If your Labrador has been panting a lot, it is probably quite concerning for you. This post will try to help you figure out why it might be doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my Labrador pant so much? Labradors are large dogs so they naturally pant more than others. However, it could also be too hot, frightened, sick or have a health problem. If it started suddenly you should take it to a vet.

There are many reasons why your Labrador might pant a lot and there could be multiple things contributing to it. Despite that, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. Depending on the way it is panting a lot, there are also some things you should do about it.

Causes of a Labrador panting a lot

Below are a number of possible causes why it is panting a lot and what would make them more likely.

Nature

Labradors are large dogs so they will naturally pant more than other dogs. If your Labrador has not started panting a lot suddenly and the vet has not found any issues with it then it is likely to be normal behavior.

With that being said, it would still help to consult with your vet about it when you see them next and to take it to the vet if it is concerning you.

It has heatstroke

If the weather has become hotter where you are and it has started panting a lot suddenly after being outside for a long time, the cause could be due to getting heatstroke. This would be more likely if it has been showing other signs of heatstroke such as diarrhea, vomiting and seizures.

In this case, it would be important to follow the advice detailed in this article.

It is too hot

If the weather has been hot where you are but it has not started doing it suddenly after being out in the sun for a long time, it could be the case that it is doing it because it is hot rather than having heatstroke. In this case, it would help to give it lots of access to shaded areas, a cool room, water and to give it walks in the morning or evening when the sun is not as strong.

Fear

The cause could be that something has been making it be fearful. This would be more likely if it starts panting more when there is something happening that could cause it to be fearful. Things that might cause it to be fearful could include noises like fireworks being outside, you’re about to leave home (separation anxiety) or someone being around that it does not like.

It has a heart-problem

The cause could be that it has a heart problem. This would be more likely if it has been panting a lot suddenly, it pants heavily constantly and it does it when it shouldn’t be such as when it hasn’t just been running around.

If it does seem like it might be the case that a heart issue is causing the panting, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Illness or injury

Illness or injury could also be causing the panting. This would be more likely if it has started panting a lot suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as vomiting or limping. Again, in this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Allergic reaction to something

It could also be the case that something has caused it to have an allergic reaction. It could be that it ate something it should not have, sniffed something it should not have or touched something it shouldn’t have. It would be more likely to be the cause if it started panting a lot suddenly, it is also doing things like vomiting and if it has swelling. Again, the best option, in this case, would be to take it to a vet.

Exercise

Labradors are a very active breed and a common reason for them to be panting a lot is that they have been doing a lot of exercise. If your Labrador has just been running around and it is panting a lot then it is likely to be due to that. This would be normal panting and it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get the daily recommended amount of exercise.

Excitement

Another common time that dogs will start panting more is when they are excited. If your Lab starts panting more in situations such as when you come home or are about to walk it then it would likely be due to being excited.

When panting a lot is normal

Below are some scenarios where panting a lot would not be unusual.

It is hot

If your Labrador has been panting more and the room it’s in is hotter than usual then it would likely be due to being hot. It is normal for dogs to pant more when it is hot since panting helps them to cool down.

However, if it has started panting more after being out in the sun for a long time, it could be due to heatstroke which would be a more serious issue and one where you would need to take it to a vet.

It has just been running

If your Labrador starts panting more after doing a lot of exercise, this would also be a situation where it is to be expected that it will pant more.

It is excited

Excitement is also a normal cause of panting. If it starts panting more when it is excited but it starts panting less when it has calmed down then this would also likely be normal panting.

It is acting normally otherwise

If your Labrador has been behaving normally and it has not started panting more suddenly then this would also likely be normal panting.

How to tell if it is abnormal

Below are some scenarios where panting a lot would be abnormal.

It started to pant suddenly when it is not hot, excited or after running

If it has started to pant a lot and it is not excited, hot outside and it has not just been running around then it would make it more likely to be due to things such as illness, injury or a heart issue.

It pants when you are about to leave

If your dog starts panting more when you are about to leave home then this would be a sign that it has separation anxiety.

The panting is constant and intense

If your Lab has started panting constantly and intensely then this would also be a sign of a more serious issue and one that you should have a vet take a look at.

Your Labrador’s tongue or gums appear blue, purple or white

If your Labrador’s tongue or gums have suddenly become blue, purple or white then it would make it more likely to be due to a health issue and it would be important to take it to a vet.

It is behaving abnormally

If it has also started behaving abnormally in other ways then it would also be a sign that you should take it to a vet.

Things you can do about your Labrador panting a lot

Below are some things you can do about your Labrador panting a lot.

Go to a vet if you think that the panting is abnormal

If you are unsure of why your Lab has been panting so much, it has started doing it suddenly or it is concerning you, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Lab and to rule out the possibility of it being due to a medical issue.

Remove its undercoat

It would also help to keep it cool by removing its undercoat by brushing it using a de-shedding brush.

Give it access to shade and cool areas

It is also important to give it access to shaded and cool areas so that it can stay cool. If the weather is hot where you are, it would also help to exercise it in the morning or evening so that it is less likely to get heatstroke.

Give it exercise on a daily basis

If your Labrador is not currently getting much exercise then it would be important to make sure that it does. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. When they do not get that much exercise it can cause them to develop health issues and it could be contributing to yours panting a lot.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.