Why Do Dogs Pant?

During warm summer months or after a long walk, you may have seen your dog pant. But is this labored breathing a cause for concern? The short answer: no. Panting is a normal function dogs do to keep themselves cool. Though, there are several different reasons as to why your dog does it:

Exercise fatigue

When dogs run around, go for walks, swim, etc. their body lets off heat. Because of their furry coats, sweating like humans doesn’t do much to regulate their body temperature. Panting is just your dog’s way of saying “Phew, I’m tired!”


While no dog owner likes to think of their dogs in pain, the reality is that it’s impossible to protect them from every possible trauma. You might have noticed your dog panting and whining when you take them somewhere that makes them anxious, such as the vet’s office. This is normal. Though, if your dog continues to pant, whine, growl, or lick excessively, it may be a sign that they got hurt or experienced a stressful situation.


Panting is essential to maintaining a dog’s healthy body temperature. But when your dog gets too hot, they run the risk of experiencing heatstroke. If your dog has been in a hot place with not enough water for too long, they can experience fatigue, excessive drooling, imbalance, and even death. The most common way for a dog to get heatstroke is by sitting in a locked car on a hot day. This is so dangerous for dog’s body temperatures that it can kill them in a matter of minutes. 

Heart and respiratory issues

Lung tumors, heart failure, or choking can all cause your dog to pant excessively. If your dog has white or blue gums, that means they are not getting enough oxygen. While this is most common in senior dogs, call your vet as soon as possible if this occurs. 

Toxic/allergic reaction

Dogs have a habit of sticking their noses where they shouldn’t, and this nosey behavior can prove to be dangerous (or even fatal) if they end up ingesting something toxic. Be sure to keep toxic foods, chemicals, and medications out of your dog’s reach.

All in all, panting is usually not a cause for worry. As long as your dog is staying cool and getting enough air, you can rest easy that panting won’t cause a problem.

Abigail Kurten
Author: Abigail Kurten

Hi! My name's Abigail, and I intern as a Content Writer for DogFriendly.com. I have one dog, a chocolate lab named Riley who's the best! My favorite breed of dog is a Bulldog or Saint Bernard, though.

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