What Happens When a Dog Pants a Lot?

Breeds with pushed-in faces are prone to panting because they overheat easily
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All dogs pant; it's how they perspire. Unlike humans, dogs don't sweat. Instead, they rely on their respiratory system and salivary glands to expel heat and cool down. While it's normal for healthy pups to pant when they're excited, playing or hot, if your dog is panting a lot for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of serious illness or injury. If this is the case with your pooch, see a veterinarian immediately.

Breeds Prone to Panting a Lot

Dogs who have a short muzzle and pushed-in face like bulldogs or Boston terriers have narrow respiratory passages because of their unique facial structure. This condition is known as brachycephalic respiratory syndrome and for affected breeds, it makes their panting inefficient because they're not taking in a lot of air quickly. This can lead to heatstroke, collapse and even death. If your dog has a cute pushed-in face, and is panting a lot for no apparent reason, seek medical attention immediately. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to improve the dog's air flow so it can pant effectively and not overheat quickly.


Overweight dogs tend to pant more because those extra pounds make moving around more taxing. Since canine obesity can be linked to a number of serious medical issues, consider a weight loss program so your dog stays healthy.


During the dog days of summer, it's important to protect your dog from heatstroke. To do so, dogs should be kept out of the heat and be given plenty of water to drink. Also, vigorous exercise should be avoided when outside. If a dog has been subjected to the soaring temperatures and is panting excessively, move the pup to a cooler area and provide it with a bowl of fresh water. If the dog's condition has not improved within 10 minutes, or has a bright or dark-red tongue and gums, excessive thirst, is staggering or is unconscious, see a vet immediately.

Illness and Disease

If your dog is panting a lot for no apparent reason, your dog could be seriously ill or injured so seek veterinary care right away. Cushing's disease will cause a dog to pant because it's feeling excessively thirsty. A dog also may pant when it's in pain or feels nauseous. If a dog has a fever, it will pant to cool down, or if it's having problems breathing, it will do so in an effort to take in more air.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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