Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Panting an Emergency?

Only 9.38% of the blog readers who took my survey believe that panting is an emergency. Is it or is it not?

Most of the time, panting is not an emergency.


In fact, most of the time, panting is not a medical problem at all. But it can be. A panting dog who becomes quiet, recumbent, and lethargic, is, in some cases, a dying dog.


How can one tell the difference?


How can you know whether your dog's panting is normal, a medical issue or an actual emergency?

Firstly, assess the circumstances. Has your dog been running and playing? Is your dog excited? How warm is the weather or environment? This is when knowing what is normal for your dog is very helpful.

Is there no obvious explanation or reason?

Are there any other concerning signs?

Medically significant reasons for excessive panting:


Medically significant reasons for excessive panting include obesity, pain, fever, heatstroke, heart or respiratory diseases, hormonal imbalances, even with poisoning.

Panting is an emergency under these circumstances:


  • if your dog is also showing signs of severe pain or distress
  • if your dog has been exposed to high temperatures
  • if your dog is restless, unable to lie down comfortably, trying to vomit unsuccessfully
  • if your dog is showing signs of weakness or lethargy
  • if your dog seems unresponsive or disoriented
  • if your dog's gums are any than normal color (normal gum color depends on the breed; typically it's pink)

Always consider things in context and when in doubt seek veterinary care.



Related articles:
Doe Medical Emergencies Survey
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey Results
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Excessive Panting
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Unproductive Retching an Emergency?





Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

25 comments

  1. Great post. It's always better to know the signs so you know what to look for in case of an emergency. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. I'm trying to get people to see things and understand that they all mean something. Quite often things get overlooked or misunderstood.

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  2. I don't consider just panting an emergency, it would have to be paired with something more dire.

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    1. Everything happens in context. It all depends on what one is able to observe and what they notice first.

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  3. This is a great resource for pet parents. I believe in doubt it's always a good idea to consult with your vet, better safe than sorry.

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    1. Definitely always better safe than sorry. Some major problems can present with very subtle signs at first.

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  4. Great post ~ excessive panting can definitely be a sign that's something's not right, for cats and dogs.

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    1. Yes, unless there is a clear reason such as heat, exercise or excitement, something isn't right. This can be a number of things; most of them are not emergencies but some of them can be, particularly depending on accompanying signs.

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  5. Great post and I watch Layla very carefully when she pants especially if we have been out in the heat

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    1. Good job; yes, have to watch out for signs of heatstroke.

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  6. Education in areas like this is critical. The more a person knows, the better they can assess their dog's sitution.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I think it would actually be great if every owner got a little handout booklet at their first visit.

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  7. Nice post. Heavy panting sure can be something serious and it's nice you pointed that out.

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  8. I really like the way you constructed the survey first and are now giving the information.

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  9. Great post. As the owner of two Boston Terriers, we need to be very aware of their breathing, especially in warmer temperatures so we always keep an eye on panting.

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  10. Good to know - important to know the significance of panting and other symptoms.

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  11. This is helpful - an easy to follow list to keep on hand in case of emergency. It would be great if vets provided simple lists like this.

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  12. I never thought about panting being a potential medical emergency.

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  13. It is so important to know how to tell when a behavior has crossed the line from being normal and healthy to being a potential problem. For cats, panting is almost always a sign of medical issue. Dogs are different. It is interesting to see how you can tell when a dog's panting might not be normal.

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  14. Good to know! I wouldn't have realized that panting could be a sign of a serious conditions. Both of my dogs are 2, so I don't think of medical emergencies often enough.

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  15. Great post! I was just explaining to someone the other day that, with no other obvious reasons, panting can be a sign of pain, especially in older arthritic dogs. Pinning this to share!

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  16. Thanks for the great tips! Panting can be scary if it is heavy...has happened with Simba once...but we got it figured out and we didn't let that happen again.

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  17. Thanks for sharing this vital information on panting in dogs! Sharing.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  18. I know panting can be a sign of not only illness, but stress too. It's so important to be aware of the circumstances around it and know warning signs. (I might mention that panting in cats is almost always a bad sign.) Thanks for this information!

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  19. Loved this post general panting is not an emergency but yes excessive panting can be as a result of stress/ heatstroke. Some lovely pointers here

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