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Why Is My Dog Panting So Much?

Are you wondering why your dog pants so much? Panting is an ingrained and reflexive behavior for healthy dogs, but excessive panting could signal an underlying health issue. In this post, I’ll explore common causes of excessive panting in dogs and offer guidance on when it’s time to consult with a veterinarian. Ready to find out why dogs pant so much, and how to help them manage it? Let’s dive in!

A black dog panting

Common Causes of Excessive Dog Panting

Your dog panting excessively can be caused by various factors, including heat and exercise, anxiety or stress, and underlying medical conditions. Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these causes below.

Heat and Exercise

Hot weather and physical activity make your dog pant more than usual. That’s because dogs release heat from their bodies through panting, which is like the dog equivalent of a human sweating to cool down. Exercise intensifies this natural process, and raises the body temperature of your pup. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs are particularly susceptible to excessive panting caused by heat and exercise due to their narrow nasal passages.

A hot summer day can cause dogs to pant excessively due to increased air temperature. Pet parents need to monitor their furry friends closely on hotter days, since excessive heat and overexertion may lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal for dogs if left untreated. That’s why it’s very important to keep your dog cool.

Providing plenty of cold water, shade during outdoor activities, and limiting exercise on particularly warm days are crucial in managing your dog’s panting during times of extreme heat or excess exertion.

Anxiety or Stress

A white dog with its tongue out

You might notice your dog panting excessively when they experience heightened levels of anxiety or stress – just like humans, their body produces too much cortisol in response to stressful situations.

If your four-legged friend starts panting during thunderstorms, as a result of loud noises, or while doing activities that are outside their regular routine (for example, going to the vet) anxiety is likely the primary cause.

In addition, certain breeds naturally exhibit more stress than others, which sometimes shows up as an increase in panting. Being consistent with routines and providing a secure environment can help alleviate their anxiety and reduce excessive panting significantly.

If you’re struggling with your pup’s anxiety, it’s useful to remember that training under professional guidance allows your dog to manage new situations better and reduces instances of panic-induced heavy breathing.

Pain or Discomfort

Dogs often pant excessively due to pain or discomfort – any type of significant injury can cause a heightened or abnormal panting response in your canine companion. Keep in mind, they may have ingested something harmful, resulting in intense abdominal pain from a troubled (or bloated) stomach, or worse – poisoning.

If you notice other symptoms like loss of appetite, sluggishness, or behavioral changes accompanying heavy breathing and excessive panting, get your furry friend to a vet immediately.

Medical Conditions

A dog looking up with its tongue out

Some medical conditions can cause excessive panting in dogs. One common condition is Cushing’s disease, where the dog’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. This can lead to increased thirst and urination, hair loss, and a pot-bellied appearance.

Another potential cause of your dog excessively panting is laryngeal paralysis, which affects their ability to breathe properly and causes noisy open-mouth breathing. Heart failure can also result in heavy panting, as the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body. Your vet can determine if your dog is suffering from any medical conditions that may be contributing to panting and provide the appropriate treatment.

How To Reduce Excessive Dog Panting

Providing a calm and comfortable environment for your dog will help alleviate excessive panting. Here are some tips on how to create an oasis of serenity for your precious pup and help promote their overall wellbeing:

Provide a Calm and Comfortable Environment

Create a peaceful and cozy atmosphere, and keep their surroundings quiet and free from any sources of stress or anxiety. Provide a comfortable resting area with soft bedding and their favorite toys where they can relax and feel safe. Don’t forget to set up proper ventilation and maintain a moderate temperature in the room to keep them cool.

Exercise and Weight Management

Regular exercise and weight management are essential for managing excessive dog panting. Engaging in physical activity helps to burn off excess energy, improve cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy weight for your dog.

Regular exercise can include daily walks, playtime in the backyard, or interactive games that stimulate both their body and mind. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and portion control can help alleviate excessive panting caused by obesity.

Relaxation Techniques

Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety or stress, which can contribute to heavy panting. By incorporating relaxation techniques into your dog’s routine, you can help them calm down and reduce their panting episodes.

Encourage your dog to take slow and deep breaths by placing your hand on their chest while they inhale and exhale. Another effective technique is massage therapy, which can help relax their muscles and promote overall relaxation.

A black dog with its tongue out

When Should You See a Vet?

If your pup is experiencing changes in panting behavior, showing signs of discomfort or nausea, or displaying symptoms of a serious illnesses like heart failure, it’s vital to see your vet as soon as possible.

Do the same if your dog is panting heavily when they haven’t been exercising, when the weather isn’t hot, or if they suddenly become more restless and start whining more than usual.

Other indicators that you need to take your furry friend for a panting-related vet visit include excessive drooling and saliva, smacking together or licking their lips frequently, and loss of appetite or avoiding certain foods.

Lastly, if your dog is constantly restless or can’t seem to find a comfy spot to lie down in, it’s definitely time to get your vet’s advice asap.

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive dog panting can be caused by factors such as heat and exercise, anxiety or stress, pain or discomfort, and underlying medical conditions.
  • It’s important to pay attention to changes in your dog’s panting behavior, especially if it occurs without physical exertion or hot weather.
  • Signs of nausea or discomfort, along with serious illnesses like heart failure, could also contribute to excessive panting in dogs.
  • Creating a calm and comfortable environment for your dog, consulting a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment, managing exercise and weight levels, and considering relaxation techniques are all helpful in managing excessive dog panting.


In this post, we’ve seen how excessive dog panting can be caused by a variety of factors such as heat and exercise, anxiety or stress, pain or discomfort, and underlying medical conditions. It’s important to monitor your dog’s panting behavior and seek veterinary attention if it seems abnormal or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Thankfully, by providing a calm environment, managing exercise and weight levels, and implementing relaxation techniques, you can help manage your dog’s excessive panting and keep them happy and healthy for years to come!