- Why do Golden Retrievers Pant So Much?
- Ways to Help with Your Golden Retriever’s Panting
- Other Things That Can Contribute to Golden Retriever Panting
- Golden Retriever Panting Can be Normal or a Sign of a Problem
If your Golden Retriever is panting a lot, you might not be sure if this is normal or if you should be worried. Everyone knows that dogs pant, but do you know how much your dog should be panting when they are healthy? There are some key things that you can look for when you are worried about your Golden Retriever panting and think that you might need to take your dog to the vet.
Panting is part of a Golden Retriever’s normal behavior, and some dogs naturally pant a little more than others. You might find that your dog is just more prone to panting heavily when they are excited or that they tend to pant easily when they get a little warm. Not every dog will display the same amount of panting behavior, so it can be hard to tell if your dog is panting more than they should be.
If you are ready to learn more about why do Golden Retrievers pant so much, you need to keep reading.
Why do Golden Retrievers Pant So Much?
The first thing that you need to know is why Golden Retrievers pant. There are normal reasons for panting, and there are more concerning reasons that your dog could be panting. Knowing the difference can be a bit confusing from time to time, but you can learn to recognize what is normal and what is not normal when your dog is out of breath.
The first thing that you need to be aware of is that dogs pant to help cool themselves off. Dogs can only sweat in the pads of their feet, and this means that they need to exchange heat from their bodies through their mouths. Panting behavior can be linked solely with the need to cool off, or it can be associated with emotion or stress. Your dog will always pant when it gets too hot, but they might also pant when they are excited, worried, or in pain.
Panting all the time is never normal, and neither is a dog that never seems to pant. You should be worried about both of these symptoms as they can indicate more serious health issues that need to be addressed right away.
1. Too Cool Off
As we mentioned above, Golden Retrievers will pant when they are too hot and need to cool down. Long-coated dogs with a double coat, like the Golden Retriever, can be prone to getting hot when they exert in warm weather, or they might get warm just being outdoors when it is sunny and hot. Dogs that cannot cool off might pant really violently, or they might continue to pant for a long time after exertion. Heat stroke is a serious risk for dogs of all breeds, and you might only have a half hour to get your dog help to save their life if they have heat stroke.
Cooling off is the main function related to panting, and your dog with a long hair coat will be more likely to pant heavily even when going for a walk or playing in the yard just because they will tend to get hot more readily.
2. When Nervous
Dogs who are nervous or worried might pant and also pace or act worried or concerned. Nervous panting will often be shallow and more rapid than panting, which is related to cooling off, and some dogs will exhibit this kind of behavior anytime they are not feeling safe. Your dog might pant like this at the vet or when they meet new animals, or when you leave home.
Nervous panting is often accompanied by really apparent worrying behavior, which can help you to recognize this kind of panting when compared to other kinds of panting. Your dog might not be willing to settle down and rest, or they might be pacing all over the house while panting if they are worried or scared. This kind of panting is not usually at all serious unless your dog is worried all the time. If your dog is displaying signs of anxiety all the time, you will need to take them to the vet to get a little support to stop their anxiety or manage it better.
3. Due to Pain
Pain can make dogs pant, and if your dog is in pain, it might be hard to tell unless they are panting or acting uncomfortable. Dogs that are in pain tend to drool when they pant as well, and they might be unwilling to get up or move around. Older dogs might pant due to arthritis pain, but injuries and stomach issues can lead to pain as well.
If your dog also has an elevated temperature or seems to be unable to get comfortable, you need to take them to the vet to have them looked at. It might take a little work to figure out what is going on that is causing your dog pain which Is best managed with the help of a vet. If your dog needs surgery or needs help with a broken limb or severe injury, your vet can help them right away.
This is a very common reason for Golden Retriever’s heavy breathing. Many Golden Retrievers want to know if it’s normal for Golden Retrievers to pant a lot just because of this kind of panting behavior. Golden Retrievers are working dogs, and they love to engage in play and activities, so they can get excited often throughout the day.
Excited panting might look like other kinds of panting, but your dog will also display physical behavior that indicates that they want to play or that they are happy. Running around, jumping, barking, or being generally playful, along with panting means that your Golden Retriever is just excited about something. This kind of panting should halt altogether when your dog settles down, and you should be able to tell the difference between this kind of panting and panting that is associated with health issues pretty readily.
5. Heart or Lung Issues
Dogs can also pant due to heart problems or lung issues. If your dog has gotten a cold or pneumonia, they might pant all the time while they are sick. Heart issues can cause problems with a lack of oxygen in the blood. This can also lead to panting.
Older dogs might be more likely to have heart issues, but the Golden Retriever breed is also known for having heart issues. Your young dog could need heart medicine and management for a heart condition due to genetics. If your dog has a snotty nose, they are coughing, and they seem generally lethargic, they might need attention for a cold or pneumonia. These kinds of issues can often be improved greatly with medication and some rest, and your vet can help you out with these needs.
6. Heat Stroke
This was mentioned earlier in the article, but it should be discussed in more detail. Since dogs are not very efficient at cooling their bodies, they can easily get heatstroke. You might not realize just how hot the ground is to your dog’s feet or just how much water your dog needs when it is hot out in order to stay cool. Many people take their dogs hiking out on long walks in the heat of the day, which can lead to a heatstroke event.
Dogs with heatstroke will almost always start out by panting very rapidly and harshly. They will progress to stumbling and lack of physical awareness of their environment when they do not get cooled off, and then they might collapse. Many dogs will also vomit, which can make it really hard to get water into their body to help them to cool off.
You will need to rush your dog that might have heat stroke to the vet right away. These dogs need to have help getting their body temperature down, and they need IV fluids and electrolytes to help save their life. If a heatstroke event goes on for too long, your dog might suffer organ damage and might have to be put down.
Heat stroke can be avoided by keeping your dog inside when the weather is very hot and by making sure that they have access to unlimited water when they are exerting in the heat of the day. It is always best to remember that temperatures over eighty degrees can be too hot for dogs to be outside and exert safely. Keeping your dog home from a hike or a walk until the evening or making sure to exercise them early in the day is always a good plan of action to prevent heat stroke.
7. Allergic or Toxicity Reaction
Another serious condition that can cause excessive panting in Golden Retrievers is when they have ingested something that they are allergic to, or that is poisonous to them. They might start panting almost immediately upon being exposed to this kind of chemical or substance, and your dog might immediately start vomiting or have diarrhea as well.
When severe allergies or poisoning are possible, you will need to look for blood in vomit or diarrhea, and you should pay attention to painful behavior or lethargy. Some dogs will almost immediately collapse, which can be a sign of anaphylaxis. All of these symptoms are quite serious and necessitate a visit to the vet immediately. You should call your vet in advance to let them know that you are bringing in a dog that might be suffering from shock or poisoning.
These kinds of panting are often quite clearly not related to any sort of normal behavior, so you should have no trouble recognizing that there is something serious going on. Making sure that your dog gets to the vet right away is important if you think that they are in shock or have eaten something that is poisonous to them.
Ways to Help with Your Golden Retriever’s Panting
If your dog is not sick and does not need to visit the vet, you might be wondering what you can do to help your dog that is panting more than you think they should be. Since this can be a sign that your dog is not feeling well or that they are having trouble cooling themselves off, the first thing that you can do is get your dog inside or to a shady place out of the sun. Just moving your pet to someplace cool can make a big impact on their comfort and can help to control panting that seems to be more intense than normal.
Always make sure that your dog has access to plenty of clean water and that you are prepared when you go on hikes or long walks with a bowl for your dog to drink from. You should never assume that there will be water for your dog to drink at the places that you visit. Even the dog park might not have watering stations for dogs. You should always bring along your own water supply and a bowl so that you can make sure that your dog gets access to the water that they need as soon as they are showing signs that they are getting too hot.
If your Golden Retriever is panting at night, you will want to make sure that you crack a window or that you have a fan that you can turn on to help them to stay cool and comfortable. Being unable to sleep because your dog can’t sleep is always frustrating, and you will probably feel bad for your dog if they are too hot to fall asleep each night. You can also make sure that your dog has a practical bed that will not make them hotter due to the materials that it is made of.
If your dog is panting due to excitement or worry, you can help them out by putting them on some anxiety medications, but you can also start working with a dog trainer. Dog trainers can help you with the following skills:
- Calming your dog’s anxiety
- Refocusing nervous energy
- Breaking the cycle of separation anxiety
- Training for how to manage excessive excitement around new people and animals
- Exercise plans that are ideal for keeping your dog mentally engaged
- Helping your dog to have quiet time each day to calm their brain
All of these skills can help your dog to maintain their emotional equilibrium, which can be a big benefit if you are struggling with a dog that is panting all the time due to nerves or anxious energy. Some people also get their dogs a companion to help with this kind of stress and worry. Some dogs feel much safer and more secure when they have a companion, and this can resolve all of the nervous panting that your dog displays for good.
Even if you are not able to get your dog a companion to help with their worries when you are not at home, you can explore other options. Things like white noise, doggy TV, or toys can help your dog to feel more settled and entertained while you are not at home, and these things can make them feel secure. Crate training can also be a big help for these dogs who are worried about being left alone while you are at work or running errands. Getting your dog to feel secure when you are gone can make a big difference in their overall well-being.
Other Things That Can Contribute to Golden Retriever Panting
Grooming your dog is really important, and many Golden Retrievers can get too hot due to mats in their coat or an undercoat that has not been shed properly. Your Golden Retriever should see the groomer at least once a year, but it is a better idea to have them get groomed on a regular basis by a professional groomer. Double-coated dog grooming can be a lot of work, and it is often better to let a pro take care of this process.
Your dog might be panting all the time because they have not been able to shed their undercoat properly. The layers of added coat can contribute to them being too hot all the time. You should make sure that you rule this out if your dog seems to be getting too hot really easily. Many people do not realize just how much care their Golden Retriever’s coat needs and how much a lack of grooming can impact their dog’s well-being. You will be avoiding coat matting and other issues that can lead to your dog having skin issues as well when you commit to the right grooming efforts for your dog.
Age can also be a contributing factor to your dog’s panting behaviors. If your dog is panting all the time and they are older, this might be a sign that they are getting older and their body systems are wearing out. They might also be panting due to age-related arthritis, which can be managed with the help of your vet. You will need to remember that some parts of the aging process cannot be attended to in any material way but that there are an increasingly effective array of ways to make your aging dog more comfortable.
Panting in older dogs is more normal than in young dogs, but it can still be a sign that they are in pain or need some medication to help with things like heart function or thyroid management. Don’t write off your old dog’s panting as just old age without visiting the vet to make sure that there is nothing else that can be done to help your dog to be more comfortable.
For dogs who are prone to anxiety and nervous panting, creating a routine that they can count on can help with anxiety and other forms of stress. Dogs who know exactly what to expect from you and their daily routine will be much less likely to pant and worry, and fuss. You can also work on engaging your dog’s mind in tasks like training every day. This can help your dog to feel like they have a job which can alleviate a lot of anxiety in working breeds.
Working with a trainer is always a good idea, and you might also want to explore options like doggy daycare so that your dog can hang out with other dogs and have mentally-engaging fun every day. These changes can help your dog to control their anxiety and feel more settled each day. Sometimes a lack of mental stimulation is all that leads to your dog’s anxious panting.
Golden Retriever Panting Can be Normal or a Sign of a Problem
If your dog is panting all the time, you probably need to explore why they are feeling so uncomfortable. Health issues and emotional issues can lead to panting that needs to be addressed by a vet or a dog trainer, and you might need to figure out the root of this kind of panting right away. Remember that all dogs pant when they are too hot and when they are excited, so you will need to pay attention to your dog’s normal behavior to know when they are panting for normal reasons and when they are panting due to a health concern.
Always make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise and that they are not being exposed to hot weather for too long every day. Caring for your dog’s coat and meeting their energy needs can help your Golden Retriever to pant less and to be happier and healthier every day. Panting can be totally normal, or it can be a sign that your dog is struggling with health issues or anxiety. Knowing the difference will be easy now that you have read this article.