dog is panting a lot

What To Do When Your Dog Is Panting A Lot

You’ve probably seen your furry friend panting after a game of fetch or on those hot summer days. Panting is how dogs cool themselves down and catch their breath, much like you’d huff and puff after sprinting to catch the bus.

But what if you see your dog pant more than usual? Is this normal panting, or is it time to get worried?

You may be wondering why your dog is panting a lot and especially concerned about your dog’s breathing.

One key fact about doggy pants: while often normal, heavy or excessive panting in dogs, can signal something’s not right. This article will dive into the why’s of your pup’s panting behavior – from the harmless to the concerning – helping you understand when it’s just Fido cooling off or if it may be time for a urgent veterinary care.

Keep reading; we’re here to clear up confusion and keep tails wagging!

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs pant to cool down, show they’re excited, or recover from exercise. This is normal behavior.

  • If your dog pants a lot without exercising or in cool places, it might be stressed, sick, or have parasites. You should watch out for this kind of panting.

  • Heavy panting while resting could mean your dog has a health issue like heart disease which could lead to heart failure, or is in pain. This needs vet attention immediately.

  • Changes in how your dog pants can be serious. Look for other bad signs like not eating, acting strange, or heavily engaging stomach muscles, and call the vet if you see them.

  • Quick care from a vet can help fix problems that cause too much panting. It’s important to know when unusual panting happens so you can act fast.

Normal Reasons for Dog Panting Excessively

why your dog is panting a lot

It turns out that our furry friend’s panting might just be a natural way to shed excess heat or express their excitement after playing fetch. But when this typical behavior shifts into overdrive, it’s time to pay closer attention.

Cooling down

Dogs can’t sweat like us pet owners, so they pant to release body heat and regulate their body temperature. Think of it as their built-in air conditioning system. Heavy breathing moves air over the moist tissues in their lungs and airways, speeding up heat dissipation through evaporation thereby helping keep your dog cool.

This cooling process helps prevent healthy dogs from overheating during exercise or on hot days. Just like you feel cooler when a fan blows over your skin, dogs feel cooler as panting moves air through their bodies.

Your pup’s excitement after playtime or a good run might also have them huffing and puffing. This is perfectly normal and shows they’re just trying to cool down after burning off some energy.

Keep an eye out for any changes from this usual behavior, which could signal an underlying health condition.

Moving on from regular panting due to activity, let’s explore what unusual panting looks like.

Excitement or exercise

why your dog is panting a lot

Just like cooling down is a part of their body temperature regulation, most dogs also pant when they’re excited or after getting some good exercise. Think about how your dog pants and jumps around when you grab the leash for a walk.

That’s excitement at work! And once you’re back from that jog or fun game of fetch, your furry friend might still be panting away. This helps them catch their breath and calm down.

Exercise makes your dog’s heart pump faster and muscles work harder. So it’s normal to see them breathe fast after playing hard. It’s their way of getting enough oxygen into their bodies and making sure everything cools off properly.

Just give them some time to relax, and they’ll be back to normal before you know it.

Abnormal Reasons for Excessive Panting

Sometimes, if a dog is excessively panting or has noisy breathing, it might be a signal of an underlying cause or issues that go beyond the normal reasons. It could hint at health complications ranging from hormonal imbalances to serious respiratory conditions.

Stress or anxiety

Why your dog is panting a lot

Dogs feel stress and anxiety just like people do. Your furry friend might suffer from excessive panting more when they are anxious. Loud noises, new places, or changes at home can all trigger a dog’s anxiety. You may notice extra licking or pacing with the panting heavily too.

Panting helps them cope by lowering their body temperature and calming themselves down.

It’s important to keep an eye on your dog if you see your dog excessively panting without a clear reason. Panting excessively could hint at hidden stress that you need to address. Sometimes talking to a certified dog behaviorist can help figure out what is scaring your pooch and how to make them feel better.

If your dog seems really scared or pants way too much, it might be time for veterinary care. They will check your dog’s heart, lungs and look for signs of anxiety in dogs like high cortisol levels from their adrenal glands.


Parasites inside your dog can cause a lot of trouble, including abnormal breathing and panting in dogs. These tiny pests steal nutrients and may damage internal organs. If your furry friend breathes too fast for no clear reason, parasites could be the culprits and often times blood tests will help you zero in on the culprit.

Keep an eye out for this unusual panting behavior. It might signal that harmful invaders like heartworms or intestinal worms are present.

Taking your dog to get tested for parasites is a smart move if you notice excessive panting. Your vet can spot these unwelcome guests using diagnostic tests and suggest the right treatment plan.

This could include medications to kill off the parasites or other therapies to help your pup feel better.

Don’t wait if you think parasites are bothering your companion animal; prompt veterinary care can protect their health and comfort.

Health conditions

why your dog is panting a lot

Beyond parasites, excessive panting in dogs can point to more serious health issues. Some dogs suffer from heart problems like congestive heart failure or cardiomyopathy, which make it hard for them to breathe properly.

They might pant more as their bodies try to get enough oxygen. Other conditions like Cushing’s disease affect hormone levels and can cause increased respiratory effort.

Health concerns such as respiratory infections, lung tumors, laryngeal paralysis, too much cortisol and diseases of the adrenal glands may also lead to your dog’s excessive panting. If you own breeds like boxers or Boston terriers with short noses, watch out for breathing trouble due to their shape.

Dogs feeling pain or dealing with illnesses often breathe fast too. Noisy open mouth breathing a clear sign that something isn’t right inside your dog’s body and needs attention quickly.

When to Seek Veterinary Attention

Understanding your dog’s normal respiratory rate is important, but being able to recognize abnormal breathing can be critical for their health. If you notice anything unusual about your dog’s panting pattern or it’s accompanied by other alarming signs, it might signal that a trip to the vet is necessary.

Don’t hesitate; prompt veterinary care could make all the difference.

Panting while resting or sleeping

why your dog is panting a lot

Your dog’s excessive panting while resting or sleeping can be a red flag. It might mean your furry friend is in pain, feeling sick, or just not comfortable. If your pup’s heavy breathing or it seems like they’re having trouble breathing, this could be serious.

Dogs should breathe easily when they’re taking a snooze or chilling out. Keep an eye on them if you spot signs such as coughing, heavy panting, slower breaths, or any change in their usual panting pattern.

Suddenly waking up and panting can signal something’s not right with your dog. It’s especially worrying if they’re also acting strange during the day or showing less interest in playtime and walks.

Your buddy may need help from the vet to figure out what’s causing this problem – it could be anything from heart issues to lung disease. Don’t wait too long to get professional advice; early checks often lead to quicker fixes for whatever might be troubling your pet.

Changes in panting behavior

Dogs often pant to cool down or after a lot of play, but sometimes changes in this behavior can be worrisome. If you notice your dog panting more than usual without a clear reason, it might mean they’re in discomfort or feeling sick.

Watch out to see if the panting persists, even when your pet is resting or sleeping.

Look for signs like coughing, wheezing, or trouble catching their breath. These could point to serious health issues like heart disease or respiratory disorders. A sudden increase in pant rate or very deep pants may signal pain or distress.

If the way your dog pants changes and you feel uneasy about it, trust your instincts and contact your vet right away.

Other concerning symptoms

why your dog is panting a lot

Your dog might show other signs that it’s in trouble. Look out for a droopy body, dull eyes, or not wanting to play. These can be clues that your pet is not just tired but may be sick.

If you see them acting strange, like hiding more or snapping when touched, they could be hurting inside. Dogs that throw up often or seem dizzy need a vet to check them out.

Changes in eating habits are also red flags; if they stop eating or drink lots of water all at once, something’s not right. Heavy panting along with these signs means you should get help fast.

It’s best to call your local veterinary clinic and describe what’s happening with your furry friend.

Next up is understanding key moments when it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care for your panting dog.


Dogs pant to cool off, get excited, or after running around. Sometimes, panting means stress, sickness, or even parasites are bothering them. If you see your dog panting more than usual or while resting, it’s time to check in with the vet immediately.

Other bad signs include a change in how they pant and any strange new symptoms. Quick help can fix many of these problems before they get worse. So keep an eye on your furry friend’s breathing and stay ready to act if something seems off!


Why is my dog panting so much?

Your dog might be panting a lot because of heat, exercise, excitement, or stress. However, if it keeps up without a clear reason, it could mean health issues like respiratory distress or hormonal problems such as Cushing’s disease.

When should I worry about my dog’s panting?

You should be concerned if your dog has difficulties breathing that continue over time or seem abnormal. Look out for heavy and fast breathing when they haven’t been active.

What will the vet do if my dog has trouble breathing?

At the animal hospital, the vet will give your dog a physical examination to find out why it’s struggling to breathe. They might need oxygen therapy or other treatments depending on what’s wrong.

Could something serious cause my dog to pant more than usual?

Yes, serious conditions like pneumonia in dogs can cause noticeably labored breathing and require hospitalization sometimes with intravenous fluids and medicines.

Are some dogs more likely to have trouble with their breathing?

Brachycephalic breeds—a fancy for saying dogs with short noses like Bulldogs and Pekingese—often have more breathing difficulties due to their facial shape, which can lead them to pant more often.

Is there anything else that could make my pet breathe heavily apart from being tired or hot?

Definitely! Dogs may also breathe hard due to fear, anxiety-induced adrenaline release, pain, diseases impacting hormones such as Addison’s disease, blood sugar imbalances, cancers, trauma leading to oxygen deprivation, and milk fever in nursing pets, among other conditions needing attention by someone with a doctorate in veterinary medicine for proper care.

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