Why Do Golden Retrievers Pant So Much?

Why Do Golden Retrievers Pant So Much?

If you’re a pet owner, you may have noticed that your golden retriever pants quite frequently. While panting is a normal behavior in dogs, excessive panting can be a sign of an underlying health issue or environmental factor. In this post, we’ll explore the various reasons why golden retrievers pant so much and provide tips on how to manage excessive panting to ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy.

Normal Reasons for Panting in Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers, like all dogs, pant as a way of regulating their body temperature. This is because they don’t have sweat glands like humans do and can only cool down by panting. There are several normal reasons why golden retrievers may pant.

Read more: How Long Are Golden Retrievers Pregnant?

Cooling Down the Body

When a golden retriever is hot or has been exercising, they will naturally start to pant more heavily to help release heat from their bodies. It’s important to be aware of the signs of overheating such as excessive drooling, lethargy and red gums so that you can take action quickly.

Signs of overheating:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Red gums


Just like humans need exercise to stay healthy, so do our furry friends. Golden retrievers require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. During exercise or playtime with other dogs they may pant excessively but this should subside once they return back to their resting state.

Signs of exhaustion during exercise:

  • Heavy breathing/panting
  • Lagging behind
  • Refusal/inability to continue

Excitement or Stress

Golden Retrievers are known for being friendly and affectionate dogs who love people and new experiences, however it’s important not forget that sometimes even good excitement can cause heavy breathing which might look like excessive panting in these pooches.

How To Identify Excitement Or Stress In Golden Retrievers:

  • Tail wagging vigorously.
  • Barking excitedly when greeting someone/something new.
  • Pacing around restlessly.

Medical Reasons for Excessive Panting in Golden Retrievers

While panting is considered normal behavior in dogs, excessive panting can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Here are some medical reasons why golden retrievers may excessively pant.

Respiratory Problems

Golden Retrievers are prone to respiratory problems that can cause heavy breathing and excessive panting.

Respiratory issues to be aware of:

  • Tracheal collapse
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Bronchitis

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Wheezing or honking coughs.
  • Trouble sleeping or lying down flat.
  • Bluish gums or tongue.

Heart Problems

Heart disease can be common in older golden retrievers but younger dogs could also exhibit signs of heart-related issues. Golden Retrievers in general have a higher risk of developing certain heart problems, such as subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), due to their genetic makeup.

Potential signs of heart problems in golden retrievers:

  • Cough/wheeze after exercise/excitement.
  • Heavy breathing/panting when resting.

Pain or Discomfort

Pain and discomfort from various sources can cause your furry friend to breathe heavily as well.

Common sources of pain/discomfort:

  • Arthritis/joint pain
  • Dental infections
  • Skin allergies
  • Hot spots
  • Ear infections

If you notice your dog exhibiting any abnormal symptoms it’s always best to consult with your vet!

Environmental Factors That Contribute to Excessive Panting

Aside from medical reasons, there are environmental factors that can cause your golden retriever to pant excessively. Here are some common ones:

Humidity and Temperature

Golden Retrievers have a thick coat of fur which makes it harder for them to regulate their body temperature when the weather is too hot or humid.

Ideal temperature and humidity for golden retrievers:

  • Keep indoor temperatures between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Outdoor temperature should be below 85 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity levels.

How to monitor temperature and humidity levels:

  • Use a thermometer/hydrometer in your home/yard.
  • Avoid excessive outdoor activity during peak heat hours (10am-4pm).

Allergens and Pollutants

Allergens like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and pollutants like cigarette smoke or vehicle exhaust fumes can cause respiratory issues leading to heavy breathing/panting.

Common allergens/pollutants that affect golden retrievers:

  • Pollen/dust
  • Secondhand smoke

Ways to reduce exposure:

  • Air purifiers/filters inside homes.
  • Avoid taking dogs on walks during high pollution periods.

If you notice excessive panting due to any of these environmental factors then try reducing exposure as much as possible!

Behavioral Reasons for Excessive Panting in Golden Retrievers

Behavioral reasons can also contribute to excessive panting in golden retrievers. Here are some common ones:

Anxiety or Fear

Golden Retrievers are social animals and they thrive on human interaction but at times, situations could result in anxiety or fear which might lead them to heavy breathing.

How anxiety/fear causes excessive panting:

  • Dogs may start taking rapid breaths when feeling nervous/anxious.
  • They might also show other signs like shaking/trembling.

Signs of anxiety/fear in golden retrievers:

  • Avoidance behavior
  • Restless pacing

Boredom or Lack of Stimulation

Golden Retrievers need physical as well as mental exercise to stay healthy and happy. A lack thereof can cause boredom leading to heavy breathing/panting.

How boredom/lack of stimulation leads to excessive panting:

  • Dogs might become restless due to the excess energy buildup.
  • Without an outlet for their energy, dogs become easily agitated.

Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation For Golden Retrievers:

  • Interactive games/toys that promote problem-solving abilities.
  • Training sessions with positive reinforcement techniques.

If you notice your furry friend exhibiting any abnormal behaviors besides these behavioral reasons then it’s always best to consult with a professional dog trainer!

Training and Management Techniques to Reduce Excessive Panting

There are various training and management techniques that can help reduce excessive panting in golden retrievers. Here are some effective ones:

Basic Obedience Training

Obedience training can help your furry friend become more confident, relaxed, and well-behaved, leading to reduced panting.

Basic obedience training can help by providing your pup with mental stimulation, and by reinforcing the trust between owner and dog. Some common commands that are a good place to start are sit and stay, and then working on recall with a “come!” command.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques like massage or music therapy can calm down an anxious or stressed-out golden retriever leading to a reduction in heavy breathing/panting.

Techniques to help golden retrievers relax:

  • Massage
  • Music
  • Sound conditioning

You can try out relaxation techniques like these by scheduling them into your day or week at regular intervals, and by using positive reinforcement during these “calm periods”.

Reduced anxiety levels also lead to lower cortisol (stress hormone) production making it beneficial for overall health. Remember, every dog is unique so if you have an anxious pup make sure to try out different techniques until you find what works best for yours!


Excessive panting is a common issue that Golden Retriever owners face, but it can be managed effectively. Here’s a summary of the key takeaways from this article:

Normal Reasons for Panting in Golden Retrievers:

  • Exercise and excitement are normal reasons for heavy breathing/panting.
  • Body temperature regulation plays an important role.

Medical Reasons for Excessive Panting in Golden Retrievers:

  • Respiratory problems or heart diseases could cause excessive panting.

Environmental Factors That Contribute to Excessive Panting:

  • High humidity/temperature and exposure to allergens/pollutants can result in excessive panting.

Behavioral Reasons for Excessive Panting in Golden Retrievers:

  • Anxiety/fear/boredom/lack of stimulation could also cause abnormal breathing patterns.

Training and Management Techniques to Reduce Excessive Panting:

  • Obedience training and relaxation techniques like massage/music therapy can work well.

By paying close attention to your furry friend’s behavior, you can identify the underlying reason(s) behind their heavy breathing/panting. And with proper management techniques, you can help them lead healthier, happier lives!

Related Reading

roger stanley site owner and primary author
Meet The Author Roger Stanley

Co-owner of goldenretrievergoods.com. 15 years of experience living life with Golden Retrievers and 15 years of experience spending way too much money on them – I believe life’s not worth living without a Golden involved!

We want to remind our readers that the articles or content found on goldenretrievergoods.com do not constitute nor replace professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided on our website is purely educational and informational, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed veterinarian.