When we think of Border Collies we can so easily imagine a dog with his or her tongue out, panting heavily after another frenetic runaround! Do Border Collies pant a lot? What signifies excessive panting? Why is my Border Collie breathing fast? In this article, we explore panting and breathing rates within this energetic, intelligent, herding breed.
Do Border Collies pant a lot? Yes, Border Collies are known for their panting often associated with bouts of heavy exercise which they crave and need from their origin as an outside herding dog. Panting helps regulate body temperature and can also be an expression of excitement. Excessive panting without stimuli or shallow breathing can indicate a respiratory or other illness, which would need to be checked by a veterinarian.
Panting is a natural behavior in all dogs, although some breeds have a tendency to pant more than others. If you have ever wondered about Border Collies and their panting behavior and warning signs to look out for… then you have come to the right place!
Do Border Collies Pant A Lot?
If you are looking into adopting a Border Collie, young or old, you may wonder whether this amazing energetic breed pants a lot. As with all dogs and all animals, each collie is an individual with unique traits, behaviors and tendencies. However, there are certainly distinct trends within breeds. And anyone who has spent much time with a Border Collie will realise that frequent panting is one of those distinct traits
A lot of the time, it depends on how much exercise they are used to. A dog’s panting is intended for cooling off and does not necessarily indicate dehydration. That said, just like people, dogs can overheat quickly during prolonged exercise or periods in warm climates so it’s important to watch your pet closely for signs of excessive panting or exhaustion.
Usually, border collies pant for four distinct reasons; and remember, often it can be a combination of two or three of these factors together:
Exercise Induced Panting
Being such a high energy breed, and sometimes covering well over 20 miles a day, panting is a way for collies to get their breath back quickly and restore blood oxygen levels. This can also happen during training sessions when collies are working on new tricks being mentally stimulated as well as physically. A lot of the time, it depends on how much exercise they’re used to.
Heat Induced Panting
They use panting to even out their breathing, but this is much deeper than exercise panting. A dog’s panting is intended for cooling off and does not necessarily indicate dehydration. That said, just like people, dogs can overheat quickly during prolonged exercise or periods in warm climates so it’s important to watch your pet closely for signs of excessive panting or exhaustion. Always make sure your dog has access to plenty of water and shade, especially during high temperatures and in hot climates.
Excitement Induced Panting
This can be in the morning when they wake up or when expecting their favorite treat or meeting another friend in the park! When collies get overexcited or hyperactive, which will happen quite a lot, panting will be one of several behaviors collies exhibit, especially when with other dogs. Dogs get excited and yawn when their faces are close together and they look at each other. When some dogs get extremely excited, their breathing quickens and starts to sound like they’re panting.
Illness Induced Panting
Unusual panting can also be a sign that something is wrong. If your dog has not been active and is acting lethargic and is beginning to pant, you need to get him or her checked out by the veterinarian as it could be a sign of heat stroke, dehydration or other illnesses.
Rapid Breathing in Border Collies (Why Are They Breathing Fast?)
Panting is defined as an elevated respiratory rate with an open mouth. Panting is not always exercise related, unlike heavy breathing or tachypnea (where air flow exceeds 45-60 breaths per minute). Instead, panting is primarily a means of regulating body temperature.
Panting is therefore often closely related to physical exertion as the associated increase in body temperature means heavy panting is needed to help more efficient oxygen delivery and ridding of carbon dioxide both of which are vital to exercise performance.
A Border Collie’s regular resting respiratory rate can range from 16 – 32 breaths per minute (bpm); however, this increases significantly with physical activity (both voluntary and involuntary) until it settles at anything between 60 – 70bpm. A dog that breathes excessively and exhibits labored breathing on a habitual basis may well suffer from a condition such as chronic secondary respiratory disease.
Why Do Border Collies Pant?
Panting helps regulate a collies body temperature as well as helping raise blood oxygen levels after physical exertion. Dogs only have approximately 200 sweat glands so they rely on panting to get rid of excess heat.
Why do Border Collies pant? Importantly, panting occurs when the dog’s body temperature is above the normal level, either from arousal or from exercise, and it helps to cool down a dog by increasing the airflow over the moist surfaces of their lungs. In this way panting allows your dog to better regulate his or her body temperature.
In some cases, a collie that has been physically exerted will also begin to pant.
They have a very high body surface area so they depend on panting to dissipate heat.
Border Collies have a very high respiratory rate and need to pant excessively when they get overexcited or hyperactive, which will happen quite a lot.
Unexplained Panting In Border Collies (When To See A Vet)
The first consideration for an owner if their dog is breathing fast must be: Is my dog unwell? If you have any concerns however and before you panic and immediately rush your furry friend off to see the vet, first thing you should do is take your Border Collie’s vital signs. This will require some basic equipment such as a watch with a second hand, a stopwatch (or phone app).
If your dog is panting a lot but hasn’t been doing significant exercise then this could be a response to illness or pain, a precursor to whining or other pain signifying behavior. A breathing rate of above 50-60 breaths per minute without exercise could be a sign there is something amiss. Any doubts then phone your veterinarian.
Alongside panting, light shallow breathing is also something to look out for.
My Do Border Collies Open Their Mouths Whilst Panting?
In general, it’s better for a dog to have an open mouth in order to pant effectively. Panting with a closed mouth is does not allow the membranes lining the mouth and tongue enough exposure to oxygen. The moist membranes in these tissues can trap carbon dioxide, which causes difficulty breathing and constricts blood vessels leading from the heart.
Panting with an open mouth ensures that the moist membranes lining your mouth and tongue are always exposed to enough oxygen, allowing them time to release their trapped carbon dioxide into the atmosphere instead of holding onto it within themselves.
This process maintains normal breathing rates while they’re panting, provides relief from heat by lowering body temperature through evaporating water on their skin, and most importantly prevents excessive dehydration.