Skip to Content

Why Does My German Shepherd Always Pant?

It is very typical to see a dog panting a lot on a hot summer day outside or after a lot of activity. 

However, some dogs take the panting to a new level. 

Some breeds of dogs are known for panting a lot more than other breeds, and German Shepherds have made this list. 

Why Does My German Shepherd Always Pant?

German Shepherds seem to always be panting because of their thick coats that can make them very warm. The main reason for any dog panting is so that they can cool down and this isn’t that much different for German Shepherds.

The main reason for German Shepherds panting a lot is because their coats make them very warm.

However, why does any dog pant when they are warm or when it is warm outside?

Panting keeps dogs cool in the same way that sweating keeps humans cool. 

With all the fur on a dog’s body, they aren’t able to use sweat to keep cool. 

If they did sweat, their coats would get damp, dirty, and won’t be able to perform the functions that they are meant to. 

Panting cools dogs through the evaporation of water in the body. 

Air gets inhaled, it gets humidified, and then it is exhaled. 

This evaporation gets rid of water from the mouth, nose, and lungs.

It is constantly pushing water out, which is also why a dog can get dehydrated from excessive panting.

Larger dogs, dogs with thicker coats, and dogs with short noses are all the kinds of dogs that are more likely to be excessively pant. 

German Shepherds are both large dogs and have thicker coats, so they get hot a lot easier than some other breeds. 

They have to pant more to keep themselves cool, especially when they go outside in the summer. 

German Shepherds Are Very Active

German Shepherds have always been very active dogs. 

From their days of being sheep shepherds to them being used as police or guard dogs, German Shepherds have always needed to have a lot of energy. 

The high energy and activity levels of German Shepherds lead them to run around and exercise a lot. 

This activity will warm up the German Shepherd just like humans get hot when exercising. 

With the amount of exercise that German Shepherds love to do, they will need to pant a lot more to keep cool with all the running around they do. 

Make sure to have water readily available to your German Shepherd when they are doing more intense activities, so they don’t get dehydrated from panting. 

Feeling Anxious

Dogs will pant more when they are afraid or anxious. 

Panting is a panic response as the adrenaline starts to warm the dog and make them need to pant.

If your German Shepherd is afraid of thunder, a sudden crash will scare your dog and they will pant as a response.

German Shepherds will also pant if they are anxious.

Any dog can get separation anxiety, but the pack instinct that German Shepherds have can make them more likely to develop separation anxiety.

In anxious situations, the fight or flight response is triggered and causes the production of adrenaline.

In response, your German Shepherd will start to pant more. 

If you have a German Shepherd puppy, you can combat this fear and anxiety by having your German Shepherd experience different environments and different situations. 

You can also aid your grown German Shepherd through soothing methods such as petting and giving your German Shepherd a hug. 

Giving them treats when they get through different situations can help ease their fears over time. 

Health Problems

While panting is a completely normal and expected thing for dogs to do when they are warm or feeling a negative emotion, there are times when panting shouldn’t happen. 

Excessive panting (to an extreme level) can be a sign of some underlying condition that your German Shepherd might have.

If you find that your dog is panting all the time, even when the temperature isn’t warm, or if they’re panting way more than usual, it is time to take your German Shepherd to the vet.

Heart Problems

Unnormal panting can be a sign that your German Shepherd has a heart problem. 

When a heart problem is present, it usually means that something is happening where the heart has to work harder than usual to keep the body working right. 

This causes more strain on the body and causes your dog to have to pant more. 

Taking your German Shepherd to the vet as soon as you notice anything unusual can help prevent any complications from a problem from happening. 

Sometimes, if a heart problem is caught early enough then treatment can be done without consequences. 

Heat Stroke

Your dog is as prone to getting too hot outside and having a heatstroke as a person is. 

In fact, they might be more likely due to their heavy coats. 

Be aware of how your dog is acting when they are hanging out inside. 

If anything unusual or concerning starts to happen, give your dog water, and put them in a shaded area as soon as possible.

Once your dog has had a chance to cool down, take them to the vet right away. 

Make sure that your dog is always supplied with plenty of clean water whenever it is outside for an extended period of time. 

Also, make sure that they have the ability to be in a shaded place if they start to get too warm. 

Allergic Reactions

Dogs can also have allergic reactions to things.

There are also plants and foods that they might consume that can cause them to be sick.

Having an allergic reaction to something can cause both hives in the face and excessive panting. 

Check their paws and coat to see if anything is stuck to it that could have given your German Shepherd an allergic reaction.

If you are sure that this is an allergic reaction, then take your dog to the vet.

How Do I Know If My German Shepherd’s Panting is Normal?

Knowing what is panting normal and what panting is not is important to know so that your German Shepherd doesn’t end up suffering when something is wrong. 

Crucial differences can be noted between normal panting and unusual panting and even though German Shepherds already excessively pant, they can experience unusual panting as well. 

Panting is normal when your German Shepherd is playing outside. 

You can expect your German Shepherd to be panting when they are in warm weather and are playing.

Even if they pant a lot, as long as they have plenty of water and are able to take shady breaks, they should be okay. 

It is also normal if your German Shepherd starts to pant whenever a strong feeling is present. 

Fear, anxiety, and excitement all cause panting to occur in dogs.

Anytime your dog would feel an adrenaline rush is a time when they might start panting. 

If your German Shepherd is panting a lot but seems normal otherwise, then this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. 

This is especially true if some of the other factors are also at play. 

Unusual panting can include overly excessive panting where there are no other stressors happening and if your German Shepherd is acting unusual.

This behavior might include pacing, fatigue, refusal of water, or digestive problems.

These factors might be an indicator that your German Shepherd is feeling unwell and should be taken to the vet.

Also, pay attention to the sound of their panting.

If your German Shepherd’s panting is sudden and sounds deeper or accompanied by wheezing, your German Shepherd might have something wrong going on. 

You can also check the color of your German Shepherd’s gums.

If the color is very pale with a grey or blue tinge, your dog might not be getting proper oxygen. 

If you have any concerns over the panting of your German Shepherd, it doesn’t hurt to call up your vet to get a professional opinion. 

It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds do pant more than some other breeds of dogs. 

The general rule is that larger dogs, dogs with thicker or fluffier coats, and dogs with short noses pant more than other dogs.

German Shepherds both have thick two-layered coats and are considered large dogs. 

There are many reasons why German Shepherds pant more, the main reason being that they need to cool themselves off more frequently due to their coats being thicker. 

They also are more active and energetic so they are moving frequently. 

The high exercise levels make them feel a lot warmer so they have to pant to cool off. 

Taking care of your German Shepherd should be top priority.

Regarding panting, always make sure that your German Shepherd has access to plenty of clean water and has the ability to go in the shade if they are feeling warm.