As a novice Golden Retriever pet parent, you may ask, “Why is my Golden Retriever Panting a Lot?” Well, did you know that your Golden Retriever could be panting because of positive or negative reasons? The most common reason is that it’s too hot. However, they could be panting because of excitement or because they have an injury. Nevertheless, there are still many ways for you to help your Golden Retriever besides taking them to the vet.
In this article, you will find useful information about why your Golden Retriever is panting a lot. I’ll also include tips on what to do and what not to do when this happens.
Why Do Dogs Pant?
Panting is a perfectly normal behavior that dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, do. They start panting because they are attempting to regulate the temperature of their body.
Since dogs do not sweat like how we humans do, they have a special way to sweat and regulate their body heat. Dogs, along with Golden Retrievers, sweat through other places like their paws and noses. If a dog does not sweat a lot, they will become very hot. That is why you can see your Golden Retriever panting.
A panting Golden Retriever means that he or she is trying to cool off or try to keep the heat away. Every inhale of fresh breath helps your Golden Retriever cool herself down.
However, when does panting for a Golden Retriever become bad? When is it not normal? Together, we will explore the other different reasons why your Golden Retriever could be panting. If you think that they are panting not because they want to stay cool, it is important to know what to do. This is especially crucial if your dog just suddenly starts panting even when it’s not that hot.
Is it normal for my Golden Retriever to be panting a lot?
Since it is normal for dogs in general to start panting when they feel hot, it is therefore normal for your Golden Retriever to pant a lot as well. Golden Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs who have a lot more energy stored in their bodies compared to other dogs of their size.
Golden Retrievers also love to be active. They love physically exerting activities like playing, running, and hunting. You will usually see your young Golden Retriever running and zooming through your home. That is because while they are gentle, they still love to play.
Since Golden Retrievers love to be more active, they are prone to overheating a lot quicker than other dogs who also have the same build and size as them. That is why your Golden Retriever seems to pant more than other dogs.
A Golden Retriever is a large-sized dog who likes physical activity. Do not be alarmed when they start to pant after a long physically-exerting activity. Even playing and running around in your backyard could also be tiring to your Golden Retriever.
Please keep in mind that it is normal for Golden Retrievers to start panting because they need to sweat out and cool off. However, if you have noticed that your dog started to pant for no reason, you should examine the surroundings where he or she was frequenting. This will help you determine the cause of why your Golden Retriever started to pant for no reason. Later on, I will be sharing with you the possible reasons why your Golden Retriever could be panting.
How do I spot abnormal panting?
Since Golden Retrievers pant more than normal dogs, what do I do if I suspect that he or she is panting abnormally? What I mean by this is that your Golden Retriever may have started to pant for no reason at all.
For example, your Golden Retriever is just innocently laying on his side. Suddenly, he started to pant harshly. This panting sounds different than his usual panting. It’s much louder, raspier, or the breathing is irregular. In that case, there may be a different reason why your Golden Retriever started panting.
The reason for your Golden Retriever panting could range from respiratory problems to digestive problems. Heavy panting is sometimes a sign of poisoning or something worse like kidney disease or cancer. When these problems arise, it is best to go to the nearest veterinarian so that your Golden Retriever can get a check up. With the right diagnosis, your dog will soon be on the way to recovery.
Keep in mind that you can measure how much your Golden Retriever is breathing. Your dog should breathe in between 15 to 50 times per minute. Once you take note that they are breathing much more than that, you should take them to the vet.
Usually, your Golden Retriever may start coughing. This is because he or she has a hard time breathing. As soon as you notice that your dog is not breathing between 15 to 50 times, it is necessary to take them to the vet.
What are the causes of my Golden Retriever panting a lot?
Remember that your Golden Retriever could be panting because he or she is trying to regulate the heat in their bodies. However, there are other reasons as to why they could be panting a lot more or differently than they usually do. Heavy panting can be symptoms of diseases like Cushing syndrome, anemia, mitral valve disease, congestive heart failure, cancer, and other kinds of diseases.
The moment that you see your Golden Retriever irregularly panting, it could be the cause of those aforementioned conditions. However, a trip to the vet can only determine what your Golden Retriever is truly going through.
That is why I have put together a list of what the possible causes of why a Golden Retriever is panting a lot. Later on, there will be a list of things that you, the pet parent, could do in the event that you notice your dog panting too much.
Your Golden Retriever has heat stroke
Did you take your Golden Retriever out for a walk today? Or is it just particularly hot in your area right now? A panting Golden Retriever could be experiencing a heat stroke. Remember that your Golden Retriever pants in order to sweat out and regulate their body temperature. However, when it is just simply too hot, it can result in a heat stroke.
That means that not only humans can suffer from a heat stroke! If the conditions are too hot for your Golden Retriever, it is best to take them to the vet as soon as you see your dog showing other symptoms of a dog heat stroke.
Keep a close eye on your Golden Retriever. He or she will usually show other signs of heat stroke such as whining, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, unconsciousness, uncoordinated movement, and sometimes they will also collapse.
In order to get your Golden Retriever to get better, take them to the vet immediately. When this is not possible, pour cool (not overly cold) water on your Golden Retriever. Then, let your Golden Retriever drink cool water. By letting them drink the cool water, this will attempt to help regulate their body temperature faster.
Optionally, you may also pour cool water onto your dog’s head and body. However, do not pour too much that they will start shivering.
Make sure that direct sunlight is not hitting your Golden Retriever while you do this. It is best to do this while you are outside but under a lot of shade. You may settle beneath a tree. You can also set up an electric fan if possible. This will help cool down your dog.
It’s a Side Effect of Medication
Let’s say that your Golden Retriever has allergy medication. Little do you know that there are specific side effects of some medications that may cause panting in some dogs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you notice that your Golden Retriever is struggling to breathe, then it may be a good time for you to contact your vet.
Medications such as prednisone have some possible side effects when taken. One of these side effects will cause your Golden Retriever to pant. However, it may not be a cause for panic which is why you should ask your vet for any possible side effects that a dog may experience before administering it to them.
Your Golden Retriever is Excessively Thirsty
Golden Retrievers may start to pant when they do not have enough water in their bodies. A severe lack of water may also lead to other health conditions like a heat stroke. That is why during the summer it is very crucial for you to provide lots of water for your Golden Retriever.
Make sure that your Golden Retriever also has a cool and shady place to rest. Minimize taking your Golden Retriever out for walks, especially if it’s too hot for them to handle. Remember that your Golden Retriever has thick fur. Their fur may trap the heat in their bodies. They will need a way to sweat out that heat. That means that they will start panting.
During summer or hot days, do not take your Golden Retriever out for a walk. Check the temperature first. If the weather falls between 90°F and 100°F, don’t bother taking them for a walk, run, or hike. They will most likely suffer from heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration if you force any physical activity.
Your Golden Retriever may be Lethargic Or Depressed
Another reason why your Golden Retriever may be panting a lot is because he or she is lethargic or depressed. Now, we will address each of those accordingly.
A depressed Golden Retriever may display many kinds of signs. Panting is one of those signs. Combining panting along with other symptoms may give you hints that your dog is depressed. However, only a certified vet can properly diagnose what your dog is really going through. Like I said, panting could be a lot of signs of other diseases. Just because your Golden Retriever is panting does not mean that he or she is immediately depressed.
We should also treat lethargy in the same way. Lethargy is the lack of enthusiasm in the things that your Golden Retriever used to enjoy. Panting and lethargy are both symptoms of other diseases, which should be checked and properly diagnosed by a veterinarian. That way, treatment can also be started right away.
Sometimes, lethargy, depression, and panting are all symptoms of Cushing syndrome. They can also be symptoms of anemia, poisoning, or heart failure. I highly advise you to take your Golden Retriever to the vet immediately.
It has a heart-problem
As I mentioned previously, panting could be a sign that your Golden Retriever has a hard time breathing or may have a problem with their heart. The heart’s function is to pump blood throughout your Golden Retriever’s body. Blood contains oxygen and the other nutrients that your dog needs in order to keep functioning.
When there is not enough blood, your Golden Retriever will begin to pant more. It means that he or she is trying to get more oxygen in their bodies. In that case, bring your Golden to the vet immediately.
Your Golden Retriever has an Illness or Injury
Your Golden Retriever does not have super powers that make him or her immune to illness or injury. This means that, whether you like it or not, your Golden Retriever will get sick from time to time. One sign of sickness is through panting. When a Golden Retriever starts panting a lot more than he or she usually does, it’s not because they suddenly felt like panting more.
There is always a reason why your Golden Retriever is behaving the way he or she is. It could either be that your Golden Retriever is sick or that he or she has an injury. There tends to be other symptoms such as vomiting, becoming lethargic, or sometimes limping. Your best bet for treatment is to take your Golden Retriever to the vet.
Your Golden Retriever has an Allergic Reaction
Yes! You read that right. Your Golden Retriever may be panting because he or she is having an allergic reaction to something that he or she ate. All animals and humans have possible allergic reactions to food.
It is highly possible that your Golden Retriever may go into anaphylactic shock caused by an allergy. If untreated, your Golden Retriever may not survive. Other symptoms than panting in anaphylaxis includes intense itching, red swollen rashes, swollen parts of the head, excessive salivation, vomiting, and drooling.
In bad cases, your Golden Retriever may have a very hard time breathing. This is coupled with a blue tongue and gums. If you notice this in your Golden Retriever, bring them to the vet as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute because your dog’s chances of surviving anaphylactic shock is low.
Your Golden Retriever has Separation Anxiety
Golden Retrievers also experience many kinds of emotions. They feel joy, sadness, excitement, and anxiety to name a few. This is what makes each Golden Retriever special. They are usually very expressive of what they are feeling. Which means that there is also a possibility that your Golden Retriever may develop mental illnesses.
One of the most common ways that your Golden Retriever expresses their anxiety when you are away is through panting. They can also feel separation anxiety when a family member passes away. Another is when a close friend who is visiting your home leaves.
The best way you can help your Golden Retriever through separation anxiety is to spend a lot of time with them whenever you can. Allow them to sleep in or near your bed from time to time. Make sure that you are giving them a lot of attention.
Their separation anxiety will also express itself in other ways than panting. These ways tend to be very destructive. It may also seem like your Golden Retriever does not have any house manners. In reality, it could just be separation anxiety.
Your Golden Retriever is Excited!
Since Golden Retrievers feel all ranges of emotion, there could be a good reason why your dog is panting. It could just mean that they are excited to be around you. It will be very evident that they are happy because their tails are wagging and they seem to never run out of energy.
When you come home from work, your Golden Retriever is usually there to greet you with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. There isn’t a time where my Golden isn’t happy to see me or a member of my family. They also feel this much excitement when they run into a human friend or a fellow furry friend.
In the case that your Golden Retriever is panting because of excitement, you don’t need to worry. When their energy runs down, their rate of breathing will also go back to normal. Just treat this as a way for your Golden Retriever to communicate with you that they’re happy to see you!
What to do when your Golden Retriever is panting abnormally
Do keep in mind that you do not always need to bring your Golden Retriever to the vet the moment that you see them panting. You should first determine the cause of why they’re panting in the first place. If there is nothing that you can think of or see, that is probably the time to bring them to the vet.
If your dog is panting heavily for negative reasons and you’re worried or you want to help them, here are a few things that you can do:
Bring your Golden Retriever some Cold Water
One of the best ways to help your Golden Retriever when they are panting is to bring them some cold water. This will help them cool down a lot quicker than just letting them sweat it out. Make sure to let them drink cold water every few minutes.
Give your Golden Retriever a Cold Bath
In turn, a cold bath will help your Golden Retriever regulate their temperature faster. However, make sure that the water is not too cold that your dog starts shivering. Some Golden Retrievers are not able to handle cold water. An alternative to this is to wet a cloth with warm water and start wiping your Golden Retriever with the cloth.
Deshed Your Golden Retriever’s Fur
A Golden Retriever sheds a lot of fur. The thick fur of a Golden Retriever heats them up faster than they should be. This is why it’s good to de-shed their fur using a deshedding tool. This will remove their undercoat and help it get rid of dead and loose fur.
Take Your Golden Retriever to a Shady Place
A Golden Retriever should be placed underneath a shady place or indoors when they are feeling too hot. You can help them cool down so that they will stop panting so much. However, Golden Retrievers can tend to become too hot on your daily walks. Therefore, you should find a shady place for them to rest and regulate their body temperatures.
It’s important to let them have these short breaks in the shade on your walks. This will prevent heat strokes or overheating from occurring.
Check Golden Retriever’s Environment And What they Ate
Poison is a common reason why your Golden Retriever may start panting. They may have eaten something that they should not have. You may not know this, but your Golden Retriever might have some food allergies that you are not aware of.
When your Golden Retriever looks like he or she has other signs of an allergic reaction, check their surroundings and what is inside their food. Some dog food kibble are not allergy-friendly, which is why you should always check what you feed to your Golden Retriever.
Call The Vet
Keep in mind that you do not have to go to the vet the moment that your Golden Retriever starts to pant a lot. Make sure that you have already ruled out all the other reasons why your Golden Retriever may have started panting. Otherwise, you might just be wasting a trip to the vet. Not to mention, there are consultation fees that you need to pay for when you visit the vet.
On the other hand, a visit to the vet could save your dog’s life. There are several conditions that will show that your Golden Retriever is suffering from another kind of disease or condition that should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
When should I Visit a Vet?
A visit to the vet is only necessary if you spot other kinds of symptoms besides panting. However, after your Golden Retriever’s exercise session you can expect that he or she will start panting. Another reason for panting is that your Golden Retriever is excited. Lastly, panting is totally normal when the weather is unusually hot.
You should vet when the following instances occur:
- Your Golden Retriever seems to be panting for an unknown reason
- The Golden Retriever has an injury or illness
- Your Golden Retriever’s panting doesn’t stop
- The inside of your Golden Retriever’s mouth are bluish, purple, or white
What NOT to do when your Golden Retriever is panting abnormally
If your Golden Retriever is panting abnormally, here are some things that you should not do at all costs:
Do not force your Golden Retriever to stop panting
Remember that panting is a normal occurrence in dogs. They need to pant because that is the only way for them to sweat and to normalize their body temperature. A muzzle will not help their situation. It will only make it worse. Whatever it is, a muzzle may make your Golden Retriever’s condition worse.
Not only that, but a muzzle will stress out your Golden Retriever. Especially if it’s not comfortable around his or her head. Additionally, yelling at your Golden Retriever to stop panting will not help the situation either. It will only add stress to what they’re going through.
The best way is really just to help them with cold water or bring them to the vet.
Do not take your Golden Retriever out for a walk
Taking them out for a walk may make the situation a lot worse! A panting Golden Retriever does not need to do any more physical activities. This is because they need to cool down their body temperatures that is making them heat up.
Taking a Golden Retriever out for a walk when it’s hot will also cause damage to their paws. This kind of damage is usually irreversible, which will cause walking problems for your Golden Retriever.
Again, panting is caused by their need to regulate their own body temperatures. If they are unable to do that, it will cause a lot of other complications that will need the attention of a certified veterinarian.
Shaving Your Dog
Your Golden Retriever may be panting because of their thick coats. However, shaving them is not the answer to making them pant less. This is because the panting of your Golden Retriever could be caused by other reasons like poisoning, heart disease, or kidney disease.
Shaving off the Golden Retriever’s fur may cool them off, but it will invite other skin and fur complications in the long run. After all, your Golden Retriever’s coat is their main protection against skin diseases like skin cancer. It also acts as a protection against insects biting your Golden Retriever’s skin.
When your Golden Retriever is feeling particularly hot, you may de-shed their fur instead of shaving it off completely.
Now that you’re equipped with the right knowledge, you know the answer to, “Why is my Golden Retriever Panting a Lot?” There could be a number of reasons: heat stroke, poisoning, excitement, separation anxiety, and more. Don’t worry! There are also many ways for you to help your Golden Retriever through this time. A cool bath, getting them to drink cool water, and a trip to the vet are your main options in helping your dog.
Did you find this article useful? If so, don’t hesitate to share this article with your friends and family members who also love Golden Retrievers!