If your German Shepherd is breathing fast, 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 should do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd breathe so fast? German Shepherds tend to be large and active so it is normal for them to pant more than other breeds. However, it could also be that it isn’t getting enough exercise, it’s ill or injured, it has just been running around, it has heatstroke or it’s a side effect of medication.
There are a number of things to consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd has been doing it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you should do about it.
Why your German Shepherd breathes so fast
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd does it will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
In the following sections, I’ll show you why it might be doing it, things to consider and what you can do.
It is active and a big dog
German Shepherds tend to be big dogs and they can be very active. If your German Shepherd is big and it tends to be very active then it could be that it breathes fast because its body requires more oxygen naturally.
However, if it is big and active but it has suddenly started to breathe faster than normal then it would be more likely that it would be due to something else.
Not enough exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that are supposed to be getting a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral and health issues. If yours is not getting much exercise then it could be the case that it needs more. Generally, it is recommended that German Shepherds get an hour of exercise daily.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
Illness or injury
An illness or injury could be the cause. There are many diseases that can cause dogs to breathe faster including heart problems. If yours has suddenly started breathing rapidly, it has suddenly changed its behavior and it has been showing other signs of illness or injury then it would be more likely to be due to illness or injury.
If it does seem like yours might be breathing fast due to illness or injury then it would help a lot to take it to a vet.
It has been active recently
If your German Shepherd has just been doing exercise then it would be likely that it is breathing fast as a result of that. If it is breathing much faster than it normally does after exercise then it could be something more serious especially if it persists. If it is breathing much faster then it would be more likely to be due to things such as heatstroke or an allergic reaction.
If your German Shepherd has been out in the sun for a while and it has started panting a lot then it could be because it has heatstroke. It would also be more likely if it is drooling more, its heart rate is very high, it has diarrhea and seizures. If it does then make sure to let it into a cool and shaded area, to give it water and to follow the advice in this article then to take it to a vet.
If it has not been in direct sunlight but it is hot then it could be due to the heat. In this case, it would help to give it access to a cool, shaded area and water. If it does seem to be showing the signs of heatstroke mentioned above then it would be important to follow the advice in the above article.
If your German Shepherd has started doing it after being put on medication then it could be a side effect of the medication (source). This would be more likely if heavy breathing is listed as a side effect. However, it would help to make sure it is ok with your vet.
The cause could be that it has had an allergic reaction to something. This would be more likely if you saw it eat or interact with something that it shouldn’t have and if it has been showing other signs of having an allergic reaction. If it has been showing signs of having an allergic reaction then it would help to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
There are many things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd has been breathing fast. Below, I’ll show you some particularly important things to consider.
If it always pants fast
If your German Shepherd has always panted fast then it would be more likely to be natural especially if the vet has not found any issues on previous visits. However, it would still help to ask if the panting is normal on your next visit.
If it has started panting fast suddenly then it would be more likely to be due to a more serious problem unless it has just been doing a lot of exercise. If it has not just done lots of exercise and the heavy panting doesn’t seem to be stopping then it would help to take it to a vet.
When it first started panting fast
The timing of when it first started panting fast would be helpful to consider. If it started doing it after being out in the sun a lot and it’s a hot day then it could be that it has heatstroke. Whereas, if it has just been running around then it would be more likely to be due to that.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop breathing fast
The best way for you to get your German Shepherd to stop breathing fast will depend on the cause. However, I will show you some options that you have below.
Take it to a vet
If you can’t figure out why your German Shepherd has been panting fast, it has started panting fast suddenly or if it has been showing other bad signs such as vomiting then it would be important to take it to a vet.
Keep it cool
If it has been hot outside then it would help to make sure that your German Shepherd has access to a cool and shaded area and water. It would also help to avoid exercising it during the day and to try to do it in the early morning or evening instead. Another thing that you can do to help keep it cool would be to remove its undercoat with a de-shedding brush.
Give it exercise
If your German Shepherd has not been getting much exercise and the vet has not found issues then it would be important to make sure that it does get exercise. You can make sure to give it exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or getting a dog walker to do it for you.
This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This has no effect on the price you pay and we are very grateful for any support.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient German Shepherd, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link
Best Fresh Dog Food
Our favorite: Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food. it's good because it is designed specifically for German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.