Why Does My Rottweiler Pant So Much?

rottweiler happy but panting a lot

Rottweilers are large, loving dogs—but all that dog can come with a whole lot of slobber, especially in the summertime!

That slobbery drool can often be accompanied by panting. But you may be wondering if all the panting your Rottie’s been doing is actually healthy for them. 

So, why does your Rottweiler pant so much?

All dogs pant, so it isn’t inherently abnormal for your Rottweiler to be panting a lot. Rotties are big dogs, sometimes making them more naturally prone to pant! Your Rottweiler could be hot, excited, or simply recovering from exercise. On the flip side, your Rottie could be panting abnormally because they’re scared, anxious, or sick.

Let’s dive deeper into each possible reason and discover why it is your Rottweiler pants so much!

Reason 1: Because They’re Hot

When we humans get hot, we usually sweat, strip a few layers, or rush to crank up the air conditioning. Our beloved Rotties can’t strip out of their permanent and thick double-layered fur coat

When taking my own Rottie out on walks, I noticed that he would pant more the hotter it was outside—and how that black fur of his would feel hot to the touch if he’d been out in the sun for any length of time.

Dogs do have a limited number of sweat glands called merocrine glands which help dogs to release heat by evaporating moisture away through their paw pads.

Why their paws?

Otherwise, if they tried to sweat through the fur covering the rest of their body, all that fur would prevent them from wicking any of the moisture away.

However, despite these glands, your Rottie’s ability to sweat is not nearly so good as yours, which is where panting comes into play.

Panting is a dog’s way of getting their body to cool down, which becomes especially important after they’ve been running around or just out in the sun on a hot day. 

Rotties also have a handful of traits that make them a little more prone to getting hot which means more panting. I’ve already mentioned their thick double coat that keeps them warm in the winter snow but can be a liability in hot weather.

Rotties are at a further disadvantage because they’re almost entirely black (besides those cute eyebrows) and black dogs typically get hotter faster compared to lighter colored breeds.

Finally, Rotties are generally considered to be brachycephalic which means they have a shorter snout and flattened skull shape. Some Rotties have a shorter snout than others but any flatness in the face will make panting less effective in hot weather.

That means Rotties will need to pant more than some longer snouted pups just to get the same cooling effect.

You can help your Rottie stay cool and pant less in hot weather by proving them fresh water, cool areas to relax, and a collar that isn’t too tight so they can really open up their airways and make the most of their panting.  You’ll also want to avoid walking during the hottest time of the day.

Reason 2: Because They’re Excited

When we get excited, our hearts race, our hands get clammy, and we may even get butterflies in our stomachs.

When your Rottie gets excited, there are a few different ways they may try to share that joy with you, including panting!

“Normal” panting is typically steady and relatively quiet. An excited dog’s panting may sound a little different, however, and be rapid or shallow. You may notice that your Rottie pants like this when they’re introduced to strangers, when you’re about to give them a treat, or when it’s almost mealtime.

Check out this adorable long-tailed Rottie’s excitement over getting to see her human grandparents!

Rottweilers are big lovebugs who often just want to be included, and include you, in anything exciting happening at home. In addition to the panting, your Rottie may even whine or cry when they’re excited. Our Rottweiler would pant, run-hop in little circles, and whine every time I reached for the leash to take him on a walk—sometimes all at the same time!

Before jumping to any conclusions about your Rottweiler’s panting, consider the context of what’s going on in your Rottie’s life that may be causing them to pant.

Reason 3: Because They’re Just Exercised

You know that adage, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”? 

Well, it could be supposed that the bigger they are, the more they sweat—or in the case of your Rottweiler, the more they pant.

Rottweilers are a muscley breed. They need a fair amount of exercise to keep that body mass healthy, even as much as two hours a day. However, their muscles aren’t meant to do the same kind of work as breeds like terriers, who have a leaner build. 

It’s not that Rotties are lazy, they’re just more like the weightlifters of the gym, not the runners.

Once your Rottie has been given some time to cool down and rest, their breathing should return to normal after exercise. Additionally, the more often you exercise your dog, the less winded they’ll get after each play session as they build up their stamina.

In general, if your Rottweiler pants a lot after playing in the yard or going for a walk, it’s not necessarily something to be concerned about as long as they’re keeping cool. 

Reason 4: Because They’re Scared or Anxious

All of us get scared at one point or another, even our formidable-looking Rottweilers!

There are plenty of reasons why a dog may be scared. My Border Collie mix would beg to come inside hours before a thunderstorm even started and my Rottie cowered in the hallway whenever a stranger walked into the room. 

Your Rottweiler could be scared of thunder, other dogs, men, fireworks, or even kids, to name a few. If you notice that they are panting over excessively, look out for any of these other signs of fear in dogs:

  • Trembling
  • Resource guarding
  • Pacing or restlessness
  • Being especially distracted
  • Salivating more than usual 
  • Giving you the whale eye or showing the whites of their eyes

Signs of fear in your dog can often look similar to signs of anxiety, as well.

One of the most recognizable forms of anxiety in a dog is separation anxiety. If your Rottweiler pants excessively when you’re about to leave for work, this may be because they feel lonely and anxious without you home

Rotties can be great family dogs because they are very devoted to their humans. That loyalty is a marked characteristic of the breed and can even lead to them becoming bonded with a one family member in particular. Because of this, though, your Rottie may be susceptible to developing anxiety in your absence.

There are strategies for easing your pup’s separation anxiety, which may in turn alleviate some of their excessive panting. Making departures simple, for instance, can help if you try not to make a huge deal of you leaving. Talking in a calm voice when leaving and returning home can help your dog better understand that time without you is okay.

While your Rottweiler may not be panting like crazy from separation anxiety specifically, they could still be anxious. They could be responding to a big life change like moving or introducing a new pet into the house. Here are a few postures and behaviors to look out for if you think your Rottie’s panting is due to anxiety:

  • Over drooling
  • Shaking
  • Tail between the legs
  • Ears back
  • Whining/crying
  • Excessive yawning
  • Wanting to be held a lot more than usual

Your vet can always work with you to develop a plan if your Rottie is panting more than normal because of anxiety and you want to help decrease the behavior.

Reason 5: Because They’re Sick

Labored breathing can be an indicator that your Rottweiler is dealing with a health problem, whether external or internal, and it’s easy to confusing panting with difficult breathing. 

If your Rottie has taken to panting all of the time and you’ve found no apparent reason, it may be time to contact your vet just in case your dog is sick. Other signs of illness could be loss of appetite, acting in pain or like they’re injured, diarrhea, or lethargy. 

Heavy panting could come from any one of these dog-related illnesses:

  • Heatstroke 
  • Poisoning. Check for any food containers that have been tampered with, house plants that might have been chewed on, and cleaning supplies that might have spilled, as any of these could be toxic to your dog
  • Heart failure
  • Lung disease
  • Cushing’s syndrome/disease
  • Respiratory diseases like laryngeal paralysis and pneumonia

Even if you don’t think your pet is seriously hurt or sick, but you are still questioning how much they’re panting, it never hurts to give your vet’s office a quick call.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Panting?

Knowing your Rottie’s typical behavior can go a long way in understanding why they’re panting so much. 

If, however, you think your dog’s panting may be a sign that something’s wrong with your dog, the best thing you can is to call your veterinarian. And on that note, taking your dog to the veterinarian for routine checkups can be an added help when something is wrong with your pup, since the veterinarian will know more about their health history from the start.

For now, though, here are a few more reasons to explore for why your Rottie may be panting so much.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve discussed, there are many normal and natural reasons that explain why your Rottweiler pants frequently. But if you feel like your Rottie’s panting isn’t normal, consider the context of what’s been going on in their life and check in with your vet.

As your Rottweiler gets older, they may pant more over time than they did as a puppy or young adult dog. You may simply need to adjust their exercise routine to accommodate their slowing body.

In the meantime, I admit that it can be overwhelming for your Rottweiler to always be panting, loudly, right by your ear—just don’t tell my Rottie I said so!

What do you think, is your Rottweiler just especially noisy?

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