Excessive Panting in Dogs

Authored by Alyssa Ast in Dogs
Published on 09-19-2009

In most cases, panting in dogs is completely normal. After a dog goes for a long walk, plays, or has been out in hot weather, they often begin to pant. A shallow and rapid breathing while their mouth is open is completely normal. However, sometimes a dog may begin to pant excessively. Excessive panting in dogs may mean a serious underlying health condition.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Dogs pant for a number of reasons. Panting is a common response for dogs when they experience an environmental change, such as heat. Emotional responses can also cause a dog to begin panting. Fear, anxiety, and excitement can cause a dog to pant. If a dog pants for other reasons, it may mean they are suffering from a life threatening medical condition.

Respiratory Complications

A common reason for a dog to experience excessive panting is caused by respiratory problems. Many dogs will pant excessively when they are suffering from complications in the upper respiratory tract. Upper respiratory tract complications can cause the dogs nasal passages to become blocked. They may have developed growths in their nose or the back of their throat. A collapsed trachea is often the cause of excessive panting in dogs.

The lower respiratory tract can suffer complications as well. This too will result in abnormal panting. Canine excessive panting caused by a complication in the lower respiratory tract can be a symptom of lung disease. Other complications that affect the lower respiratory tract are fluid in the lungs or excessive gas in the chest cavity. The chest cavity can also develop masses that result in severe panting.

Complications of the Blood

Problems within the blood can cause heavy panting in dogs. Certain blood disorders or diseases can cause panting. Anemia is a common complication in the blood that can result in panting. Luckily, Anemia can easily be treated. Carbon monoxide poisoning can even be the cause of severe panting.

Cardiovascular Complications

When a dog suffers from cardiovascular problems the symptoms can often take the form of excessive panting. Heart failure is a common condition that can cause the panting. Heartworm disease can also cause a dog to pant abnormally. Blood clots are another cardiovascular complication that can cause a dog to experience changes in their panting.

Neurological Complications

Neurological complications in dogs can cause abnormal panting. Common neurological complications that cause panting are diseases of the nervous system. This greatly affects the respiratory system. Damage to the nervous system can be caused by head trauma. Abnormalities in the muscles of the respiratory system are linked to neurological disorders. Brain tumors are also a common neurological disorder that causes excessive panting.

Other Health Complications

Many other health complications can cause abnormal panting. Illnesses caused by heat can cause the panting. Pregnancy and drug poisoning can cause heavy panting in dogs. Occasionally, a dog may experience severe panting caused by fluid in the abdomen.

If your dog begins to pant excessively it is important to take them to a veterinarian to find the cause of the abnormal panting. It is vital to seek treatment because the panting may be a sign of a life threatening health complication.


  • vetinfo.com
  • natural-dog-health-remedies.com
  • petplace.com

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