4 Reasons Why Your Dog Pants at Night for No Reason

Is your dog panting a lot at night for no particular reason? While it may seem very random, there are definitely certain factors that may get your dog to pant more than usual. Here are some things to look at before you take your dog to the vet for a check-up.

1. Your Dog has Heat Exhaustion
Dogs aren’t able to regular their body heat via sweating. Instead, most of their heat control is done via panting. Does your dog take part in high-intensity exercises in the evening? You may want to provide your dog plenty of opportunities to drink cool water so they don’t suffer from dehydration or heatstroke.

You should also take a look at your dog’s usual sleeping spot. Is the area very hot at night due to a lack of air circulation? Is your dog sleeping on material that provides too much warmth? Some owners have had success reducing their dog’s panting by taking out the blanket from the dog’s crate. Maintaining a cooler sleeping environment for your dog may help reduce excessive panting at night.

2. Unfamiliarity to New Home
Aside from heat, unfamiliarity may also be a cause of your dog’s heavy panting or fast breathing at night. This typically applies to new puppies or dogs that have moved to a new home. If your vet doesn’t find anything physically wrong with your dog then there is a good likelihood that the panting is an indication of stress.

It may take some time for your dog to grow out of his anxiety phase. A long walk a few hours before bedtime is a good way to keep your dog calm and tired out throughout the night.

3. Your Dog is Dreaming
If the panting occurs for a very short period of time then there’s a possibility that it could be a result of your dog having an amazing or scary dream. For example, the dog might be having a dream of chasing a squirrel and that may cause him to breathe a bit faster during his sleep.

This is something you’ll have to monitor as long as your dog doesn’t display any other concerning actions (e.g. acting lethargic, whimpering) at night. According to Psychology Today, an average-sized dog will start to dream 20 minutes after he falls to sleep.

4. Your Dog is Suffering from Pain
Heavy panting can be a common response from dogs that feel pain and discomfort. If the heavy panting becomes more than an isolated incident then it’s important to visit the vet to check for any concerning health conditions or diseases.

The color of your dog’s gum can tell you a lot about the state of your dog’s health. For example, dogs with pale gums and white tongues could be affected by anemia, a condition that indicates a lack of red blood cells in the body. The deprivation of oxygen can cause dogs to pant excessively.

Why do Dogs Pant More When They Get Older?

As dogs get older, they become more susceptible to injuries and various medical conditions. There are certain health conditions that are exclusive to senior dogs like cognitive heart failure and arthritis. Many of these conditions will cause dogs to pant excessively, either due to pain or due to the circulatory system getting less efficient at transporting oxygen.

As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to make gradual adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle and diet based on their age. For example, you may want to shorten your senior dog’s exercise routine so they have more time to rest and recover. You may want to also split your dog’s meal into smaller portions so they have an easier time digesting their meals.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


  • Darrell | 26/02/2020

    I see that to much warmth can cause a dog to pant heavily. Me and my dog have been sleeping with a heating blanket for over a year with no problems and he actually seems to love it, but recently he has been waking up in the middle of the night panting really hard. Could the heating blanket suddenly cause him to pant like this all of a sudden when he has been sleeping with it this long without any problems up until now ?

  • Robert | 15/01/2021

    Darrell I had the exact same thing.. she loved the heated blanket and then she started panting with it so now no more heated blanket.

  • Dawn | 21/02/2021

    My new 4yr old English bull terrier is making me so aggregated bc she keeps panting, humping and clawing at me several long periods of the day. She is spaces and has Bern for a good deal of time. Help she gets out of contro

  • Diane Dillon | 01/10/2021

    I have 2 small dogs the female on rare occasion will wake up and start to pant and shake I don’t know why

  • Stephanie Cramer | 16/12/2021

    I am so grateful for the thoughtfulness of this article. Our 14 year old beloved, winsome, beagle hound dog is on a new diagnosis of cancer. She also suddenly spent a lot of last night & the night before panting. I have feared it was the cancer & made an appt. with her vet for tomorrow. However I had also put a heavy blankee on her bed & now I see the common sense that it could be from that. She wants to eat, drink & exercise so this is a rational explanation. Grateful to you–Will remove it–

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