, your objective should be to keep your husky as calm and relaxed as possible.
So I hope this has cleared everything up for you. In short, panting is very normal and most of the time there will be nothing for you to worry about. There are so many situations where your husky will start panting, and that’s fine. If you suspect that your husky is panting when he really shouldn’t be, then it’s best to call your veterinarian for further advice.
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