5 of the Most Common Causes of a Dog’s Panting

5 of the Most Common Causes of a Dog's Panting

Although it may appear that your dog is panting for no apparent reason, panting is a common dog behavior that has a reason. Understanding why your dog is panting excessively or at night will require you to consider what else is going on with your dog at the time. Are they worried? Hot? Dehydrated? Discover the most common causes of a dog panting so you can respond appropriately.

What Causes Dogs to Pant?

Moderate to rapid open-mouthed respiration lowers body temperature while also getting oxygen into the dog’s bloodstream. The panting dog breathes with its mouth open and its tongue slightly protruding.

Because dogs lack the same effective sweat gland system as people, panting is a necessary cooling mechanism. Instead, dogs cool themselves by evaporating moisture from their mouths and tongues, as well as exchanging hot lung air with cooler outside air.

It’s important to distinguish between panting and labored breathing. Labored breathing is characterized by strained breathing and distressing sounds like crying or whining, as well as whistles coming from the nose or windpipe.

Panting For A Variety Of Reasons

One of these five reasons could be the cause of your dog or puppy panting.

To Refresh

Dogs pant from exercise even if they are not overheating. It’s similar to how humans breathe heavily during aerobic exercise. Dogs, on the other hand, do not sweat like humans, so panting is their primary method of cooling down. Even though dogs sweat a little from their paw pads, it is insufficient to keep them cool. Dogs instead cool themselves by licking their lips.

Panting enables dogs to expel heat and replace it with cooler air. As you might expect, this is a time-consuming procedure. Short-faced dogs are even less effective (like bulldogs or pugs). That is why dogs begin to pant as soon as they become even slightly warm. The panting becomes more intense as the dog gets hotter. Drooling and redness of the tongue and gums are sometimes accompanied by heavy panting.

Overheating symptoms include a bright red tongue and gums, wide eyes, and weakness, in addition to profuse panting. Keep your dog cool and limit his or her exposure to heat to avoid overheating. In hot weather, take extra precautions to keep your dog safe. Never leave a dog alone in a car, as cars can quickly become much hotter than the temperature outside. If in doubt, take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.


When the outside air temperature is the same as or higher than the puppy’s normal body temperature of 102° F, panting will not be enough to keep the puppy cool and could result in heatstroke. Digging may be used by hot puppies to find cool places to rest.

Stress or Excitement?

Panting could be unrelated to body temperature. Fear, anxiety, or stress cause many dogs to pant. Car rides, fireworks, separation anxiety, vet visits, and other stressful events are examples. Examine your dog’s body language to see if he or she is showing signs of fear or other types of distress. Understanding the source of your dog’s fear or anxiety can help you prevent future incidents. If your dog’s panting appears to be related to fear, anxiety, or stress, you should remove him from the situation as soon as possible.

When Dogs Play, Many Of Them Pant

Your dog’s panting could simply be a sign of happiness. If that’s the case, the rest of your dog’s body language will reflect that happy attitude. In most cases, the tail will be wagging happily. The body and facial features of your dog will be relaxed. The eyes will be bright and happy. The panting will slow down and eventually stop as things calm down. In a relaxed, contented dog, mild panting with an open mouth and bright eyes is normal. In fact, many people mistake this for a doggie grin.

Discomfort or Pain

Humans are pretty good at detecting pain and illness in dogs. Some dogs make a greater effort to hide their discomfort than others. When they get to a certain point of discomfort, however, they can’t help but show signs like panting. Other symptoms of illness or pain include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, lethargy, limping, pacing, and changes in behavior. If you suspect your dog is sick or injured, contact your veterinarian.

If you notice your dog panting excessively for no apparent reason, you should take him to the nearest veterinarian right away. It’s always best to be safe and consult your veterinarian.

Physical Issues

These are just a few of the possible reasons for your dog’s panting:

  • Dogs with a high fever may pant to help them cool down.
  • Medications prescribed by a veterinarian may cause increased breathing or panting.
  • Your dog may pant in preparation for vomiting if he or she has a very full stomach or bloat. If your pet is vomiting or dry heaving, this could be an emergency, and they should be evaluated right away.
  • Cushing’s disease is a condition in which the stress hormone cortisol is made in too large of a quantity. This can cause a person to breathe too much.
  • Another cause of panting is laryngeal paralysis, a condition in which the muscles that open and close the larynx at the back of the throat are weakened or paralyzed. Older medium-to large-breed dogs, such as Labrador retrievers, are more prone to this condition. The panting is frequently accompanied by stridor, a high-pitched wheezing sound.

If you suspect your pet is sick, contact your veterinarian right away. If you have questions about your pet’s health, you should always talk to your vet. They have seen your pet, know its medical history, and can give you the best advice for your pet.