Older Dogs Panting Excessively

Any time that a dog begins to pant, it's important that you pay attention; it's especially crucial that you be aware when older dogs begin to pant excessively. As most dog owners are aware, dogs tend to pant because they do not have the same capacity to sweat as humans do. This is a way for them to give off excess heat and to better regulate their body temperatures. However, if a dog begins to pant without having exercised or when he's not in a warm environment, this can be a sign of serious health problems that require immediate attention. Here are a few of the potential causes of excessive panting in older dogs.

Congestive Heart Failure

By far the most serious condition which results in excessive panting is congestive heart failure. This condition arises almost exclusively in older dogs. By the time your pet begins to pant excessively as a result of heart failure, it may be too late to remedy the condition. However, it's still important that you work quickly to take your dog to the vet and have him examined and treated as best as possible. Keep your pet as relaxed as possible so as to not disrupt him or aggravate the condition, and then take him quickly to an emergency veterinary center.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs in older dogs when they are out in hot weather, exercising or otherwise beginning to pant and do not have excess water. It's easy for pets to overheat because they cannot sweat in the same way that humans do, and they have thick fur which tends to insulate them and make them hotter. If your pet goes through heat stroke, he can suffer major organ damage and may even die. Heat stroke panting is characterized as excessive and will continue unabated even after your pet is resting and relaxing. If you notice this occurring, take your pet in for emergency attention. Heat stroke may happen more easily in older dogs than younger ones.


Obesity can also lead older dogs to pant excessively. This is a less immediate problem, but it is still a major health concern. If you notice your older dog panting regularly and you know that he's overweight, it's a good idea to consult with a vet on different ways that you can work to remove your pet's excess weight. This can help to make his breathing easier and may help to also prevent a wide range of potentially very harmful conditions from developing.

If you notice your older dog panting excessively, quickly take stock of the situation. Determine if there are any other symptoms that may be going on at the same time. Take note of these symptoms and then bring your dog to a vet for emergency attention. This can be the best way to deal with some of the situations listed above.