May 5


Why Is My Dog Panting And Restless

Owning a dog can be great, with strong bonds usually forged between owner and pet.  

However, dog ownership also comes with the responsibility to look after the animal’s health.  

Sometimes you may notice panting and restless behaviour in your pet,  and there may be a number of causes for this in dogs:


Some dogs suffer from anxiety. Some breeds are more prone to anxiety than others.  

Sometimes dogs pant and are restless because they are anxious. Panting is when the dog's breathing is rapid and shallow. It is your dog's way of telling you he is uncomfortable or unhappy. The panting and being restless may be accompanied by other behaviors, such as whining, trembling, hiding, or occasionally, incontinence.

It is normal for your dog to react in this way to unfamiliar or stressful occasions occasionally, but if the behavior is prolonged or there is excessive panting, it can be damaging for your pet. A visit to the vet is recommended.


Panting and restlessness could be a sign that your pet has been poisoned. Sometimes your dog may also be lethargic, be drooling, have a seizure, or might vomit. The reaction your dog has will vary depending on the type of poison the dog has encountered.

Some household items can be toxic for dogs if ingested, for example, snail bait, rat poison, or antifreeze. 

If you suspect your dog has come into contact with a poison, then take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.

Disease Or Ailments

Heart disease is a common problem in dogs. If your pet's heart does not pump properly, its body cannot get enough oxygen, which may result in a panting dog.. Dogs with severe heart disease have more trouble breathing when lying down, and will often sit or stand for long periods of time.

Cushing's Disease is the common name for Pituitary dependent hypercortisolism: This is a disease of your dog's adrenal glands. If your dog has this disease, the glands produce more of a particular hormone called cortisol. One sign of this disease is that your dog pants; other signs include loss of hair, greater than usual appetite, and increased drinking and urination. With appropriate treatment, the outlook for your pet is generally good.

Obesity: If your dog is seriously overweight, normal exercise like being taken on a walk may cause your dog to engage in heavy panting. Your dog will do this in order to get oxygen into its chest so that it can be processed throughout the body. You may need to put your dog on a vet-approved diet to help. They may also need more exercise.

Anemia: This is where your dog has extremely low, oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Your dog may pant a lot, and pant very quickly. It may also pace the floor restlessly in an attempt to get oxygen into its body. Sometimes this can be accompanied by an unwillingness to eat, lying around listlessly, confused behavior, and pale gums. 

Sundowning:  this is known as Alzheimer's disease in humans. Your dog may appear confused, forgetful, and restless. Your dog will be anxious. This can all result in your dog panting and in being restless. 

Arthritis: this is a painful condition. It can result in panting when your dog moves even a small amount, even if it's just to resettle himself on his bed, because your pet is in pain. If you see that your dog has trouble standing up and lying down and is panting, it is possible arthritis is the cause. Your dog may also limp. 

You should take your dog to a vet for examination in any of the above cases. Your vet will be able to recommend what to do. Do not try to treat your dog yourself.

Respiratory Issues

Dogs panting a lot may be the result of laryngeal paralysis.  With this condition, a part of the animal's throat stops working properly when your pet tries to breathe. Panting can result, along with your pet being sensitive to heat, getting tired easily, or taking a very long time to recover from being exercised. 

Lung disease, such as chronic bronchitis, can result in your pet panting heavily.. The first sign is often a prolonged dry, hacking cough followed by heavy panting. The panting is your dog's way of trying to increase oxygen.

Some breeds of dogs,like pugs, Boston terriers, or bulldogs, are prone to panting and restless behavior. This is because the design of their faces means their air passages are not as big or as long as other dogs. This can lead to difficulty breathing, meaning these dogs pant more than others and can be restless as a result. 

Pneumonia can also result in your dog's heavy panting. Pneumonia is where your dog's lungs become inflamed, usually by a bacterial infection. Other signs include loss of appetite, fever, excessive tiredness, and nasal discharge. 


If your pet is not getting the right diet for its breed and body type, or if you have changed your dog's diet recently, your pet may become lethargic in response. Your pet may also suffer from gas. 

Both of these can be accompanied by your dog panting and restless behaviour such as pacing restlessly. 

Talk to your vet and ask for advice about how best to feed your pet.


Dogs cannot sweat so if they need to cool themselves, they pant. 

If it is a hot day, the more your dog runs, exercises, and plays, the more chance there is of your pet succumbing to heatstroke. 

 If your dog is panting and restless, is drinking a lot, and has glazed eyes, or collapses, your dog may have heat exhaustion.  

This can come on very quickly. If your dog gets seriously dehydrated, this can lead to kidney damage and possibly seizures. 

Take your pet to a vet as quickly as possible.

Other Possible Causes

Sting or bite: A bee sting can cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Your pet might pant and drool in response, and you may see swelling around the bite site. In severe cases, your dog might collapse. A snakebite has similar symptoms. Take your dog to the vet.  

Boredom: If your dog is bored, with little to do, sometimes your pet might pant, or pace restlessly, to give themselves an activity. If you cannot find anything obviously wrong with your dog, you could take your furry friend for a walk to give your pet something fun to do.

Bloat: If your dog is panting, nipping at their sides, pacing, salivating, and dry-retching, your dog might have bloat, particularly if your dog has eaten recently. This is a life-threatening condition, and your dog needs to see a vet as soon as possible. Bloat is most common in large, deep-chested dogs.

Pain: Your dog might pant because it is in pain. The panting might be followed by whining, limping, or moving unusually slowly, which can be other signs of pain. Your pet may also tuck its tail between its legs to indicate it is in pain. Your dog may also pace restlessly. This might be accompanied by an unusual unwillingness to play or be affectionate. 

There are many reasons your dog might pant or be restless. This is often a sign that all is not well with your pet. A trip to the vet could put your mind at rest, and provide the appropriate treatment for your dog. In some cases, getting to the vet quickly could also save your dog's life.

About the author 

Stan Jones

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