What does it mean if your dog is panting

panting can be normal behavior for a dog, but it can also indicate an underlying medical problem.

So how do you know when your dog’s panting is a sign that something is wrong? Here’s what you need to know about panting in dogs.

what causes the dog to pant?

These are some common reasons why dogs pant.


panting is normal behavior in happy, active dogs. helps dogs cool down because they can’t sweat like humans.

panting allows a dog to quickly inhale, moisten, and then exhale air, which increases the evaporation of water from your dog’s nose and lungs. the evaporation of water cools the body from the inside out.

A large amount of water can evaporate in a short time when a dog is panting, so always make sure your dog has access to plenty of cool water on hot days.

This type of normal panting can be quite heavy, but the level of heavy breathing should be correlated to the air temperature or the amount of activity your dog is getting.


Dogs also pant when they’re excited. gasping is a normal behavioral response when something exciting happens, like meeting new people or receiving a gift. this type of panting can be rapid and shallow, and is often accompanied by whining.


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Similar to arousal-induced panting in dogs, dogs often pant and whimper when stressed.

If you see your dog panting, pay attention to his body language. Are your eyes wide and tired? are they looking away and yawning? Here are some common body language signs that your panting dog is stressed.

assess the situation to determine how you can make your dog more comfortable to prevent further fear or stress.


It is important to know that the dog’s panting can indicate nausea, discomfort and pain. Your veterinarian can assess if your dog is panting because he is in pain by performing a complete exam and possibly diagnostic tests.


Medications, especially prednisone or other steroids, can cause increased panting even when your dog is not overheated, excited, or stressed. this is a common side effect, and if your dog’s panting is excessive, you should talk to your vet.

heat stroke

Overheating, or heat stroke, will cause heavy panting in dogs, which can quickly lead to dehydration and death if left untreated. treatment of heat stroke requires emergency veterinary attention.

Dogs that are overheated will pant a lot and will likely appear uncomfortable in some way. they might be restless, lying down and/or not responding to you because they are so focused on cooling off.

You can prevent heat stroke on hot summer days or while walking and spending time outside by taking frequent breaks, seeking shade, and offering your dog plenty of water. do not take your dog out in high temperatures or for long periods of time. dogs with short snouts should be kept cool and hydrated on hot days, as they are more prone to heat stroke.

never leave your dog in a hot car. The interior of a car can reach scorching temperatures and threaten your dog’s life in as little as 10 to 15 minutes, even on mild days. turn on the air conditioning or leave your friend at home when you run errands.

How can you distinguish normal panting in a dog from excessive panting?

Use these tips to help determine if your dog’s panting is normal or a sign that something is wrong. If you have the sensation that your dog is panting excessively or abnormally, call your veterinarian.

take note of what your dog is doing

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panting should be correlated with outside temperature or activity. healthy dogs generally do not need to pant in the absence of exercise or emotion.

could your dog be stressed, excited or overheated? if so, it’s probably normal panting from the dog. however, if your dog is panting or breathing rapidly during rest or sleep, it is often abnormal panting.

look for other symptoms

Is your dog lethargic or not eating well? have been coughing? other symptoms are clues that can help distinguish normal from abnormal gasping. these clues will help your vet diagnose the cause of your dog’s panting.

pay attention to changes in your dog’s panting

Changes in the sound of your dog’s panting should not be ignored. Some dogs, particularly Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers, are predisposed to a condition called laryngeal paralysis. this is a dysfunction of the vocal cords that causes the airways to not open as wide as they should. the result is a characteristic abrasive sound when these dogs pant.

Similarly, dogs with short snouts, such as pugs and English bulldogs, may snort abnormally while panting due to a long soft palate or excess tissue in the throat that obstructs the airway.

Dogs with any of these conditions are more prone to heat stroke because they cannot pant efficiently to cool down. keep them cool and listen for these sounds when they pant.

when in doubt, call your vet

How do you know when to call your vet? short answer: whenever you’re worried. don’t wait and worry unnecessarily about your dog panting. leave it up to your vet to determine if your dog is experiencing abnormal panting.

what to do if your dog is panting a lot

If you think something is wrong, follow these steps to help your dog right away.

if your dog overheats:

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act fast, but don’t panic:

  • Cool your dog down by hoseing him down and moving him indoors or at least in the shade.

  • Offer them water to drink.

  • Call your veterinarian or a local emergency hospital for guidance.

  • If you have to take your dog to the hospital, turn on the air conditioning in your car.

    Your dog may be hospitalized for fluid therapy and blood tests to make sure his organs are not damaged.

    if your dog’s panting is accompanied by other symptoms:

    See a veterinarian immediately to schedule an appointment.

    Your pet may need blood tests or X-rays to rule out many conditions of concern. Treatment of the other causes of excessive panting can range from giving your dog medication at home to hospitalization for advanced treatment.

    You know your dog’s behavior best, so if you’re concerned, call your vet. you may be saving your pet’s life.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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