Excessive Dog Panting

Dog panting is a normal way for dogs to release heat since they don't sweat like we do. However, excessive panting can be a sign of illness, heat stroke or stress. It's important for you to know how much your dog usually pants so you can address the issue if panting becomes excessive.

Heat Stroke

Each dog is a little different in how much he pants during and after exercise. Knowing your dog will help you identify heat stroke, which often occurs during a tough workout or exercise during hot weather. If your dog is panting for longer than 10 minutes after your exercise, contact your veterinarian.

Other symptoms of heat stroke include excessive drooling, red tongue and gums, vomiting, dizziness, lethargy and seizure. To treat heat stroke, make sure your dog is drinking water. Use water to cool him by splashing it on his feet, stomach and face. Do not dip your dog in ice water or cool him too fast as this can cause shock.

Stress and Anxiety

Dogs often pant heavily when they are stressed, anxious or afraid. This would occur regardless of your dog's activity level and may arise with a change in the environment or a stimulus that usually frightens your dog.

If possible, identify the stressor. If your dog is afraid of noises, begin desensitizing him to noises by exposing them to him at a very low level and rewarding him with treats for remaining calm. Gradually build up to loud noises. If your dog gets stressed at any point, slow down.

If excess panting seems to have appeared in conjunction with a change in environment, do your best to increase your dog's comfort level. Stabilize his routine by feeding, walking and playing with him at similar times each day. Provide him with special cuddle time. Increase his comfort by giving him a bed or toys with which he is familiar and installing a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheremones into the air.

Other Causes

Excessive panting can also be caused by many different illnesses. If your dog is exhibiting excessive panting, consult your veterinarian to first rule out a medical cause.

Illnesses that cause panting include fever, anemia, heart worm, congestive heart failure, a pending seizure, hypothyroidism and poisoning.

Obesity can also cause excessive panting. If your dog is overweight, be sure to provide steady—but not excessive—exercise daily. Feed less food and play games that keep your dog moving in the evening. Give him frequent breaks during exercise, but keep addressing this because it could cause more serious illnesses later in life.

If your dog pants when he is resting or his panting lasts longer than 10 minutes, you probably have an excessive panter. This can be caused by many different things, so consult a veterinarian to help you determine the cause and solution.