If your German Shepherd pants a lot then you might want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd pants a lot and what can be done about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd pant so much? German Shepherds 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 actually a number of things that can cause your German Shepherd to pant a lot and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Causes of a German Shepherd panting a lot
German shepherds are big dogs so it is to be expected that they will pant more than most other dogs.
However, there are a number of things that will cause them to pant more than usual. Some of them will be a cause for concern and others will be less troubling.
It is too hot
The most likely reason that it pants a lot is because it is too hot. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do so it is difficult for them to regulate their temperature. Add in the fact that German Shepherds have double coats and it becomes easy to see that they will get hot very easily.
When dogs get hot they will naturally pant more than usual as a way to cool off.
It has heatstroke
Another reason that a dog might pant more than usual is that it has heatstroke. This would be caused by doing too much activity, outside, while it is hot.
If you notice that your German Shepherd continues to pant after having been out in the heat for some time it would help to give it access to water and to give it access to a cool and shaded area immediately. If it does seem to have heatstroke then it would be important to take it to a vet as soon as you have helped it cool down.
German Shepherds may also start to pant a lot more than usual when they are frightened. This could be due to thunderstorms, a low flying jet, fireworks or it could be because you started to seem frightened yourself.
It could also be the case that it is fearful of a certain person. This would be more likely if it only starts to pant more when that particular person is around.
It might also be the case that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it only seems to pant more when you are about to leave.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It has a heart-problem
The reason that it has been panting more than usual could be that it has a heart problem or some other serious issue.
This would be more likely if the panting come on suddenly, it pants heavily all the time and it does it when it shouldn’t be panting so much such as when indoors and it is cool.
If you think that this is the reason then it would likely be worthwhile for you to take your German Shepherd to the vet.
Allergic reaction to something
The cause of the panting could be that it has had an allergic reaction to something or it has been poisoned. This would be more likely if it started panting suddenly, when there wasn’t anything else that should have caused the panting, or if it started shortly after it ate something it shouldn’t have.
Again, in this case, you should consider taking your German Shepherd to the vet to get it checked out.
German Shepherds will begin to pant more than usual right after they have done exercise. This will be because they need to supply their muscles with more oxygen.
Panting more than usual right after it has done exercise is a normal time for a German Shepherd to be panting unless it does it excessively for a long time.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
German Shepherds may also start to pant a lot when they are excited. This is because they will become more active and because they will be supplying their muscles with more oxygen in anticipation.
Again, panting more than usual when it is excited is a normal time for a dog to start panting a lot.
When panting a lot is normal
If your German Shepherd has been panting a lot then it may be quite concerning for you.
Below, I will mention some instances where panting more than usual would be normal for a German Shepherd.
It is hot
If it pants more than usual when it is hot outside then this would be a normal time for a German Shepherd to pant a lot. However, if it has been out in the sun for a long time and it has started panting a lot more than usual then this would be a sign of heatstroke and you should cool it down and take it to a vet.
It has just been running
Another time where it is normal for a German Shepherd to pant more is right after it has been doing exercise.
It is excited
German Shepherds and most other dogs will pant more when they are excited and this should not be a cause for concern on its own.
It is acting normally otherwise
If your German Shepherd has not started to act differently suddenly then that would also be a sign that the panting is normal.
However, if it is acting normally, it could still be the case that there is something wrong. This would be more likely if it does it in the scenarios that will be mentioned below.
How to tell if it is abnormal
While there are many instanced where panting a lot is normal, it can also be a sign that there is something wrong.
Below, I will mention some signs that the panting is due to something abnormal.
It started to pant suddenly when it is not hot, excited or after running
If you noticed that your German Shepherd has been panting a lot in situations where it shouldn’t be panting so much it would be a sign that something is wrong.
For example, if it does not usually pant so much but, in recent days, it has been panting a lot constantly even when in a cool, calm and shaded environment then it would be a cause for concern.
It pants when you are about to leave
If you notice that it only starts to pant more than usual when you are about to leave then this would suggest that it has some separation anxiety.
In this case, you may want to get the help of a certified dog expert in your area.
The panting is constant and intense
It is normal for a German Shepherd to pant more than most dogs. However, if you notice that your German Shepherd pants intensely constantly then it would be a cause for concern and a reason to get it checked out.
Your German Shepherd’s tongue or gums appear blue, purple or white
If your German Shepherd started panting a lot more than usual, suddenly, and its tongue or gums appear blue, purple or white then it is a sign it is not getting sufficient oxygen (source).
Again, in this case, you should get your German Shepherd looked at by a vet.
It is behaving abnormally
Another cause for concern would be if it has been panting more than usual and it has been acting weird. This would be a sign that it is sick or injured in some way and another reason to get it checked out by a vet.
Things you can do
There are a number of things that you can do to reduce how excessively your German Shepherd has been panting that I will mention below.
Go to a vet if you think that the panting is abnormal
The first thing that you should do is to get it checked out by a vet if you think that the panting is abnormal or if there are any signs of the panting being abnormal such as those mentioned above.
Remove its undercoat
Often, the cause of the panting will be because your German Shepherd is too hot. To reduce the panting, in this case, it would help to get help it to stay cool.
One way to do this would be to de-shed your German Shepherd using a de-shedding brush. You can do this by following how it is done in the video below.
Give it access to shade and cool areas
Another way to help your German Shepherd pant less and to cool down would be to give it access to shaded areas.
You can do this by letting it come inside when it wants to and by making there be more shaded areas in your garden.
Give it access to water
Another way to help cool your German Shepherd down would be to give it access to water. By doing this you will help your German Shepherd be able to stay hydrated and to reduce the likelihood of it getting heatstroke.
Give it exercise on a daily basis
Giving your German Shepherd exercise on a daily basis will help to keep your German Shepherd healthy and to reduce how much it pants when it is not doing exercise.
Generally, it is recommended that you give your German Shepherd at least an hour of exercise per day. This is because German Shepherds are working dogs that are designed to be very active.
Giving your German Shepherd can also prevent other problems such as aggression or destructive behavior.
There are many ways that you can give your German Shepherd exercise.
One way would be to just walk it for an hour per day normally. If you live in a hot area then try to do it in the morning or evening when it is cooler and there is less sunlight.
Another way to give your German Shepherd a lot of efficient exercise would be to play fetch with it. By doing this you will be able to get it to do a lot of running which will wear it out quickly. If your German Shepherd doesn’t know how to play fetch then I have written about how you can teach it to play fetch here.
If you are not able to give your German Shepherd exercise daily yourself then consider paying a dog walker to do it for you. There are apps that you can download now that you can use to find dog walkers in your area.
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.