Dogs pant for various reasons, such as cooling off their body after a great jog.
But if your dog is panting without physical exercise provoking that, then there could be something wrong. This is especially true if you are in the process of getting your dog used to their crate.
Generally, dogs pant in their crate when they overheat, are anxious, thirsty, nauseous, or have an allergic reaction. You can remedy this by checking to make sure the crate is at a comfortable temperature, working with a trainer to fix anxiety, offering water, or checking for medical problems.
In this article, I’ll clear up any woes you may have about your dog panting - and give you advice on how to get them to stop.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Unless your dog has been chasing their tail for the past hour, there aren’t really any positive reasons as to why your dog would be panting in their crate.
Here are a few reasons that may be causing the tongue to flop out of the mouth.
Generally speaking, if you see your pup panting excessively, you should first check the temperature.
Contrary to popular belief, crates can get too hot (even in colder climates)!
If the panting is paired with drooling, heavy breathing, lethargy, disoriented behavior, or vomiting, the overheating has gotten to a dangerous level.
Certain dog breeds are more prone to overheat than others, so monitoring your dog’s breathing can be important. For example, breeds intended to live in cold climates, such as Malamutes and Samoyeds, are the most apt to overheat. Same with breeds whose breathing can be more difficult (therefore difficult to regulate temperature), such as bulldogs.
Heatstroke is very serious in our four-legged friends. If your dog is on the verge of internal shutdown from the crate being so hot, you will see pale gums, confusion, vomiting, and lots of drool. Getting your dog to the vet is pretty key here.
Sometimes panting is as simple as being thirsty.
This is why it’s pretty important to be in the know about how much water your dog is drinking! Just like us, water makes up a big portion of their body - and without it, the body cannot function. Dehydration is quite dangerous.
Panting is a strong indicator that your dog hasn’t had enough water. If you close your pup in the crate without water, they may be trying to show that they’re thirsty.
Some dogs are good with water in their crates, while others are not; determining if you should crate your dog with a bowl is pup-dependent.
Panting can signify anxious behavior, especially if it is paired with other anxiety symptoms. Other signs of anxious feelings include drooling, destruction (such as chewing at the crate), pottying in the crate, or whining.
During crate training, not all puppies may be very receptive right off the bat - they can become anxious and stressed. Panting tends to be one of the first signs of this, assuming you’ve ruled out other reasons (such as temperature and lack of water).
Dogs express feeling unwell a bit differently than people do.
If your dog is panting paired with lethargy or hanging the head low, they may be feeling nauseous.
This could be caused by eating something the tummy didn’t agree with, catching a stomach bug, or a serious internal medical condition.
Panting can sometimes be caused by an allergic reaction to something inside the dog’s crate.
Some dogs will also pant profusely if they desperately need to go to the bathroom. This can be linked to anxiety over not wanting to soil their crate but also the need to go really badly (something we can all relate to)!
This is another reason being attentive to your dog’s potty needs and making a bathroom schedule is a good idea.
Once you sort out what could be causing the crate panting, you can take the necessary steps to get your pup feeling better.
First thing is first, check the crate temperature!
As a matter of fact, I have an entire article dedicated to crate temperature. In shorthand, you can keep a crate cool by strategically placing the crate, using a fan, adding cooling mats and beds, and using a breathable blanket or reflective shade cloth.
If your dog has severe crate anxiety or separation anxiety despite all of your efforts, getting a dog trainer specializing in mediating this problem is a great idea.
Severe anxiety behavior can cause health issues in your pup, so sometimes doing it on your own can be damaging.
Make sure the trainer you work with is licensed, certified, or schooled and is specifically knowledgeable on anxious behaviors in dogs. Listen to the trainer’s advice and make sure you follow their direction - consistency is key!
Keeping your dog well-watered is an important part of keeping them healthy.
The general rule is that a dog should drink an ounce per pound that they weigh.
Although we probably don’t measure how much water is given to the dog, you should be able to eyeball it fine.
Very active dogs, those with a medical condition or are pregnant, or nursing will be drinking much more water than the average house pet.
As with any odd behavior, visiting the vet may be a good idea to rule out possible medical problems.
Some conditions can be serious, such as poisoning, which causes panting, or others can be minor, like just feeling a bit nauseous.
Panting is a key sign of not feeling well, so a check-up to ease the mind is worth doing!
Then, once the medical component is ruled out, you can look into other remedies.