If you own a doggo, you have likely noticed that it pants from time to time. In general, panting is no cause for concern. It is a normal bodily function, and there will be times when your Golden Retriever pants more or less than usual. This is why knowing how to spot any abnormal signs of panting is important.
Your Golden Retriever is likely panting because it is trying to cool itself down, has gotten too excited, feels a little anxious, or could be panting for some more serious reasons. All doggos pant, but understanding their painting is crucial. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about why your Golden Retriever pants so much:
Table of Contents
- 1 Goldens and Panting
- 2 Reasons for Panting that are Healthy and Typical
- 3 Reasons for Panting that are Concerning
- 4 How to Control your Golden Retriever’s Panting
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Final Thoughts
Goldens and Panting
Panting is simply breathing with quick, short breaths. Dos usually open their mouths when panting, and their tongue often protrudes.
Panting has two crucial purposes. It is their way of getting oxygen to the blood. So when your doggo is running around, its body uses much more oxygen, so they start to draw in more air to handle the added demand. Excitement and stress will also increase their heart rate, and there is more need for muscle oxygen.
Secondly, panting is their cooling mechanism. Dogs do not have sweat glands as we do, so they are pretty ineffective when it comes to cooling their bodies down. But panting helps them cool down and stabilize their temperature.
Reasons for Panting that are Healthy and Typical
Panting is a very normal and healthy biological process in both dogs and humans. You generally have nothing to worry about if your dog is panting, but it is essential to know why your Golden is panting. The following are reasons for normal panting:
Excited or happy
Dogs usually start panting a bit when they are excited or happy. You’ll likely notice they start to pant when you want to take them on a walk, drop them at doggie daycare, or get a treat.
Happy and excited panting is due to their anticipation of something positive happening. It may be treats, daycare, a walk, or anything that makes them feel good. They start panting due to their heart rate increasing, which then increases their need for cooling and oxygen. This type of panting is usually very slight, so you may not even realize that your doggo is doing it.
Excited or happy panting is more like light breathing, but you’ll notice it because your Golden’s tongue will hang out.
Golden Retrievers, just like all dogs, will start panting to cool down. It is their cooling mechanism, and you’ll likely notice it during those hot summer days when your dog is trying to regulate its body heat.
Anything that causes an increase in their body temperature will increase their respiratory rate and panting as it induces evaporative heat loss.
Anxiety, fear, or stress
A dog pants when they are feeling anxious stressed, or scared. Common triggers include vet visits, loud noises, separation anxiety, or anything else that may trigger a fearful or stressful response.
Excitement elicits a heightened bodily response in a positive and happy way. While fear, anxiety, and stress trigger their fight-or-flight response. Most dogs are terribly afraid of fireworks, and it triggers their fear response. This stress response then triggers a whole bunch of stress hormones, and these produce physiological changes.
The following are some examples of these physiological reactions that can occur:
- Increase in panting and breathing due to an increase in oxygen and cooling demands.
- An increase in blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugars, blood flow to the muscles, muscle tension, and clotting. These all ensure their muscles are primed to run away or fight.
- Their pupils dilate to increase their vision.
- A loss of appetite.
- Their senses become a lot more heightened to give them the ability to pick up on threats and increase their reaction time.
- They struggle to concentrate on complex tasks.
- The hair along their backbone raises. This is called Piloerection.
- Their inhibition control decreases.
- Decrease in impulse control.
All of these symptoms of anxiety, stress, and fear very clearly increase your dog’s body temperature. They also create a number of other responses that also increase their demand for oxygen in their heart and muscles.
A Golden Retriever’s fight-or-flight response is a standard response to stressful and fearful stimuli. Some stressors are mild, like the feeling of separation anxiety, while others cause a major flight response, like loud cracks of thunder, for example.
Whatever the case may be, your Golden Retriever will start panting excessively due to their stress to calm and cool themselves down. They will also pant to bring their whole body back into a state of homeostasis (a healthy state of balance).
Playing and exercising
Golden retrievers are very active doggos, and they love burning their energy through physical exercise and playing. You will likely notice that your dog pants after a run, a walk, or playtime with their fur friends.
Playing is quite physically demanding, and it increases the oxygen demand on the muscles and heart. Play will also increase their core body temperature. Panting helps oxygenate their blood and lungs to meet the increase in oxygen demand. And, of course, to cool themselves down.
Your Golden Retriever loses heat due to water evaporation from its mouth, lungs, and nasal passages. That evaporative heat loss is to regulate their body temperature. It is completely normal and a good thing.
Golden Retrievers do start to pant more as they grow older. Old dogs usually find it harder to move due to joint issues like arthritis.
Older Golden Retrievers also tend to struggle going up and down stairs, exercising, and staying cool. So this leads to them panting more due to the standard changes that come with aging and discomfort.
The extra panting during their senior years isn’t usually any cause for concern. But if you feel that your doggo may be in pain or struggling with something else, then discussing supplements and pain medications with the vet may be a good idea.
On the other hand, puppies pant because they are very playful, easily excited, and highly active. Golden Retriever pups tend to be crazy and are one of the more active breeds.
Reasons for Panting that are Concerning
It is completely normal to see your pup panting when they are exercising, hot, happy, or playing. But there are some instances where their excessive panting can be quite worrying. The following are some examples of panting that should be a cause for concern:
Health problems or medical conditions
Various health problems can lead to your Golden Retriever panting excessively. It may even be due to the medication they are taking.
The following are some conditions that tend to trigger excessive panting:
- A surgery, like being neutered or spayed. They may pant due to anxiety or pain.
- Fever due to an infection or illness.
- Toxicity from ibuprofen, grapes, or alcohol poisoning from beer or wine.
- Diseases like heart disease, cancer, or respiratory problems.
- Cushing disease, which is the excessive production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Joint issues or arthritic joints.
- Obesity can cause doggos to pant due to higher insulation from their fat.
- Certain medications.
If you believe your dog is panting due to side effects from their medication or a medical condition, then contact your vet to see if you need to bring your Golden Retriever to the veterinarian immediately.
A Golden Retriever mixed with a Pug may experience lots of problems with breathing and panting due to how they are bred. Mixed breeds often have health conditions from both parent breeds, so that is also something to keep in mind when wondering why your doggo is panting so much.
Golden Retrievers, like all dogs, are great at hiding their pain. Hiding pain is a great tactic in the wild as it stops other dogs and animals from spotting a weakness. However, if a doggo is hiding their pain, it can be highly problematic to their well-being and health.
It can be hard for pet parents to spot signs of pain, and a Golden Retriever panting excessively is not always a good indication. However, if your doggo shows signs of excessive panting with no apparent reasons, then it is a good idea to look at other signs that could help you understand your dog’s abnormal panting.
Take a look at the following signs in your Golden Retriever:
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased activity
- Difficulty jumping, getting up and using the stairs
- Changes in behavior, like snapping or growling
- Focusing on or licking a paw or an area of their body
If you feel that your dog’s panting is due to pain, it is best to take your dog to the vet as soon as you can. Dogs pant for all sorts of reasons, and it is best to get professional help to get to the root of the problem. Golden Retriever dogs do not want to show their pain, so you will need to look hard for the warning signs.
Golden Retrievers are very adventurous dogs. So these dogs may likely interact with or eat something that contains allergens. If your doggo experiences an allergic reaction, it can lead to irritations, swelling, and mood changes. As a result of this, dogs pant more.
If you feel that your Golden Retriever has an allergic reaction, then be sure to take them to the vet immediately to get them the help they need. You want to prevent the problem from getting worse.
How to Control your Golden Retriever’s Panting
All dogs pant; it really is a very normal bodily function in most cases. However, you can do a few things to avoid excessive panting and ensure that your doggo is healthy and happy.
The following are some great suggestions to ensure your doggo stays as comfortable and cool as possible. These things will also reduce a Golden Retriever’s panting and are great preventative measures for hyperventilation. You can also take a look at our website to see how to care for your dog the best way you can to ensure that they stay healthy.
Keep them cool during the summer
Summers can be very taxing on Golden Retrievers. Golden Retrievers have a thick double coat giving them an added layer of insulation. This is great in colder climates, but not on those hot summer days.
It is crucial that you provide your Golden Retriever with more than enough water and that they have good access to the shade outdoors or access indoors on hot days. If you do not have any air conditioning in your home, then it is best to turn a fan on to provide some extra cooling to your Golden Retriever.
Save any walks or forms of exercise for the early mornings when the day’s heat has not yet set in or in the evenings when the temperature drops again. It can get really hot during those summer days, and the heat can easily cause various problems for Golden Retrievers.
Your Golden Retriever also likely loves a swim, so if you have access to a pool or a lake, let your Golden Retriever cool off in it and get some fun exercise. Even turning your sprinklers on in the garden can make a huge difference. A Golden Retriever will show signs of excessive panting if they do start to overheat.
Give them lots of water
Golden Retrievers need to drink loads of water during the day, especially when it is hot. Golden Retrievers will start to pant when they are trying to cool themselves down. This is considered normal panting, but if they get too hot, it can lead to panting heavily.
This is when Golden Retrievers will need loads of water so that they can easily cool themselves down again. Giving your dog more than enough water is the most important thing you can do to keep them healthy and happy. A hot Golden Retriever leads to a very unhappy doggo.
Watch out for toxins
Toxins include macadamia, grapes, Advil, garlic, nuts, onion, and chocolate. The list of toxins is quite long when it comes to dog breeds, and you need to know exactly what products can be potential toxins for your doggo.
You need to be very careful in gardens. Gardens are often full of various vegetables or fruits that can be toxic or pose various issues for your pet. Specific plants or flowers can also be very problematic, and some frogs and insects are toxic to dogs.
Pesticides and fertilizers for weeds also pose a threat. It is always best to dog-proof your garden and consider the potential risks indoors and outdoors at your home. Always ensure that any toxins are out of reach for your Golden Retriever.
Monitor their exercise
If you do a lot of exercise and activity with your Golden Retriever and take them on lots of runs and walks, then it is crucial to keep an eye on their panting as it may indicate that the exercise is too severe. Excessive panting, along with your dog looking tired and slowing down, can be a clear indicator that it is too much for them.
Be sure to take at least three times more water than you usually drink to keep your Golden Retriever hydrated. Your Golden Retriever will need a lot more water than you do to cool itself down effectively. Keep this in mind when going for runs, walks, or taking them to play, especially on those extra hot days.
Reassure your dog
There is not much that you can do about loud noises or thunder. But you can offer your Golden Retrievers some gentle reassurance and comfort when you see that they have become anxious, frightened, or stressed. A Golden Retriever needs to feel loved and comforted when it feels afraid. It can really help calm them down.
Reassurance and comfort help them feel secure and safe. It slowly calms them down and helps balance their body out again after the fight-or-flight state. It will also bring their panting back down to a normal level again.
Examine them regularly
As we mentioned before, Golden Retrievers are great at hiding their pain. This is why it is crucial that you examine them regularly to make sure that they do not have any hot spots or injuries. A good time to examine them is during their baths when their fur is all matted and wet. You should check their paws for cracks, abrasions, and cuts.
There are various products you can use to keep your doggo healthy. Some dog owners use paw balm to protect their feet in the summer. You should also examine their fur and skin when brushing Golden Retrievers to look out for parasites, ticks, or skin issues like hot spots or sores. You should also always check their ear and teeth.
Why is my dog panting so fast while resting?
Why would a Golden Retriever pant while resting? It may very well be a sign of respiratory distress. If you notice that your Golden Retriever is panting while resting or sleeping, contact your vet immediately. Especially if you see that your dog is reluctant to move, eat, or drink.
Does panting mean a dog is in pain?
A Golden Retriever’s panting may mean that it is in pain or feeling some discomfort. Dogs tend to start panting way before showing any other signs of pain, like limping or whining. This is because their tissues are deprived of oxygen when their heart is not doing a good job of pumping blood around their body.
Dogs pant almost all the time, and it is entirely normal after running around, playing, or feeling bursts of excitement. Golden Retrievers pant for many reasons; most of them are nothing to worry about, but it does help to know what signs to look out for if your doggo is panting excessively. This way, you can get them the help they need as soon as possible.
You generally never have to worry about them panting. It is just their way of cooling and calming themselves down after having fun and feeling happy. Goldens are highly energetic and active dogs, so panting is part of their normal bodily functioning.