7 Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Is Panting & How To Help

Australian shepherds may pant a lot. 

Panting is a dog’s way of cooling themselves off, since they do not sweat like humans do. 

Your Australian shepherd may also pant when they are excited or when they have been exercising.  

You may notice that a simple “do you want to go for a walk?” will cause your dog to start panting wildly – this is their way of showing excitement! 

All dogs pant, but if you notice your Australian shepherd panting excessively, you may be worried about their health. This post will help you learn about normal causes of panting, and what to do if you think your dog is panting too much.  

Do Australian Shepherds Breathe Fast? 

Compared to humans, Australian shepherds may seem like they breathe fast.  An Australian shepherd should take about 15 to 30 breaths a minute if they are cool and relaxed.  

If the Australian shepherd is excited, has just been exercising or is hot, it will breathe faster.  An average human breathes about 12 to 16 times per minute, so when you listen to your dog breathe it may sound very fast in comparison. 

Since Australian shepherds like to be very active, you will notice them breathing more quickly whenever you exercise them – which is likely to be often!  

Why Is Your Australian Shepherd Panting? 

There are many reasons why your Australian shepherd may be panting. Remember that panting is usually normal – it is a response similar to humans sweating or breathing hard while exercising.  

Exercise 

The most common reason is that they are exercising. Australian shepherds are very active and require a lot of exercise. If you are walking your dog briskly or they have been running or playing fetch, don’t be worried if your dog is panting. 

Learn The: 9 SECRET Tips You Can Use To Train ANY Dog Successfully!

Getting Too Hot 

Another reason that Australian shepherds will pant is if they are too hot. Panting is a dog’s way of cooling themselves down. If you live in a hot climate and your Australian shepherd spends time outdoors, you will notice them panting to cool themselves off. 

Being Excited 

Dogs may also pant when they are excited, like when they see you pick up their favorite toy to play, or you mention going for a walk. 

Feeling Anxious 

Your Australian shepherd may also even pant if they are anxious. For example, if you know that your dog gets nervous about going in the car and you notice them panting, this is due to anxiety.  

“Work Mode” 

Australian shepherds in general are very active and playful. They may pant more frequently than other, more laid-back breeds. Since Australian shepherds are a working dog, they are quicker to go into “work mode” and be ready to get active, which can cause them to pant more.  

Why Is Your Australian Shepherd Panting Excessively? 

As mentioned previously, most of the time excessive panting has to do with exercising or being too hot. If you notice your dog panting excessively, outside of those reasons, it could mean something else.  

Panting Excessively In The Heat 

Australian shepherds have a long and thick coat, so if you notice them panting their way through hotter months, it is usually not a cause for concern.  

You can always help them to cool themselves off by shaving their coats. Australian shepherds are known for their long and thick coats and beautiful coloring but relieving them of some of that hair in the hot months may be a good idea. 

If your dog likes water and swimming, you can even get them a small kiddie pool for your back yard. Splashing in the water will help to cool them down.  

Remember to always have water for your dog if you are out walking in the heat, or just if they are playing out in the yard.  

Anxiety 

Australian shepherds can also be anxious with new people and new situations, so if you notice them starting to pant excessively when a new person enters your home, they are just showing that they are anxious. 

All dogs are individuals and may also have different triggers that make them nervous and cause them to pant excessively – such as thunderstorms, car rides, going to the vet etc.  

If you are concerned that your dog is panting excessively and you are noticing that they are panting like this all the time, it is worth mentioning to your vet. 

Your Australian shepherd is likely a very active dog that gets excited by the prospect of going for walks and playing. This means that your Australian shepherd may spend a lot of time panting due to exercise, or in anticipation of exercise. 

If you have a highly nervous dog, you will also notice them panting excessively even when they are not exercising.  

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What Are Common Australian Shepherd Breathing Problems? 

Though panting a lot is normal for Australian shepherds, if you notice them panting more than what you think is normal there could be a chance that they have one of the following diseases which can cause breathing problems.  

It is important to discuss first with your vet before jumping to any conclusions. Remember to never medicate your dog unless advised to do so by your vet. 

Allergies 

The most common breathing problem that can affect Australian shepherds are allergies. 

Just like humans, dogs can react to environmental allergens such as pollen and dust.  

Most often, the dog will become itchy, and you will notice them scratching or biting at their paws to relieve the itch. 

But sometimes, the dog may also experience respiratory distress which could cause heavy breathing and sneezing.  

Heatstroke 

A common cause of breathing issues for Australian shepherds is heatstroke.  

Australian shepherds love to be active, no matter the weather, so this can sometimes result in them becoming overheated and getting heatstroke in hot weather. 

Heatstroke can be very dangerous when not treated. If you notice that your dog is panting excessively after exercising in the hot weather, take them to your vet for proper treatment.  

Other signs of heatstroke to look for along with excessive panting are drooling, the dog seeming withdrawn or “out of it”, uncoordinated movements, vomiting, diarrhea, red gums or collapsing.  

Lymphoma 

Lymphoma is one of the cancers that most commonly affects Australian shepherds. 

Lymphoma is a cancer which attacks the white blood cells. Most frequently the symptoms of this disease include being lethargic, losing weight and having swelling in the legs and face. 

Sometimes with this disease, dogs can have difficulty breathing.  

Though difficulty breathing is one of the symptoms, you should not jump to conclusions if your dog has difficulty breathing or is panting excessively. 

Remember to discuss your concerns with your vet before worrying. 

Dilated Cardiomyopathy 

Though Dilated Cardiomyopathy is not a hugely common disease for Australian shepherds, it is possible, and it does cause breathing problems. 

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart becomes enlarged. The heart can then not pump blood effectively and can cause things such as trouble breathing, fainting or feeling exhausted.  

This disease is caused by a genetic mutation and it is moderately common for Australian shepherds to carry this gene. 

It may be a long shot that your Australian shepherd carries this disease, but again if you feel that your dog is having breathing issues, always mention it to the vet. The vet will carry out tests to determine what the underlying issue is.  

Breathing Problems Caused By Anxiety 

As mentioned previously, Australian shepherds may pant excessively because they can be highly active and highly anxious. 

Your Australian shepherd may perk up at every single noise and begin to pant. Since Australian shepherds were bred to be working dogs, they are very sensitive to noises and activity and may feel like they have to be “on duty” twenty-four hours a day to protect your home and family.  

This does not necessarily lead to breathing problems, but it is a likely cause of them panting what feels like all day.  

If you find that your dog begins to pant at every single noise or activity such as you are getting up off your chair and leaving the room, or the doorbell is ringing, or someone is coming in the house, it may be worth it to try working with a dog trainer or dog behavior specialist. 

It can be upsetting to see your dog never seem to be able to relax. It can also be nerve-wracking seeing your dog pant excessively very often and wondering what could be wrong with them. 

Remember to always check with your vet if you think there is something wrong with your dog. No matter the outcome, the vet will be able to help you with a course of action if there is a problem with your dog’s health. 

When it comes to panting excessively due to anxiety, your vet may be able to recommend some strategies to help your dog feel calmer or may be able to connect you with a professional trainer who can help you.  

Training Your Australian Shepherd

If you haven’t trained your Australian shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Aussie completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

How To Deal With An Australian Shepherd Panting Too Much? 

Depending on the cause of the panting, there are some things you can do to help your dog pant less. 

Give Your Dog Plenty Of Water 

The most likely reason that your dog is panting is because they are hot. Make sure that you have plenty of water with your when you go for walks or to the park. 

Bathe Their Feet In Cool Water 

This is another great way to cool your Australian shepherd down. Cooling down their feet will help to cool down their whole body, which will reduce panting. 

Let Them Eat Ice Cubes 

Letting your dog chew on ice cubes is another great way to get them feeling cooler. 

If your dog doesn’t seem interested in eating ice, try making ice cubes that are half water and half chicken broth. This will get them more interested in eating the cold treat. 

Get Them A Kiddie Pool 

Most Australian shepherds enjoy water and swimming. Try getting them a small pool for your yard that they can splash in during hot weather. 

Take Them To The Beach 

As mentioned above, most Australian shepherds like swimming. In the summer months, try exercising your dog at the beach and throwing the ball for them in the water. 

While they will still pant because they are exercising, they are at less risk for overheating.  

Don’t Rile Them Up For Walks 

Most of us like to say, “do you want to go for a walk?” to our dogs in an upbeat, excited voice. 

If you find that your Australian shepherd starts to get very excited and pant hard when they anticipate a walk, try to avoid getting them excited for such outings. 

Instead, you can calmly go grab their leash and take them outside. Try saying nothing at all and see if they remain a little calmer before the walk. 

Work With A Trainer 

If your dog is highly anxious and panting 24/7 in response to environmental stimuli, you may want to consult a trainer. They may be able to help you with strategies to keep your dog calmer and limit their panting. 

Consult The Vet 

If you feel that your Australian shepherds panting is not normal, it is best to consult a vet. 

Your vet may reassure you that your dog is behaving normally, or they may be concerned and order some tests. Either way, they will help you to get to the bottom of what is going on. 

When it comes to your pet’s care, it is better to be safe than sorry so don’t hesitate to ask.  

Is It Normal For Australian Shepherds To Breathe Fast While Sleeping?

It is completely normal for dogs to breathe fast while sleeping. 

You can expect your dogs to breathe about 30 breaths per minute while sleeping. This is usually due to a dog dreaming or being hot while they sleep.  

Recap 

For the most part, frequent panting is not a cause for concern when it comes to Australian shepherds. 

They are such an active breed and sensitive breed, that they are often panting as a result of exercise or in anticipation of exercise. 

If you are not sure if your dog’s panting is normal, consult your vet for advice.  

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