Have you ever woken up to your dog panting at night? It’s probably more than just a bad dream. Especially now during storm season, panting at night could mean that your dog is stressed.
Read on to learn why dogs pant during stressful situations, specifically storms, and how you can help your dog remain calm through the night:
Why Do Dogs Pant?
Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat to control their body temperature — the only places they have sweat glands is on their nose and paws! They oftentimes resort to panting to help regulate their temperature instead. For instance, when you take your dog for walks on warmer days, you may notice that they start to pant. That’s not necessarily due to stress (though walks can be stressful at times), but rather the fact that they’re trying to cool themselves down. Dogs may also pant after any type of exercise, whether walks, running around at the dog park, or even playtime, to catch their breath and get their breathing back to normal, just like you do after exercise. Panting in instances like these is a normal and healthy response.
However, panting in room temperature or during rest could mean there’s something else causing it, including stress. In fact, it’s one of the telltale signs of stress in dogs. To decipher whether or not the panting is related to stress, consider the situation or environment your dog is in and if they’re displaying any additional signs of stress as well. Shaking, whining, repetitive yawning, and pacing are some that typically accompany panting when it stems from stress. You should consult with your veterinarian if your dog starts panting and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious culprit behind it, as other underlying causes, such as pain or disease, could be to blame.
Can Storms Cause Panting at Night?
It’s a tale that’s all too familiar for pet parents each spring: you and your dog are sleeping soundly when all of the sudden it starts storming out of nowhere and it’s now impossible to get your dog to relax and go back to sleep.
Storms are incredibly stressful for many dogs and can certainly cause them to display signs of stress like panting. If it seems like storms are always louder at nighttime when all you and your dog want to do is sleep, that’s because they actually are. Storms that hit at night are more likely to produce hail, damaging winds, and flooding rain.
Sometimes storms in the middle of the night can be a bit unnerving for us when they cause branches to come crashing down or make the house shake. For your dog, it’s ten times worse. Loud noises are scary for dogs because they have no way of knowing what they are or when they will end. To make matters worse, your house is probably quieter at nighttime than during the day, so your dog is that much more attuned to the rumbling noises outside. And, because dogs can hear sounds four times further away than humans, yours may start getting stressed out before you even hear the first clap of thunder.
How to Help Keep Your Dog from Panting at Night
Trying to calm your dog at night can be tricky when you’re tired but want to make sure your dog is okay before falling back asleep. While it may be unrealistic to think that your dog will doze through the entirety of a loud storm (or anything else that’s making them stressed), there are ways for you to help calm them so you can both still get a good night’s sleep. In addition to our five-step storm calming recipe, consider the following:
- Go for a longer walk a few hours before bedtime, so your dog will be more tired and likely to sleep through the night.
- Also make sure your dog is active throughout the day and has lots of playtime for the same reason!
- Give your dog a massage to help them de-stress and fall back asleep. A dog’s ears, paws, and top of head are the main pressure points.
- Experiment with the timing of when you give Kradle® products. If you look at the forecast and see a storm is expected at night, try giving your dog two Chews or Toppers in the evening as opposed to morning. Remember: if you know the situation will be highly stressful, consider upping the dosage. Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to CBD Dosage for Dogs. Storms in the middle of the night can also be unexpected. In those instances, Melts are the best solution. With an extra dose of CBD, our Melt strips will calm your dog down the quickest.