Why Does My Dog Pant So Much

icon July 13, 2023

Panting is an essential mechanism that allows dogs to regulate their body temperature. Unlike humans, dogs lack sweat glands over most of their bodies, making panting their primary cooling system. When a dog pants, the moisture on their tongue and the inside of their mouth evaporates, helping to dissipate heat and lower their overall body temperature. However, excessive or persistent panting can be a cause for concern. Here's what you need to know about dog panting.

Why is My Dog Panting So Much?

1. Respiratory Disorders

Certain respiratory conditions, such as laryngeal paralysis, tracheal collapse, or bronchitis, can lead to increased panting. If your dog is panting excessively and also shows symptoms like coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, it's essential to have them evaluated by a vet.

How To Treat Cough In Dogs

2. Physical Exertion

After physical activity or exercise, dogs pant to recover and restore oxygen levels. Panting helps them breathe rapidly and brings more oxygen into their bodies. This type of panting is normal and should subside as the dog rests.

How Long Should Dog Pant After Exercise?

It is common for dogs to pant immediately after exercise and during the recovery period. The duration of this panting can range from a few minutes to around 15-30 minutes, depending on the dog's fitness level and the intensity of the exercise. 

3. Heat and Humidity

Dogs regulate their body temperature primarily through panting, so if the weather is hot and humid, they may pant more to cool down. This is a normal response and helps them dissipate heat.

4. Anxiety and Stress

Panting can also be a sign of anxiety or stress in dogs. When faced with fearful or stressful situations, dogs may pant excessively along with other signs such as pacing, restlessness, or drooling. It's important to identify the triggers causing stress and provide a calm environment for your dog.

dog stress

5. Heart issues

Heart problems can cause panting in dogs. If the heart is not pumping efficiently, it can lead to increased respiratory effort, resulting in excessive panting. Other signs may include coughing, lethargy, and decreased exercise tolerance.

6. Medications or allergies

Some medications may have panting as a side effect. Additionally, allergies can cause itching and discomfort, leading to increased panting.

7. Heat Stroke

8. Parasites

9. Fungal Respiratory Infection

10. Bacterial Respiratory Infection

11. Kennel Cough

Do Dogs Pant When in Pain?

Yes, dogs may pant excessively when they are in pain or discomfort. It could be due to an injury, illness, or internal discomfort. If you suspect pain or notice other signs of distress, it is best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

Why Do Dogs Pant in The Car?

Dogs may pant in the car for a variety of reasons, and heatstroke is one potential explanation. Heatstroke occurs when a dog's body temperature rises to a dangerous level, typically above 104°F (40°C), and their ability to cool down becomes overwhelmed. 

Cars can quickly become hot, especially during warm weather or when parked in direct sunlight. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise significantly within minutes, even if the windows are partially open. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke because they have a limited ability to cool down compared to humans. Their fur, lack of sweat glands (except on their paw pads), and reliance on panting make them more susceptible to overheating.

If a dog is panting excessively in the car, it could be a sign that they are feeling uncomfortable or struggling to cope with the heat. Other symptoms of heatstroke may include

Here are some steps to help a dog with heatstroke in the car:

  • Remove the dog from the car and get them to a shaded or air-conditioned area immediately.
  • Offer cool (not cold) water for them to drink.
  • Wet their body with cool water, particularly the head, neck, and paw pads.
  • Use a fan or air conditioning to help lower their body temperature.
  • Contact a veterinarian as soon as possible for further guidance and potential medical treatment.

How Can You Tell Normal Dog Panting From Excessive Panting?

Dog Behavior

If your dog has been exercising, playing, or is exposed to warm weather, panting is likely normal and slows down as your dog cools off.  It usually subsides within a few minutes after the activity or exposure to heat. However, if your dog is panting excessively without any apparent reason or in cool conditions, and continue for an extended period, lasting for hours or even persistently throughout the day, it may indicate a problem.

Other Symptoms

Excessive panting may be accompanied by other physical signs such as

  • excessive drooling
  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing, coughing
  • restlessness
  • pale gums, weakness
  • collapse

Dog Breeds

Some dog breeds are more prone to heavy panting due to their anatomy or genetics. Brachycephalic breeds (e.g., Bulldogs, Pugs) have shorter snouts and are more prone to overheating and breathing difficulties, so their panting may be more pronounced. 

How to Calm a Panting Dog?

If your dog is panting and you want to help them calm down, here are some tips you can try:

  • Turn on fans or air conditioning to lower the temperature. 
  • Reduce noise and other stimuli that may contribute to stress or anxiety.
  • Make sure your dog has access to fresh and cool water. 
  • Wet a towel with cool (not cold) water and gently place it on your dog's body, particularly on their chest, belly, or paws. 
  • Limit physical activity.
  • Gentle massage, aromatherapy (using dog-safe essential oils), or playing calming music. 


If your dog's panting persists, is excessive, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's best to seek veterinary advice. Excessive panting can be a sign of heatstroke, respiratory problems, pain, or other medical conditions, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate care.

When Should I Worry About Dog Panting?

It is normal for dogs to pant after exercise, excitement, or hot weather.

Call your veterinarian immediately if any of the following occur:

  • Your dog suddenly starts panting.
  • You think your dog may be in pain.
  • The panting is persistent and intense.
  • Your dog's tongue or gums are blue, purple, or white - an indication that your pet is not getting enough oxygen.


Do Dogs Pant When They Need to Poop?

No, dogs typically pant for different reasons, and panting is not directly related to their need to poop. 
When dogs need to poop, they may display other signs such as restlessness, circling, sniffing the ground, whining, or squatting in a specific position. 

How Long Do Dogs Pant After Giving Birth?

After giving birth, a dog may continue to pant as her body gradually returns to its normal state. This can last for a few hours or up to a day.

Do Older Dogs Pant More?

Yes, older dogs are less physically fit and less able to regulate their body temperature, which can cause them to pant more frequently, and older dogs may develop age-related conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, obesity, and respiratory disease, which can lead to difficulty breathing and panting.

Is Panting a Sign of High Blood Sugar in Dogs?

Yes, dogs with diabetes are usually obese, and overweight dogs panting excessively is usually an indication that they are struggling to provide fresh oxygenated blood to vital systems.

Is It Normal for My Dog to Pant While Nursing?

Yes, it is normal for a dog to pant while nursing her puppies. The act of nursing and caring for a litter can be physically and emotionally demanding for the mother dog. Panting is a natural way for dogs to regulate their body temperature, and the effort of nursing can increase their body heat.

Additionally, the stress and excitement of caring for puppies can contribute to panting. Panting can help the mother dog cope with the physical and emotional strain of nursing, as well as the increased activity level and attention required to care for her puppies.


While panting is a normal physiological response in dogs, it's essential to differentiate between normal panting and excessive panting that may signal a health concern. Understanding the common causes of excessive panting, such as regulating body temperature, heat and humidity, physical exertion, anxiety, and pain, can help you determine when your dog's panting is within a normal range or when it requires veterinary attention. Always be attentive to changes in your dog's behavior, monitor their environment, and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your furry companion's well-being.




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