Why Golden Retrievers Pant So Much (Explained!)

Golden Retrievers are beautiful, friendly dogs, but you may have noticed that they pant a lot more often than other breeds. All dogs pant to regulate their body temperature, buy why do Golden Retrievers seem to pant so much more often?

Golden Retrievers pant so much due to their excitability, high activity level, and heavy coats. A golden’s dense double coat, tends to store more heat than most breeds, increasing the need to pant more frequently. However, anxiety, illness, or allergies may also cause a Golden Retriever to pant excessively.

As a dog owner, it’s important to understand your Golden’s panting behavior, as it’s the only way to know if your dog’s panting is normal, or a sign of a potential problem such as illness or allergies. Keep reading to find out the specific reasons Golden Retrievers pant so much, and what you can do about it.

A panting golden retriever with his tongue hanging out.

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Panting is a Natural Behavior For a Golden Retriever

Before we jump into the specific reasons that cause Golden Retrievers to pant so much, it’s worth mentioning that panting is a completely natural behavior for all dogs.

Dogs don’t sweat through their skin to cool themselves off like humans do. Instead, they pant through their mouths to release excess body heat. Having said that, not every dog breed has the need to pant as heavily or as much as a Golden Retriever.

A panting Golden Retriever can literally have their whole tongue hanging out of their mouths, dripping saliva everywhere! Under most circumstances this is completely normal panting behavior, and is most likely cause by one of the following reasons.

Golden Retrievers Pant Due to High Temperatures

Despite contributing to a Golden Retriever’s overall beauty, the dense double coat and extra-long fur can contribute to overheating. This is especially common on hot afternoons when the temperatures become too hot for a Golden to handle.

Your Golden Retriever will start panting as a way to cool down during those extremely hot and sunny days. You’ll also notice excessive panting when temperatures inside a room get warm. In such situations, it’s best to take your furry best friend to a cooler room and provide some water to help him cool off.

Recommended Reading: Do Golden Retrievers Have Hair or Fur? (A Golden’s Coat)

Exercising Will Cause a Golden Retriever to Pant

Golden Retrievers thrive on exercises and physical activities. Their love for physical play makes the breed susceptible to excessive panting, especially after a training session or daily exercises.

And since it’s crucial to allow your Golden Retriever enough time to exercise every day, his panting behavior shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. As a rule of thumb, the more you train or exercise your Golden, the more heavily he’ll pant. This is because panting is a natural response to physical exertion. 

Goldens Pant When Excited

Golden Retrievers are naturally excited dogs. They’re always alert, and are easily excited by any activity. Therefore, it’s perfectly normal for your Golden Retriever to pant excessively when excited about food, a family member returning home, or a walk.

An excited dog will pant more due to an increased heart rate. The panting is a way to supply additional oxygen to the bloodstream. Golden Retrievers tend to get a lot more excited than most breeds, which explains why they’re notorious for their excessive panting behavior.

Excessive Panting in Golden Retrievers

Besides the above-mentioned causes for normal panting, Golden retrievers can also pant due to several other more serious reasons that may need your attention. Below are factors that can lead to excessive panting in Goldens.

Panting in Goldens Due to Anxiety and Fear

As mentioned above, Golden Retrievers are prone to excitability, which is normal. But that excitability can turn to extreme anxiety. An anxious or fearful Golden Retriever will pant in a worried or manic fashion. You may experience this type of panting while waiting at the vets office or during a car ride.

In addition, some Goldens are prone to fear caused by loud noises, which can provoke panting as well. For instance, fireworks or loud thunder can cause some Goldens to be scared and react by panting, pacing, and/or hiding.

Illness or Injury Can Cause Panting in Golden Retrievers

Your Golden Retriever might pant a lot more than usual if he’s suffering from an injury or an underlying illness. Therefore, if you notice your Golden is panting excessively, you should check for signs of illness such as vomiting, pale eyes, or low energy. You should also check if your Golden is limping or has a bruise somewhere if his panting behavior becomes increasingly irregular.

Allergic Reaction Induced Panting in Golden Retrievers

As a naturally adventurous breed, it is highly likely that your Golden Retriever can eat or interact with something containing allergens. Allergic reactions can lead to swellings, irritations, and a change in mood. As a result, your Golden’s panting rate will also increase significantly. In case you suspect an allergic reaction, taking your four-legged friend to the veterinarian is highly recommended.

See how heavily this Golden Retriever pants after some vigorous exercise. This fast breathing is normal, and will calm down after several minutes.

Is Your Golden Retriever’s Panting Is Abnormal?

If your Golden Retriever has been exhibiting excessive or abnormal panting not caused by warm temperatures, recent exercise, or excitement, there may be an illness, injury, or behavioral issue to blame. Ailments could include kennel cough, Cushing’s disease, or exercise intolerance. These are serious concerns and should be diagnosed as quickly as possible.

Below are some signs to look for to find out if your Golden’s excessive panting should be a cause for alarm.

The Golden Retriever’s Panting Is Intense and Constant

If your Golden Retriever doesn’t stop panting or exhibits breathing problems, even after cooling off and settling down, this may indicate a bigger problem. Intense and constant panting could indicate a breathing issue or possibly even a behavioral one. Either way if the panting persists without stopping or your dog is experiencing labored breathing, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately.

Golden Retriever Panting Without Triggers

Your Golden Retriever’s panting should be easily connected to an identifiable event. As an example, it makes sense if your Golden is panting heavily after a game of fetch. But if your furry friend is panting for extended periods without stopping, and there is no reason that you can attribute it to, this is a sign that it may be time to call the vet.

Triggers like high temperature, physical exertion, and excitement more often than not lead to panting in dogs. However, if your Golden Retriever pants excessively without any trigger, then he could be injured, in pain or battling an underlying illness. If you notice the panting increases without stopping, then you might want to get him to the local vet for an emergency assessment.

Panting When Your About To Leave Means Your Golden’s Anxious

Failure to train your Golden Retriever early enough can lead to separation anxiety and other behavioral problems. If your four-legged friend starts to pant when you’re about to leave, chances are he has separation anxiety. Luckily you can fix the problem by consulting a dog behaviorist or by training the dog yourself if the anxiety is minor.

You’ll need to:

  • Arrive and depart home without making a big deal. Ignore you Golden for a few minutes after arriving home, then calmly give them attention.
  • Use a consistent word or action when you leave that tells your dog that you’ll return.
  • When you leave, give your Golden some clothes or a blanket that smells like you to help keep them calm.

This is for relatively minor panting due to separation anxiety. If your Golden Retriever suffers from extreme separation issues, it’s best to consult a professional.

Panting Combined With Abnormal Behavior in Goldens

If the panting patterns become abnormal and your Golden starts exhibiting unusual symptoms like vomiting, excessive tearing, and a change in attitude, then you should take immediate action. In these cases your Golden may have a serious injury or infection that requires immediate attention. Oftentimes these medical issues will lead to excessive panting and other abnormal behavior.

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How To Control a Golden’s Excessive Panting

If you are able to determine that your Golden is panting for normal reasons (not due to illness or injury), there are some proven methods you can use to get your Golden Retriever to stop panting.

  • Provide cold water. Giving your Golden Retriever cold water can help him cool off, and stop panting. It’s important to always ensure that your Golden has access to fresh cool water, especially on hot sunny days.
  • A cool bath might help. As a double-coated breed, it’s crucial to help Golden Retrievers cool down, more so on hot days. A cool bath might help reduce a Golden’s internal temperatures, thereby reducing the need to pant. A cool bath is also a good way to reduce the chances of heat stroke and heat exhaustion if your Golden has been out in excessively hot temperatures. (This is especially a concern for a puppy or a senior dog)
  • Shade usually helps. Provide a well-shaded area for your Golden Retriever to relax outdoors on sunny afternoons. You should provide shade for your Golden when playing, walking, or training on extra hot days.
  • Walk your Golden at night. During hot weather, it’s a good idea to exercise or walk you Golden Retriever after the sun goes down.
  • Turn on a fan. A hot Golden Retriever appreciates a cool breeze just as we do. Turning on a fan will help to remove any excess heat from their body. This is especially helpful if your dog pants at night, and is keeping you awake.
  • Comfort your Golden. Golden Retrievers love attention anytime, but it is especially important if they are feeling anxious. Comforting your dog will help soothe and calm him down, consequently returning his breathing to a normal level.
  • Be aware of allergen triggers or injuries. It’s very easy for Golden Retrievers to come into contact with allergens or get injured during play. As a result, you should always examine your dog, especially after an afternoon out. Call your local vet in case you notice any unusual behavior.

Recommended Reading: Does Your Golden Retriever Drool a Lot? (Should You Worry?)

Wrapping Up

Golden Retrievers are naturally active dogs. Combine this with a heavy fur coat, and you’ve got a breed that has a tendency to pant more than other dog breeds, as they have to work harder to regulate their body temperature, especially on hot days.

This type of panting is perfectly normal, however, if your Golden is panting excessively or without any obvious trigger it could be a sign of an emotional or medical condition requiring attention. Therefore, you should always be aware of your Golden’s panting behavior to determine whether it’s normal, or a sign of an underlying problem.

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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