Why Is My Dog Panting So Much: Reasons & Solutions

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Tetiana Zhudyk

Imagine you’re out for a night walk with your dog, Max, on a cool evening. Max usually pants to regulate his body temperature, especially after he returns from a happy run. But this time, you see your dog breathing heavily, though it’s not very hot, and you’ve been walking at a light pace. Such panting can indicate Max is in distress, which is usually a hidden health problem. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to recognize a problem.

By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of when to enjoy your walks with peace of mind and when it might be time to consult a vet.

Are you unsure who to talk to when you have problems or are facing issues with your furry friend? Install Woofz, a dog training app that will help you understand your pet better, monitor their health with the Health Check feature, and get advice from the Woofz dog assistant.

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Why Dogs Pant: 6 Possible Reasons

A dog panting a lot may be a sign of underlying issues, ranging from environmental factors to serious health concerns.

Knowing the possible causes can help pet lovers figure out when their furry friend requires help or medical intervention, so let’s discuss some of them.

Environmental factors

The environment is an important factor in a dog’s panting behavior. Hot temperatures, high humidity, and poor ventilation can all cause dogs to pant. That’s why a cool and comfortable environment is essential, particularly in the summer.

Breed-specific traits

Panting is more common in certain breeds, especially brachycephalic breeds with short noses and flattened faces, for example, bulldogs, pugs, and French bulldogs. The way their faces are shaped can make breathing more difficult, which means they naturally pant a lot.

Heat exhaustion or heatstroke

Dehydration or sunstroke is common, especially on hot days or following energetic activities. The dog’s body tries to regulate temperature, which leads to the dog panting a lot, but if the panting is severe and the animal is lethargic or unresponsive, urgent vet attention is important.

Anxiety or stress

Anxiety or stress may also lead to abnormal panting. Like humans, animals suffer from stress that can also manifest as physical symptoms such as rapid breathing. This happens as a result of the intrusion of loud sounds, new surroundings, or separation fear.

Respiratory issues

Respiratory conditions, such as asthma or bronchitis, make it hard for an animal to breathe normally, and, as a result, it leads to the dog breathing more heavily as they try to get enough oxygen.

Medical conditions

Finally, excessive panting can be caused by several medical conditions, including heart disease, Cushing’s disease, or respiratory diseases. You should contact a vet to closely observe such symptoms and get a thorough checkup to determine the cause of the problem and the suitable treatment.

How to Address Excessive Panting

Now that you know the most common reasons why dogs pant, you also need to know how to help your dog.

Monitor your dog’s behavior

Here are steps to take to track your pup’s health:

  • A good approach would be to investigate your dog’s pattern of panting—dog panting at night or in the morning, how often they do it, for how long, and the intensity of breathing, as well as other symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, drooling, vomiting, or collapsing.

  • In addition to that, you should also be aware of what triggers or makes the condition worse, e.g., heat, exercise, stress, or excitement.

Pro Tip: Use the Woofz Health Check journal to record your dog's panting and other symptoms to help you and your vet identify the possible cause and the best treatment plan.

Prevent overheating and dehydration

Do the following to keep your dog cool:

  • Don’t let your dog be exposed to high temperatures and humidity, especially during the summer season.

  • In addition, your dog should always have access to fresh water, and during hot days, keep them in a cool, shaded area.

  • Never leave your dog in a car, even with the windows slightly open, as the temperature can quickly become a killer.

  • Reduce the intensity of your dog's physical activity and exercise during hot days and avoid walking them on hot pavement or asphalt, which can burn their paws.

Create a calming environment

Anxiety is another common initiator of panting in dogs when agitated, caused by different reasons such as loud noises, strangers, separation, or even changes in routine.

Here’s how to help your dog relax:

  • To lower your dog's anxiety and stress levels, you have to create a peaceful and comfortable atmosphere in which they will feel safe and relaxed.

  • Other natural remedies, like aromatherapy, music, and pheromones, are also beneficial for helping your dog through stressful situations.

  • Further, you shouldn’t punish or scold your dog for panting or other signs of anxiety, as this can only make them more scared and will further aggravate the problem.

  • However, you need to praise your dog for their calm and positive behavior and ensure that they’re provided with daily physical activity and mental stimulation so that they are not bored and frustrated.

Look for veterinary care

If your dog's panting is too much, is continuing, and is accompanied by other signs of distress, you should consult your vet as soon as possible.

  • Your vet will check over your dog and conduct tests like blood work, X-rays, or an ultrasound to determine the underlying condition and rule out any serious complications.

  • Additionally, your vet will recommend the proper treatment and management options for your dog’s condition, which can differ depending on the cause, severity, and prognosis.

When to Be Concerned About a Dog Breathing Heavy

Dogs may pant heavily for different reasons, including excitement, exercise, heat, or stress. Nevertheless, some cases of excessive breathing can be associated with a severe health issue that needs urgent veterinary attention.

You should be concerned about your dog’s breathing if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Rapid or shallow breathing that persists even after resting

  • Noisy or labored breathing that sounds like wheezing, snoring, or choking

  • Blue or pale gums that indicate a lack of oxygen

  • Coughing or gagging that may indicate a respiratory infection, heart disease, or a foreign object in the throat

  • Excessive panting that may indicate pain, fever, poisoning, or heatstroke

If you see any of these signs in your dog, do not hesitate to call your vet or the emergency clinic. Panting may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition that should be treated urgently.


Panting is a normal and necessary activity for dogs; however, knowing why your dog is panting too much is very important. Being conscious of the different reasons for panting and identifying when it may indicate a medical problem will help you keep your pet healthy and happy.

So, if you’re concerned, ask for assistance in the Woofz app or contact the vet for professional advice.

Written by

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Tetiana Zhudyk

Woofz Content Manager with a deep passion for dogs and a strong affinity for positive reinforcement training methods.

Reviewed by

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Annie-Mae Levy

Experienced dog trainer with Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Behavior. Diplomaed dog nutritionist. CFBA Accredited Canine Behaviorist