Why your dog is panting: it could be more serious than just the heat

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. June 16 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

One of the uses of panting is heat dissipation. But sometimes the phenomenon is no longer normal and the consequences are serious.


You probably already know that your pet, unlike you, doesn’t give off heat by sweating (although contrary to popular belief, they do sweat, just in different ways and not everywhere.) When the dog is panting, they are cooling themselves. This is a very important feature, as elevated temperatures can easily lead to heat stroke. But behind the panting may lie health problems and serious ones at that. We will now look at these.

A warning sign is the frequency

You should be especially suspicious if your pet starts panting not only after a long walk or play session but also when they are at rest. You could say it is a permanent condition. It should also be suspicious if they are panting very loudly.

1.) Heart disease

If your dog is panting frequently, one of the underlying causes may be heart disease.

2) Cushing’s syndrome

A Cushing’s syndrome of hormonal origin is caused by an overactive adrenal gland, which produces too much corticosteroids. As a result, a significant amount of fat accumulates around the abdomen, resulting in a characteristic pear shape. Other warning signs include increased hair loss, increased appetite, high blood pressure and the panting in question. It is usually well treated with medication.

Increased water consumption is a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome

3.) Obesity

Excess weight alone can make the dog more tired, less energetic and more likely to tire quickly, whether walking or playing. In addition, extra kilos increase the risk of many health problems, including diabetes, heart problems and the development of tumours in obese dogs. It’s your responsibility to keep your pet’s weight under control, and you can ask your vet for help!

You’re shortening your pet’s life by overfeeding

4.) Lung and respiratory problems

All diseases affecting the lungs or airways can include panting.

5.) Something stuck in the airway

A foreign body (toy, bone, wood, food, etc.) in the trachea or oesophagus can also cause the dog to pant or gag violently.

Dogs may pant more when they have a fever

6.) Fever

A feverish state is also typically accompanied by panting as the dog tries to cool themselves.

7.) Stress relief

An anxious, stressed dog can become agitated and panting can be a result of this.

8.) Anaemia

In dogs with anaemia, the blood carries less oxygen due to low red blood cell counts, which makes the dog tired and exhausted more quickly.

Anemic dogs tire faster

9.) Heatstroke

As summer approaches, it’s important to recognise the symptoms of heatstroke. These may include dilated pupils, rapid breathing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhoea, thickening of the saliva, red tongue and pale gums, sudden weakness, fainting or seizures.

10.) Pain

A common sign of pain is panting.

Pain can also be behind it

11.) Tracheal stenosis

A common problem in small breeds is tracheal stenosis, in which the rings that form the trachea gradually deteriorate until they completely collapse, causing the animal to suffocate. In addition to genetics and anatomy, the aforementioned excess weight increases the risk of this occurring and accelerates the deterioration. As well as the constant panting, the increasingly frequent coughing is a warning sign.

In this article
a video shows the distinctive sound that accompanies the condition. Early detection will significantly prolong the life of the animal!

anaemia fever heart disease heat heatstroke obesity overweight panting the dog is panting tracheal stenosis warm

Related articles

More articles

Are cats your favourite too?
Visit our Love my catz page too!