Why Do Golden Retrievers Pant So Much? (Explained!)


Golden retrievers are outstanding pets to have in a family with kids. But it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous for these amazing pet dogs during the summer months or those one-off periods when the temperatures rise beyond what’s normal. This is the time when golden retrievers pant too much. Could panting so much be a health issue? Can you do something about it? Read on to find out more!

Golden retrievers pant so much to cool down because of heat buildup. They are large dogs, and their heavy coats make them susceptible to a fast buildup of heat, and panting brings the temperature down. However, you should take your dog to the vet if it suddenly starts panting excessively.

There are plenty of reasons why golden retrievers pant a lot, but almost all of them are connected to this dog breed being on the larger side and having a heavy coat. However, there are other reasons why your golden retriever pants so much, and you can intervene to control it.

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Golden Retriever Cool

Dogs are warm-blooded, which means that they have to thermoregulate to maintain their body temperatures between 101 and 102 degrees.

Unlike us, dogs don’t sweat, especially not through their paws, as most people claim. The only way that a dog can thermoregulate when the body heats up is by panting.

Golden retrievers have a thick coat, and you might think that shaving it or trimming it down can make your pooch pant less, but this won’t work.

The fur on your dog actually has a role to play in fighting heat stress by slowing down the body heating process.

Despite all these natural abilities that dogs have to keep cool, panting just doesn’t cut it. A large dog with a thick coat like a golden retriever heats up faster when playing too long in the sun and when left in a hot house or in a car for far too long.

If the temperatures remain high for a long period of time, then there is a risk of your pooch developing hyperthermia.

What are the symptoms of hyperthermia in golden retrievers?

The following are the signs of hyperthermia in dogs:

  • Excessive panting, also known as hyperventilation
  • Extreme drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High heart rate
  • Muscle tremors and seizures
  • Dog acting confused
  • The tongue and gums change color from bright red to grey or purple
  • Lack of body coordination
  • Fear

A dog’s temperature should never go above 104 degrees Fahrenheit,  and if it does, you can expect serious health complications like internal organ damage, brain damage, blood clotting, unconsciousness, etc. Call a vet immediately if you identify any of the mentioned hyperventilation signs.

Let’s dig into the nine main reasons why golden retrievers pant so much.

Golden Retriever Panting Excessively Due to High Room Temperatures

A golden retriever will pant excessively when the room it’s staying in becomes too hot or the weather becomes extreme. This is sort of a side effect of golden retrievers being large dogs and having thick coats, so their bodies heat up faster than other dogs.

The Solution

This is easy and straightforward; you need to power up a fan or the air conditioner to bring the temperatures down. Also, you can take the dog to a cooler room and give him/her cold water.

If this doesn’t work, then your dog might be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Some signs that you should look out for include:

  • Pale gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Sluggish movement

You’ll need to submerge your golden retriever in cool water and give it lots of cold water to drink. Take your dog to the vet once the panting is under control.

As a precaution, groom your golden retriever at least once a week using a brush to remove the undercoat and any loose fur.

Your Golden Retriever Panting Due to Exercising

If your dog starts panting during or right after exercising, then this is normal panting and should not be a cause for concern.

Golden retrievers are energetic dogs and need a lot of daily exercises to stay healthy. But there are cooling items that you can buy to stop your pet dog from panting too much.

How to Help Your Golden Retriever Cool Down 

There are many cooling garments and devices that you can buy for your four-legged friend. You can place the garments on your dog when exercising or immediately after to cool down and stop panting so much. Other cooling devices, like pads and beds, are used after exercising. The most popular ones include:

  • A dog cooling vest
  • A cooling jacket
  • Cooling collar
  • A cooling coat
  • Cooling bandanas
  • Cooling pads
  • A cooling elevated bed
  • Cooling ventilator
  • A cooling dog house

Panting Due to Excitement

Dogs love humans and get overly excited when their owner comes home after being away for hours. When a dog is excited, it will be more active, and its heart rate will go up, causing it to pant more. Panting in this case is essential to supplying more oxygen into the bloodstream.

There’s no cause for concern if your golden retriever starts panting when you arrive home.

Golden Retriever Panting Due to Stress

Dogs, just like humans, get stressed, and one way they exhibit stress is by yawning, pacing, whining, shivering, hiding, and panting too much.

If you fail to identify and get rid of the stressor, your golden retriever might show aggressive behavior.

How to Solve Panting Due to Stress

You need to identify the cause of the anxiety and stress and get rid of it. Do everything you can to build your furry friend’s confidence back up. If you can’t identify the cause of the stress, take your dog to a vet or a dog behaviorist. A professional will take a look at your dog to expertly identify the cause.

Your Golden Retriever Pants Because of Pain

Most dogs will suddenly start to pant when they experience intense, sudden pain. It’s not easy to know that your golden retriever is panting a lot because of pain unless it starts licking the affected area or changes its posture.

A golden retriever that’s in pain will pant and start making sudden, unusual movements, which should alarm you to investigate.

Other signs of pain include enlarged pupils, a lack of appetite, growling or attempting to bite you when touched in the painful spot, and restlessness.

How To Solve Because of Pain

This can happen when taking a walk or even in the house when your pooch gets pricked in his delicate paw. Your dog will limp and lift his leg up if he’s been pricked, and you can simply pull out the thorn or any other object that you find on the paw that’s causing discomfort.

Other conditions that might cause sudden pain include stomach upsets, toothaches, and arthritis. Take your pet to the vet if you can’t identify or see the cause of the pain.

Golden Retriever Panting Due to Separation Anxiety

If your golden retriever starts panting when you, your little one, or any other member of the house is about to leave, then he’s developing some form of separation anxiety.

When a golden retriever becomes emotionally attached to one or more family members, it can have trouble being away from them. A dog can also develop this negative trait when left in dog homes or dog care centers. A dog feels stressed and lonely when left in an unfamiliar environment.

How to Fix Separation Anxiety in Golden Retrievers

You can fix separation anxiety in golden retrievers by planning short-term departures and slowly lengthening them to get your pet used to your absence. Also, don’t create the impression that coming home is an exciting event

Golden Retriever Panting Because of An Allergic Reaction

If your dog starts panting immediately after eating or taking some form of medication, then it might be a sign of an allergic reaction. In this case, your furry friend will start vomiting and you’ll also notice some swelling on different parts of the body.

The Solution

Take your Golden Retriever to a vet for immediate medical attention.

Panting Due to a Heart Problem

If your fido starts panting constantly when the weather is cool and without previous physical activity, then it could be a sign of a heart problem.

Golden retrievers are prone to a health condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy where the heart becomes large but weak. When this happens, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body.

The Solution

Take your golden retriever to the vet for medical attention. As a precaution, you should take your dog for an annual Electrical Heart Screening (ECG) or an echocardiogram.

Too Much Panting Because of Fear

Even though most people keep dogs to keep them company and even act as guard dogs, they also experience fear.

Your dog is probably panting out of fear if it starts to pant at certain times, like when there are thunderstorms or fireworks outside.

The Solution

Consider closing the blinds and reassuring your dog that everything is okay by cuddling.

Final Thoughts

Panting in golden retrievers is normal, but in some cases, it should help you identify the cause. Golden retrievers pant when:

  • It’s hot
  • Your dog has been exercising
  • Your dog is excited
  • Your dog is acting and behaving normally

Too much panting is abnormal if:

  • The weather is cool
  • You’re about to leave
  • Panting become too much and intense
  • The gums and tongue change color or become pale
  • Your golden retriever starts behaving abnormally

The thing to avoid when your Golden Retriever pants too much:

  • Shaving your Goldie
  • Taking your doggy for a walk on a hot surface like asphalt or on a sidewalk or the street
  • Forcing fido to stop panting

Dogs, especially large and heavy-coated dogs, pant more than smaller and shorter-haired dogs. This should not be a cause for concern if there are no other signs that might signal a health issue. Take time to learn why golden retrievers smell, golden retrievers drool, and bark a lot, or whether golden retrievers can live in a tiny house.

About Daniel Ladet

Meet Dan, an avid nature enthusiast, and animal lover who spends his free time exploring the great outdoors with his furry friends. Whether he's penning a novel or a blog post, Dan's passion for nature and pets infuses every word he writes, transporting readers to a world of wonder and adventure."

View all posts by Daniel Ladet →

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