Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
9 step program to reduce your dog’s excessive panting

9 step program to reduce your dog’s excessive panting

Why do senior dogs pant and overheat

Do you live with a senior dog? If you do, you may have noticed that your canine friend seems to be panting more often. In such cases, most people assume that their dog is hot, however, that may not be the case.

There are four main reasons why dogs pant and today I would like to go through them one by one to give you a deeper understanding of how to make your dog comfortable and happy.

A lesson from my dog

For the longest time, I was puzzled by the fact that older dogs pant a lot and my dog Skai gave me the answer.  

When he was about 10 or 11, I noticed that whenever it got hot, he slowed down dramatically and was not as energetic. At first I thought he was just getting older and slowing down in general. 

But, something interesting happened. I took Skai for a trip to Haleakala, a ten thousand foot high volcano in Maui, and despite the elevation, he turned into his bouncy and youthful self and this transformation happened every time the weather was cooler.

What do ageing lungs have to do with it?

During my veterinary school years, we learned in radiology that the lung tissue of an older dog looks different than the lungs of a young dog. The older lungs show more white on the image because the tissue is denser. It is a normal, unavoidable part of the ageing process, similar to wrinkles on the face.

Naturally, as the lungs age and the tissue becomes less filled with air and more dense, it affects your dog’s ability to cool down. 

My experience is that in most dogs, the capacity reduction DOES NOT affect exercise tolerance as much as their ability to cool down.

It is common knowledge that dogs do not have sweat glands and their cooling system relies on the heat exchange through the body surface or the respiratory tract through breathing and panting.

This also explains why some senior dogs, who are very mobile and frisky in cold weather, slow right down when the weather is hot.  

What to do about your dog’s excessive panting
  1. Walk your dog early in the morning and/or in the late afternoon.
  2. Never exercise your dog vigorously in the heat of the day. If you are tempted, put on a thick winter coat and try to run around to see how it feels. Click here to see Why ball retrieving may not be the best exercise for any dog, but especially a senior dog.
  3. Swimming is great to cool your dog down, but too much swimming can also cause injuries.  I suggest that you read the article on How much swimming is too much to prevent overextension and injuries.
  4. Hose your dog down in the heat of the summer before you go for a walk.
  5. Put a fan by your dog’s bed if needed and keep the bedroom temperature around 15C (60F).
  6. Some dogs may also pant because they are in discomfort, have back pain or tight muscles. This leads to inflammation, acidity and excessive panting. Here are 10 steps to keeping your senior dog happy and mobile.
  7. Take an online course on a medication-free approach to arthritis and stiffness. 
  8. Many dogs also pant because of being on a kibble diet, which generally makes the body acidic. Panting is a way to expel CO2 from the body, which reduces the acidity. Here is a tool that will help you switch your dog to Healthy Food
  9. Toxin build-up also causes increased panting, especially when it happens in the middle of the night. A gentle semi-annual cleanse can make a huge difference in the comfort of your dog. Here is link to a liver cleanse protocol for dogs.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

By clicking "Continue" or continuing to use our site, you acknowledge that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. We also use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website. You can find out more about the cookies we use and learn how to manage them here. Feel free to check out our policies anytime for more information.




Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping