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Panting is a totally normal bodily function for australian shepherds and all dogs. But when it becomes excessive, even without physical activity, it can become worrisome.
Is it normal for australian shepherds to be always panting or is something wrong?
Why Do Australian Shepherds Pant So Much:
Australian shepherds will pant a lot when they are trying to cool themselves down. Moisture evaporates on their tongue and when they repeatedly breath in it brings the cooler air to other parts of their body. Excessive panting can also come from anxiety, old age or an underlying health issue.
In this post you’ll discover:
- 9 real reasons why australian shepherds pant so much
- When your aussie’s panting is something to be concerned about
- 4 tips to help reduce how much your australian shepherd pants (Tip #1 can help the quickest!)
- And much more
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Top 9 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Pant So Much
1) Cooling Down
Not only does your aussie carry around a thick coat no matter the season, they also don’t release heat as easily as people do.
People sweat all over their body to help release heat.
Dogs aren’t so lucky and they only sweat through their nose, tongue and mouth primarily.
A little through their paws as well.
Which means in order for your australian shepherd to cool down, they have to pant to help regulate their body’s temperature.
Sweating helps all mammals cool down because when their body produces sweat, it then evaporates from the warm air which creates a cooling effect.
So when your australian shepherd pants, they hang their tongue out of their mouth which allows a larger area to evaporate and they breath in the cooler evaporate air.
Which helps cool down the rest of their body.
2) Catching Their Breath
Panting also allows your australian shepherd to catch their breath after strenuous activity.
Just like people, when dogs exercise they need more oxygen and they start to breathe heavier.
Panting helps them take in more oxygen which then circulates throughout their body.
It’s also important to note that dogs have a higher respiratory rate than people.
While at rest, a human breathes about 12-20 times per minute.
A dog, on the other hand, breathes 30-40 times per minute.
And when they’re panting, they can take up to 200 breaths per minute!
Which is why it’s so important to make sure your australian shepherd isn’t over-exercising.
They need time to rest and recuperate just like we do.
Panting can also be a sign of over-excitement in your australian shepherd.
If they’re wagging their tail, have their mouth open and their tongue hanging out, and are bouncing around then they’re probably just excited.
Some things that may excite your australian shepherd include playing fetch, going on walks, meeting new people or dogs, and getting food.
Just like with people, over-excitement can lead to irregularities in breathing for your australian shepherd.
Which is why it’s important to be aware of their body language and what may excite them.
If you see that they’re starting to pant heavily, and your pup is getting a little older it’s a good idea to help them calm them down before they get too worked up.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Are So Hyper + 5 Tips
4) Anxiety Or Stress
One of the many excessive behaviors that your australian shepherd might pick up if they’re feeling anxious is panting.
If they’re panting but not wagging their tail, and they have a tense body posture then it’s likely that they’re feeling stressed.
Some things that may cause stress for your australian shepherd include loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or construction work.
Being in a new place or around new people can also cause stress for your aussie.
If you see that they’re starting to pant heavily and it’s not likely that they’re feeling too warm, it’s a good idea to try and help them calm down by removing them from the situation if possible.
Related Reading: Australian Shepherd Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes & Solutions
5) Pain Or Discomfort
Your aussie is likely very good at hiding when they aren’t feeling the best.
Most dogs will do their best to hide when they’re in pain or not feeling well.
Many believe this is because they’re pack animals and don’t want to appear vulnerable or weak which could get them kicked out of their pack.
However, if the pain or discomfort becomes too much your aussie might start showing signs that they aren’t well.
One of which being panting more than usual.
Some things that may cause pain or discomfort for your australian shepherd include joint problems, a cut/wound, being constipated, having a urinary tract infection, or being pregnant.
If you see that your pup is panting more than usual, and you don’t see an obvious reason for them to be, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to get them checked out.
6) A Sign Of Playfulness
Believe it or not, panting can also be a sign of playfulness in your australian shepherd.
Just like with kids, when dogs are playing they tend to get excited and start breathing heavily.
Panting is their way of cooling down and getting more oxygen so that they can continue playing.
Some things that may excite your australian shepherd while they’re playing include chasing a ball, playing with another dog, seeing their leash, or getting petted.
If you see that your australian shepherd is panting heavily and it’s not likely that they’re feeling too warm, it’s probably just because they’re excited and happy.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Are Good Dogs + Tips
7) Ate Something Bad
Another reason your australian shepherd might be panting heavily is if they ate something bad.
If they ate something that’s making them sick, their body will start to work hard to get rid of the toxin and one of the ways it’ll do this is by increasing their breathing rate.
Some other signs that your aussie might have eaten something bad include vomiting and diarrhea.
If you see that your aussie is panting heavily and they’ve been vomiting or having diarrhea, it’s important to take them to the vet.
The vet will be able to tell you what’s wrong and help get your aussie back to normal.
Related Reading: 9 Reasons Australian Shepherds Are Always Hungry + Tips
8) Old Age
As your australian shepherd gets older, they’ll start to experience a decrease in their overall health.
This includes a decrease in their respiratory function which can lead to them panting more than usual.
It can also be because basic things that were once easy for them to do require much more energy.
Which means they’ll pant much more than usual as they do basic things simply because they aren’t easy for them to do anymore.
Some other signs that your australian shepherd’s age is taking a toll on them is having trouble walking or climbing stairs, being less active, and losing their appetite.
Related Reading: Top 8 Best Beds for Australian Shepherds
9) Underlying Health Issue
Lastly, panting can also be a sign of an underlying health issue in your australian shepherd.
Some health issues that may cause your aussie to pant more than usual include heart disease, lung disease, Cushing’s disease, Laryngeal paralysis, or diabetes.
If you see that your australian shepherd is panting heavily and it’s not likely that they’re feeling too warm, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet.
4 Tips To Help Your Australian Shepherd Not Pant So Much
1) Help Them Cool Off
If you live in an area where it’s warm all year round or gets considerably warm during certain months of the year, your pup may need a little help cooling down.
And there are a few ways you can help them with this.
First, make sure their coat doesn’t get too long.
The longer their coat gets the warmer they’ll be.
So during the summer months it’s a good idea to have their coat trimmed a little more often than you normally do throughout the year.
Next would be to make sure they always have water available to drink.
You can’t force them to drink water but you can always make sure that when they need a drink to help cool down, it’s there and available for them.
Another thing you can do is get them a bed that helps them stay cool while also being comfortable.
We made a list of the best 8 dog beds for australian shepehrds and the last one on our list would be the best at helping them cool down.
It’s called The Kuranda Dog Bed and it’s elevated which allows for air to circulate around your pup much easier as opposed to memory foam beds which retain heat.
The more you can do to help your aussie cool down the less they’ll pant as a means of regulating their temperature.
2) Help Them Overcome Their Trigger
When it comes to excitement panting, it’s not a huge deal.
But if your australian shepherd’s panting is a sign of anxiety you’ll want to do your best to find what’s causing their anxiety.
If you know what’s triggering their anxious feelings you can help them overcome whatever is bothering them.
At first it might be helpful to remove their trigger altogether.
But overtime you’ll want to help them overcome their negative feelings toward whatever is causing them to feel so anxious.
If you put them in a safe, controlled environment with whatever is bothering them and gradually increase their exposure to it, eventually they’ll overcome their negative feelings.
3) Less Exercise In Overly Warm Weather
Your aussie isn’t the best at understanding their limits.
Which is why you’ll have to limit their exercise in extremely warm weather to make sure they don’t accidently harm themselves.
When it’s too warm outside, so much so that the pavement is hot, it’s best to limit their time spent outside without shade during these times.
While your pup will likely love to go outside regardless, it might be too much for them to handle and put them at risk for heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.
So when it’s super warm out, try taking them for shorter walks and ensuring they always have shade to rest in.
As well as water to drink.
4) Have a Vet Look At Them
If your australian shepherd is panting excessively and you can’t seem to figure out why, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet just in case.
This way you can rule out any potential health issues that might be causing their heavy panting.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pup’s health.
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