Why is My Dog Panting So Much?

Two months ago after coming back from office something very unusual occurred. My dog was panting heavily making a harsh and loud sound that I couldn’t ignore.

Without any delay, I gave him cold water, tried to make him calm, but his rate of panting was not decreasing at all. After waiting for some hours, I got worried and called the vet to arrange a checkup.

Even after returning home with my dog safe and not panting anymore, it wasn’t enough for me and I wanted to know more about what had happened.

So I started looking for the reasons for excessive panting and came across with a lot of reasons for this to happen.

Without stretching anymore, let me share with you the reasons why dogs may pant exaggeratedly sometimes.

Normal vs. Abnormal Panting

Panting is the process of taking rapid and shallow breathing enhancing the evaporation of the water on the tongue, the mouth and the upper respiratory tract for regulating the temperature of the body.

It can be said that dogs pant to maintain their homeostasis as they don't sweat like human beings when the temperature of their body rises. Panting is one of the most efficient ways of circulating air through the body of a dog, so they do it often.

Panting can be classified into normal and abnormal panting. As mentioned before, when the dog wants to get fresher, it will pant to regulate temperature. This is simple and not agitated, so you could say it is normal panting.

On the other hand, abnormal or excessive panting is a pathological condition that might occur due to any physical or emotional disturbance. In the worst scenario, it could be a disease.

While normal panting is a regular process for most dogs, abnormal panting can never be overlooked as this might be life-threatening for your dog.

Signs and Symptoms

It is essential to know the difference between normal and abnormal panting. One can recognize abnormal panting through the following signs and symptoms of your dogs. The symptoms can be:

  • Your dog exerts start to get agitated while panting.
  • Panting heavily at inappropriate times for no reason.
  • The panting sounds loud and harsh.

Causes of Abnormal Panting

There are different reasons due to which dogs pant heavily. Some of the important reasons are:


Dogs are more likely to feel hot than us as their bodies are covered with fur and their body temperature is usually higher.

When the temperature of a dog's body rises to 109 degrees F or higher, it can result in a heatstroke. This bounds the dog to pant heavily to bring their body into normal temperature.

A heatstroke can occur due to overheating, excessive thirst, rapid heartbeat, or dark-colored tongue. This is one of the main reasons for a dog to start panting excessively.


Sweating is something that normally happens in humans to get rid of the excess of heat in the body while or after exercising. Likewise, dogs pant heavily after exercise so they can keep themselves fresh both internally & externally.

Their tongue comes out loosely to take air from outside for bringing back their body to a normal and relaxed condition. But when the exercise is strenuous and challenging, you may see your dog panting heavily.

This is normal, and shouldn’t be much of a bother. Unless, of course, your dog starts coughing or starts looking dangerously ill after exercising.


Dogs pant heavily when they are not comfortable or when they are in pain. In other words, it can be said that excessive panting at an odd time such as nights or early mornings can be a sign that your dog is suffering from pain.

This is one of the first signs you should look for, as pain can be due to many reasons, some of them life-threatening.

Cushing’s Syndrome

This happens when adrenal glands, located at the top of the kidney, release too much cortisol. If your dog has this, he’s under a condition called hyper-adrenocorticism or Cushing's disease.

Too much cortisol hormone can create different pathological symptoms, and one of the most common is excessive panting along with weight gain, hair loss, increase urination, and thirst, etc.

This is often not life-threatening, but it can be harmful if it is not treated correctly. We recommend bringing your dog to the vet to learn how to treat it.

Heart Disease

We are well aware of the facts and remedies of different heart diseases humans suffer from. What many people ignore, however, is that dogs may also suffer from heart diseases. And they can cause panting in excess.

This can be pretty dangerous, and should be looked for immediately. If you know your dog has a heart disease, or you suspect it – then panting can come directly from that and be slightly dangerous. 

Larynx Disorder

This is a type of disorder that causes due to inappropriate opening and closing of the muscles of the larynx. This disorder creates excessive panting as the dogs can’t breathe properly due to restricted airflow.

Moreover, fluid accumulation deprives the transfer of oxygen to the bloodstream which also raises the panting rate. So you’ll very likely to see your dog struggling to breathe but also painting uncontrollably in the process.


When the volume of red blood cells is low in dogs, the amount of hemoglobin becomes insufficient and can’t carry sufficient oxygen to the blood tissue. This causes oxygen starvation which ends up in panting, weakness, and difficulty to move.

Anemia may be a symptom of many other diseases and reasons, so you should look into it as soon as possible.


Use of some drugs can cause excessive panting as their side effects. Like prednisone or long term use of ACE inhibitors. Don’t ever administer drugs to your dog without knowing the side effects and the proper quantity.


The high amount of fat or cholesterol in the body is associated with malfunction of the lungs that could create a breathing problem. Overweight dogs just like people may also suffer from many diseases and conditions.

Obese dogs find themselves more tired compared to other dogs and tend to pant heavily at a faster rate. This is normal and should be treated with diet and mild exercise.


The functions of our body as well as other animals like dogs declines with increasing age. Aging in dogs causes elevation of their panting as they do not oxygenate or respire at the same rate as they used to in their young age.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This disease is normally seen in aged dogs and is one of the reasons for panting a lot. The affected dogs develop sleep cycle disturbances and restlessness that could make them pant heavily.

Toxin Ingestion

Due to the dog’s inquisitive nature, they are prone to eat all the oddest things that could come with toxic or poisonous ingredients.  

Sometimes, their bodies start to pant excessively in search of getting rid of these toxins or poisons. So if your dog ate something that was possibly dangerous for them, panting can be a side effect of that.

How to Keep your Dog from Panting

As you know by now, a dog’s panting can be linked to possible life-threatening diseases and conditions. If you want to prevent your dog from suffering that, you can do this:

  • Don’t keep your dogs under high temperatures to avoid a heatstroke.
  • Train them to learn the difference between bad and healthy foods.
  • Avoid giving any medicines without consulting doctors.
  • Keep checking heart rate and pulse of your dogs regularly.


We always take care of our dogs just like a family member that always makes us concern about their health. If you see your dogs are very distressed, coughing and heavily panting at an inappropriate time, then it is better to call a vet so you can find the reason behind it.

Whatever the vet tells you, it’s critical to keep your dog from suffering panting by following our advice. So be conscious of the above-mentioned reasons and take care of your dogs accordingly.

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