Does Your Dog Pant a Lot?
8 August, 2013

It’s normal for our dogs to pant when they are thirsty or have finished exercise.  It is unusual or abnormal if your pup doesn’t pant!  Our dogs pant when they exercise, when they are hot or excited. Panting is your dog’s way to cool their body. Because dogs don’t sweat like we do the only effective way they can cool themselves is by panting. All dogs do that and it is perfectly normal.

However, if your dog is panting more heavily than usual, or without an obvious reason, he or might have some sort of illness or issue.  Only you know if the panting is normal for your pup or excessive.   It’s important to be observant of excessive or unexplained panting because it could be a symptom of a health issue.


Obesity is a common cause of excessive panting in dogs. An obese dog is more likely to over heat. Activity is also more exhausting for an overweight dog. Please consider obesity a serious health risk and keep your dog slim for all obvious reasons.  (discussed in other articles).


Heatstroke is another common cause of heavy panting. That doesn’t make it any less dangerous! Heatstroke can cause catastrophic damage to your dog’s body and can lead to brain damage and even death.

If your dog is panting heavily and you have a reason to suspect heatstroke, check for other signs. If your dog’s gums and tongue are deep red, purple or blue with thick sticky saliva, move your dog to a cool place and spray your pup with cool water or place wet rags or towels over your dog, especially near the stomach and inside of legs. Do not immerse your dog in cold water! If your dog’s temperature is over 104 degrees, take your dog to a vet immediately.


Fever is caused by your dog’s immune response. Your dog might get a fever as a response to infection or other illness. Fever can be accompanied by loss of appetite, lethargy, changes in behavior and other signs. If your dog has a fever, make sure to see a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. As with heatstroke, temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit is an emergency and needs immediate medical attention.

Respiratory or cardiovascular disorders

There are a number or respiratory and cardiovascular disorders than can cause unexplained panting in your dog. If your dog is panting for no obvious reason, or continues to pant longer than ten minutes after exercise, talk to your veterinarian.


Your dog can be panting because he is in pain. If your dog is panting and salivating excessively, retching and has a distended abdomen, he might be suffering from bloat. Bloat is a life-threatening condition and if this happens, you need to take your dog to a vet immediately!

There are many different outcomes of or causes of excessive panting in dogs. If your dog is panting excessively, or without an obvious reason, take him or her to the vet.  It’s always better to be safe and have your pup checked to make sure everything is alright with your dog.

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