Why do dogs pant?
Dogs are mammals and they have four stomachs: small intestine, large intestine, ileum (small bowel) and rectum. When food enters the small intestine or stomach, it passes through these organs. After digestion, the food leaves the body through these organs.
The main function of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from food into the blood stream. The small intestine is lined with cells called villi which allow for absorption of nutrients. These cells produce substances called short chain fatty acids (SCFA).
SCFA are chemical compounds that are used by bacteria in the colon to break down plant material such as cellulose and lignin. They also aid in fermentation of carbohydrates, starches, sugars and proteins into simple sugars and amino acids.
When food enters the large intestine, it is digested by bacteria in the large intestine. Bacteria in the large intestine convert food into energy. Energy comes from glucose, fatty acids and other nutrients found in foods.
Food left over after digestion goes to the liver where it is stored until needed again.
The small intestines are filled with lymphatic fluid that carries waste products out of the body through urine and feces. The mucous membranes that line the small intestines produce mucus to protect and help move food through.
When a dog pants, it is trying to cool itself down. As the dog breathes, air is taken in through the nose and passed through the lungs. The air then passes through the windpipe into the body.
After that, it is taken down through the trachea and bronchi and into the lungs.
Air passes over the alveoli in the lungs. The alveoli are tiny air sacks that transfer oxygen from the air to the blood. After this, the blood is sent back up to the heart and then back into the body.
The movement of air in and out of the lungs helps to keep them clean and free of germs. It also nourishes and refreshes the body.
A dog pants heavily when it is hot. The panting helps to keep the dog’s body cool. When a dog pants, saliva is evaporated off its tongue.
This evaporation cools the dog’s tongue and in turn the dog’s body. It also gets rid of odors, cleans the tongue and gives the dog a sense of taste.
A dog pants heavily when it is stressed out. Dogs also pant when they are in a situation that is overwhelming to them, such as a visit to the veterinarian. They also pant when they are sleepy and trying to stay awake, or when they have been playing vigorously.
A dog’s ears are very sensitive. When a dog hears a sound that it doesn’t like, it will press its ears back against its head. If the dog is pressed far enough back, the ears will point almost perpendicular with its head.
This is an indication that the dog is afraid or uncomfortable with what it is hearing. Some dogs press their ears back during a storm. They may have been subjected to loud noises before, such as gun shots, and the storm reminds them of these unpleasant things.
Dogs will also pull their ears back when they are trying to relax or sleep. It is a sign that they don’t want to be bothered and they may snap at you if you try to wake them. This, too, is a sign of fear or apprehension.
Dogs will turn their heads from side to side and move their ears around freely if they hear a sound that interests them. This is an indication that they are curious about the sound and are trying to locate its source. Some dogs have more mobile ears than others.
This can be an indication of how curious or alert the dog is.
A dog’s eyes display its mood very well. When a dog is excited, its eyes will appear bright and animated. When a dog is sad or depressed, the eyes are dull or lack lustre.
Some dogs have pink eyes, while others have brown or some other color.
Eyes are also used to indicate interest in something or someone. A dog may stare at you if it wants attention or if it thinks that you have food for it.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The central and the reflex mechanism of panting (M Hammouda – The Journal of physiology, 1933 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Influence of proprioceptive vagal afferents on panting and accessory panting movements in mammals and birds (WA Hiestand, WC Randall – American Journal of …, 1942 – journals.physiology.org)
- Three essays: On picturesque beauty: On picturesque travel: and On sketching landscape: to which is added a poem on landscape painting (W Gilpin – 1794 – books.google.com)