Why is my dog panting and pacing? Expert Advice

If your dog is experiencing excessive panting, change in bark sound, loud breathing, honking sounds, shortness of breath, coughing, or any other abnormal behavior, LAR PAR may be the cause of their panting.

In most cases, panting and pacing is just a common reaction to your dog being a little unsure of their environment. If there’s been a recent routine change, this can cause them to appear restless, and take on other physical symptoms, like excessive shedding. It can also be something a little more serious that requires a call to your vet.

If your pup is panting, pacing, limping, bleeding, appearing guarded, or any other abnormal behavior, they may have injured themselves. It could be a thorn or weed that’s been stuck in a paw pad or some other type of ligament tear that’s less visible. While usually not life-threatening, it’s worth looking your pup over to see any obvious physical signs of injury.

While this can be common in older dogs, as more health impacts may show up, it can really manifest itself as a symptom for any dog that has a pain that’s not obvious to the naked eye. Usually diagnosing the cause of this pain is requires a trip to the vet, where they will do an ultrasound or an X-Ray, which will show any potential growths, or any internal irregularities.

For example, canine dementia is known for causing severe disorientation in dogs as the condition progresses. Dogs with this condition will often pace for hours on end, appear restless, pant excessively, wander aimlessly, and many other signs of impaired awareness. If your pup is panting tirelessly and experiencing other abnormal behaviors, they may be suffering from a neurological condition.

Common in:

Older dogs, although any age, breed, and gender may start pacing due to pain, anxiety, or distress

When should my dog see a vet?

If your dog pants or paces excessively at night, or exhibits other anxious behaviors, get in touch with your vet to find out whether your dog should be seen by them. If you spot any signs of heatstroke in your dog, immediately take them for urgent veterinary care during clinic hours, or treatment after hours at a nearby emergency veterinary hospital. Your veterinarian will examine your canine companion, perform any necessary diagnostic and treatment procedures, and work with you to help your dog feel better today and tomorrow.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pets condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

My Dog is Panting Pacing and Won’t Lie Down

Something is not right: Your dog is panting and restless. His tongue hangs out of his mouth while he paces around the house, curling up in his dog bed for a few minutes before getting right back up and continuing his path from room to room, unable to settle—and it’s even worse at night.

Figuring out what might be causing these behaviors can require a bit of investigation, according to Dr. Tessa King, veterinarian with Compassion 4 Paws in Edmunds, Washington.

“You need to be a detective and look for clues,” she adds. “Keeping a journal to look for patterns can help the vet figure out what might be causing behaviors like panting and restlessness.”

Panting is a normal behavior. Dogs sweat a little through their paw pads but they largely depend on panting to expel hot air from their lungs and draw in cool air to cool down, notes veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug of Texas Veterinary Behavior Service in Sugar Land, Texas.

While it’s normal for dogs to pant after a long walk or in sweltering temperatures, panting during rest (or in a temperature-controlled home) could be a sign of other issues such as discomfort or pain. Certain medications, including steroids, opioids and thyroid medications can cause increased panting; and overweight dogs are also more prone to rapid breathing. Anxiety is another common cause of panting.

“Just like we use breathing exercises [in yoga and meditation] to tap into our anti-fight or flight response, dogs do the same thing,” Haug says. “Panting can help dogs relax and distract them from discomfort.”

Haug looks for physical cues to determine why a dog won’t stop panting. A dog that is anxious tends to have his mouth open, lips pulled back and tongue in his mouth while a dog panting due to heat usually has his tongue hanging out of its mouth.

Dogs may pant for a combination of reasons, including pain and anxiety or weight issues and medication side effects.

Monitoring your dog’s behavior to determine whether it is related to temperature or only happens during certain situations (like thunderstorms) may help explain why your dog won’t stop panting. A physical exam can also help your veterinarian determine the root cause of chronic panting.