Golden Retriever Panting at Night — Find Out Why!

When was the last time you have encountered your golden retriever panting at night? Also, how often is it? Is it more than usual? There could be underlying reasons as to why your golden retriever is panting. Sometimes it’s just the intense heat during the summer season that makes them panting especially while it’s nighttime. Another cause can be linked to anxiety, and their panting is like an outlet for them. But what really is the cause?

To answer briefly, there is no definite answer to conclude right now. But as you dive deep further in this article, you will eventually shed a light or even have some knowledge as to why your golden retriever is panting at night. Because this article will explore the issue regarding your golden retriever’s panting at night. We will also provide some tips on how to overcome them.

Why Is It Your Golden Retriever Pant?

Before we delve into the main topic, let’s first look into the question as to why, in general, golden retrievers or any other dog is panting. Because this question is somehow related to the main topic.

Common Reasons Why Dog Pants

To cool off

Panting is an innate behavior or a natural default setting to all canines. This behavior is a cooling mechanism for dogs. Basically, if dogs feel the heat within their body, the natural response for them is panting.

That is to say that canines use the moisture that is evaporated from their mouth and acts as a cool breeze. This also exchanges the hot air coming from their lungs with the outside cool air.

Also, panting is a way to release body heat because they don’t sweat as humans do. Although dogs have sweat from their paw pads albeit little, this alone is enough to let them cool off. That’s why dogs cool themselves through their mouths.

Panting is a sign of happiness

If you have noticed that your dog is panting when you two are playing, it’s a good sign that your dog is happy. This will also followed by tail wagging and moving to and fro as if their excitement can’t be contained.

The dog’s facial features and body seems relaxed. This is because of the euphoria that the dog is experiencing much like humans when feeling excited.

Once your dog has calm down, the panting also will decrease and eventually will stop. Mild panting with mouth open and tail wagging along with bright eyes means the dog is relaxed.

Some even considered that this kind of panting is a doggie smile. So, once your dog pants when it’s playtime, except that it’s normal and that your dog is happy to play with you.

Stress or Excitement

Panting in dogs may not be just to cool off. Dogs pant because of some other things and one of these is being stressed or feeling excited. Common causes are fear, stress, and anxiety. Other causes are vet visits, separation anxiety, car rides, fireworks, and other events that are stressful for dogs.

The best way to determine if it’s just a way of cooling off or signs of fear is to look at your dog’s body language. The fact that understanding what your dog’s fear or anxiety will help him reduce the incidents.

If panting is somewhat related to distress, it’s best you do something about it or remove your dog from a stressful situation. You can give him some anti-depressant or you can just cuddle them just to minimize their panting. Maybe this is the reason why your golden retriever is panting at night.

Changes in the environment

Golden retrievers and any dogs can be affected by stress and it can be harmful to them if the stress is unbearable. One example of this is the change in the environment.

We know that dogs are territorial, but what we don’t know that it stresses them so much if they are new to a place. This can result in anxiety and distress and one aspect of their way of venting is through panting.

It could be from discomfort or pain

Because your golden retriever doesn’t know how to speak and can’t even properly communicate compared to humans, they will communicate in some other ways.

So whenever your dog is panting it could be because of their body heat and also because there is some underlying illness. Look for other symptoms or pain such as diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, pacing, limping, and behavior changes.

Moreover, if the panting seems heavy and as if your golden retriever is having a hard time catching up with any breath, one possible reason is that it’s likely linked to respiratory disease.

Common findings of heavy panting include lung ailments, heart failure, and digestive issues just to name a few. In addition, if the unusual panting continues to persist, your dog might have excessive urination and thirst, may develop a pot-bellied appearance, and their coat and skin will become thinner.

That said, if the panting is more than usual to the point it’s extremely intense and it’s unexplainable. The best way you do is to call your vet immediately. It’s best to pay attention to any of these signs and explain them to your vet as soon as possible.

Reasons why your golden retriever is panting at night

Golden retriever panting at night must have reasons. As I mentioned earlier that panting has various causes and most of them are nondangerous such as panting just to cool off, because of anxiety or fear, or just happiness. This time, we will look into the possibility the dangerous reasons as to why your golden retriever is panting during the night.

Heart Issues

One of the common causes why your golden retriever is panting at night that is more than usual is probably he is suffering from a heart ailment. A heavy panting can be a precursor or sign of many underlying health conditions be it respiratory ailments or heart failure.

Also, check your dog if he is panting excessively after an hour of walk or two from your outdoor activity. The heart has a crucial role in delivering oxygen to the dog’s body. And that process can’t be hindered. Because if something’s wrong with your dog’s heart, it will not pump effectively.

This will decrease the amount of oxygen that is needed in the dog’s body. An ailment like this can be linked to valve disorders, cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, heartworm disease is among the examples of health conditions that can cause the heart to malfunction. In this case, this may cause some heavy breathing and panting to dogs be it night or day.


Obesity is a result of overfeeding. Maybe because you have to spoil your golden retriever too much and eventually ended up gaining weight that is way over the normal height of golden retrievers. This factor can also be associate with heavy panting at night and it can also link to other ailments such as heart ailments. Overweight can also trigger multiple health problems like heart complications, arthritis, and others.

A word of advice, don’t overfeed your golden retriever. Bear in mind that you need to stick to the routine no matter what. Also, don’t give too many sweets or any dog treats. Dog treats should be given not more than 10 percent of your golden retriever’s overall diet. In addition, give him adequate exercise. These simple solutions can lessen your dog’s panting at night or even a day.

Respiratory Disease

Besides heart disease, respiratory disease is also one of the factors leading to your golden retriever panting at night. The respiratory disease usually makes breathing difficult and it can lead to excessive panting because they needed some proper airflow. But the problem is that there can be some elements that block the valves which makes the oxygen difficult to enter.

Some of the respiratory diseases are
Laryngeal paralysis

Laryngeal paralysis is common among medium to large-sized dog breeds. Dogs who have this have problems with the nerves that operate the opening and closing of the larynx and also the entry of the windpipe. They will have some difficulty in breathing. You’ll notice this after a light exercise, dogs will have difficulty in breathing especially with laryngeal paralysis. That said, dogs cannot pant efficiently leading to dangerous events.

Tracheal collapse

This condition can cause the trachea or windpipe to narrow. Some signs can be noticed when your dog’s cough is worsening when he’s happy or excited. Conditions like this are common among small breeds and rare in medium to large size dog breeds.

Cushing’s disease

One sign of this disease is the abnormal panting of your golden retriever. This is likely the cause of an increase in cortisol level which is produced by adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease is a common ailment especially in senior dogs and panting is one of the symptoms of the disease.

How to treat it

The most effective and right thing to do is to go to your vet immediately. This response is the best possible response you can do. This is to prevent any guessing game and to find out the diagnosis as soon as possible. The longer you delayed your trip to the vet, the possibility of severity of symptoms is very much likely.

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions can appear in many ways and one of them is panting. Some factors that cause allergies in dogs came from food allergens, environmental, and seasonal. This can be quite tricky at first because allergies have shared common symptoms but the causes came from the three mentioned allergies. This can be the reason why your golden retriever is panting at night.

Other things you can do is to:

Keep your dog as relaxed as possible. Try talking to them and cuddle them, or maybe give them a warm massage of your hand to ease the situation. This is the simplest and yet powerful therapy that dog can have.

Balanced diet. The healthy the dog’s diet the more chance that the dog will stay healthy and maintain its good well-being. However, if you are underfeeding him or overfeeding him, this will only cause harm than good. As much as possible give them high-quality kibble food that features wholesome ingredients and also aids digestion.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the reasons why the golden retriever is panting at night. Be sure to attend to your dog’s needs whenever it’s possible and when you feel there’s something unusual in his behavior.

The early you detect the signs or symptoms the better and it can save your dog’s life. However, if the panting becomes heavy and frequent be it at night or day, it’s better to bring them to the vet for diagnosis and in order to strategize the treatment if it worsens.

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About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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