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Why Do Aussies Pant So Much?

At the dog park, I noticed an Australian Shepherd was panting a lot while playing with my cattle dogs. Of course, it’s normal for dogs to pant. However, I started wondering why this particular Aussie was panting so much more than the other dogs at the park. 

Dogs tend to breathe much quicker than humans, but if you notice that your Australian Shepherd is panting a lot, this could be due to several reasons including following vigorous exercise, being too hot, and feeling anxious or excited.

While it’s true that all dogs do pant, if you notice that your Australian Shepherd is excessively panting, there could be an underlying reason. Read on for the top reasons for an Aussie to pant and what to do about it.

How Fast Does an Australian Shepherd Breathe Normally?

Your Aussie should be breathing at a rate of about 15 to 30 breaths per minute when they are resting, aren’t too hot, and do not have an underlying health condition. For comparison, normal adult humans take about 12 to 16 breaths per minute.

So when you listen to your Aussie’s breath compared to your own, you may feel concerned that it sounds quite fast. You shouldn’t be alarmed though, as it’s quite normal for Aussies to breathe at a faster rate than humans. 

Reasons Why Aussies Pant

There are several different reasons why your Australian Shepherd may be panting. The table below highlights some common reasons why your Aussie may be panting.

AgeIt is normal for Aussie puppies to have a faster respiratory rate than adult dogs.
ExerciseIt is a very common for your Aussie to be panting after exercise. If your dog has just been on a run, hike, or rigorous play, then it is completely normal for them to be panting. 
OverheatedPanting is the way dogs cool down when they are too hot. If it is a hot day or if your Aussie is too warm inside, it’s normal for them to pant to cool themselves down. 
ExcitementWhen an Aussie feels excited, it’s very normal for them to pant. Your Aussie may start to pant when you mention their favorite activity like going for a walk or their favorite toy.
AnxietyAussies experience anxiety just like humans do. If you mention a visit to the vet or if your dog gets nervous about riding in the car, this may cause them to pant.

Why Is My Australian Shepherd Puppy Breathing Fast While Asleep?

It can be quite normal for an Australian Shepherd puppy to breathe excessively in their sleep. Panting is not usually a cause for concern when an Australian Shepherd puppy is sleeping. 

Below are some other common reasons as to why your Australian Shepherd may be breathing fast in their sleep:

  • They are dreaming – your Aussie pup may start to breathe a bit faster or heavier when they are dreaming. This is completely normal.
  • They are growing quickly – Puppies grow quite quickly in the same way that human babies do. Rapid breathing is part of a puppy’s early development. 
  • They are cooling down – If outside, try moving your Aussie to a shaded area or if inside, find a cool spot on the floor.

If you believe your puppy is breathing erratically or if you are concerned at all about their health, then you should contact your vet for advice. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s better to be sure just in case. 

Steps to Take When Your Aussie is Panting Excessively

If your Aussie is panting excessively, try to determine the reason why they are panting. This is usually easy to spot as it may be related to an activity they have just done or a change in the environment. Here’s some scenarios that may cause your Aussie to pant excessively and tips to follow.

Your Aussie is Too Hot

Dogs don’t regulate their temperature the same way that humans do. Dogs cool down through panting. Aussies have thick coats and love to move, so it’s quite common for an Aussie to feel too hot. When your Aussie becomes hot, they will pant excessively to cool down. This is completely normal. 

However, if your Aussie, starts to vomit or have diarrhea, it could be a sign of overheating. The best thing you can do in this situation is to prevent them from taking part in any more activities and try to get them to relax. Find a cool or shaded area for them to relax in and give them plenty of water. If possible, shower them with some cool water to help them cool down faster. If you are worried that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, you should contact your vet. 

An Anxious Aussie

Anxiety can cause your Aussie to start panting excessively. Anything an Aussie finds stressful, such as a thunderstorm or a visit to the vet, could cause them to pant excessively.

Positive reinforcement is the best course of action if you believe your Aussie is struggling with anxiety. Try to comfort them, pet them and hold them to help them feel calmer. Once they have calmed down, reward them with plenty of attention and some treats.

If your Aussie is particularly anxious, you can provide some natural products such as a pheromone collar or other anti-anxiety pet treatments. If your dog suffers from regular or ongoing stress or anxiety problems, then it’s a good idea to speak to your vet for some advice on the right steps to take. 

Aussie Exercise

Panting is a very normal response to exercising as it is the main way that dogs sweat. Exercising an Aussie can make increase their body temperature and rate of breathing, the same way that it would with a human. When this happens, your dog will pant to cool down. 

If you notice that your Aussie is panting after very little to no exercise, then this could indicate a health issue. In this case, you should speak to your vet to determine what the issue might be. 

Common Australian Shepherd Breathing Issues

Although it’s quite normal for your Australian Shepherd to pant quite a lot, there may be an underlying issue if they often pant excessively. Below is a list of some common types of breathing issues in Australian Shepherds.


The most common type of breathing issue for Australian Shepherds is allergies. Dogs can suffer from allergies, similar to humans, with the most common causes of allergies being pollen and dust. 

An Aussie may experience some mild respiratory aggravation which could cause them to start to pant excessively. Some other symptoms that may occur alongside panting are itching, scratching, sneezing, or biting their paws. If their allergies persist, it is recommended to consult a vet.

Irregular Heartbeat

Similar to humans, dogs may experience arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. This is something that can cause them to breathe much faster than normal and can cause excessive panting. 

If you believe that your Aussie may be suffering from an irregular heartbeat, then you should take them to the veterinarian where they can be examined. Your vet will be able to provide the best advice and a suitable course of medication to help ensure your Aussie lives a full, long and happy life. 

There are other issues that could be causing irregular breathing so it is always worth taking them to a veterinarian. Your vet will be able to help you with a course of treatment that will help to improve the health of your Aussie. 

Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds are fabulous dogs that make loyal, obedient companions. It’s quite normal for an Australian Shepherd to breathe heavily or pant. Panting is most often caused by being too hot, exercising, feeling anxious, or feeling excited and is not normally a cause for concern, however, it could sometimes indicate an underlying health problem. If you notice any other symptoms alongside the breathing problems, then it’s a good idea to speak to your vet for some advice. 

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