Why Does My Alaskan Malamute Pant So Much? (Key Factors)

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If you find yourself asking the question ‘why does my Alaskan Malamute pant so much’ then this is the article for you.

The most common reasons for panting include to cool down or if your Malamute is thirsty. There are times when panting can be an issue, however, and in these cases you will need to get in touch with your vet.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the more common reasons for Malamute panting, as well as the times when it is an issue.

Let’s get right into it.

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Causes Of Panting In Alaskan Malamutes

Before we take an in-depth look at what is considered normal and abnormal for panting in Alaskan Malamutes, let’s look at the reasons that a Malamute might be panting in the first place.

To Cool Off

The most common reason that any dog pants is to cool themselves down.

Alaskan Malamutes are a breed that can get hot very quickly thanks to their thick coats that are suited to arctic temperatures.

As a result, they might pant more often than other dog breeds – especially during warm weather.

This is very similar to the husky breed.


Interestingly, dogs will sometimes pant when they are thirsty.

Panting actually dehydrates a dog (very counterintuitive!) so it’s vital that your Alaskan Malamute has access to drinking water at all times.

They Are Having A Strong Emotional Response

One of the ways that Alaskan Malamutes express their emotions is by panting.

You might see them panting when they are excited, stressed, or fearful.

There As A Health Issue

Unfortunately, panting can also indicate a health issue.

Excessive panting or panting that doesn’t have a clear cause should not be ignored, take your Alaskan Malamute to a vet as soon as possible.

They Are Overweight

Alaskan Malamutes are prone to obesity thanks to their greedy appetites.

Becoming overweight can affect their fitness as their body is put under more strain.

You might find that they pant heavier than they used to, or that they start panting after very little exercise.

Keep reading for more information on how to determine the cause of your Alaskan Malamute’s panting, and whether it’s normal or not.

When Panting Is Normal

Sometimes, it’s completely normal for an Alaskan Malamute to pant heavily.

In these cases, panting should not be discouraged – they are doing it as a natural response to benefit their health.

A wooly brown Alaskan Malamute panting

Once you’ve identified the cause, however, you will usually be able to help your Malamute feel more comfortable, which may decrease or stop their panting.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common, and completely normal reasons your Alaskan Malamute might be panting so much.

Panting After Exercise

Alaskan Malamutes are a breed that loves to exercise.

Their working history has given them a reputation for having immense stamina, and you’ll often find that a Malamute will accompany you for miles on long hikes.

Despite having a love for exercise, they still get tired and will usually pant once they are back at home. Panting is a natural response after exercise and allows a

Malamute to increase the oxygen they take in, making recovery much easier.

Not only this, but a Malamute is likely to get warm whilst they are exercising and panting allows them to cool off quicker.

Keep reading for more information on why this is!

Panting Because They Are Warm

One of the most likely reasons your Alaskan Malamute is panting so much is because they are too warm.

Malamutes have thick double coats that are suited to arctic temperatures.

Whilst these coats do help to keep them cool to an extent, Malamutes can still get very warm in temperatures that most other dogs would feel fine in.

Dogs can’t sweat in the same way that humans can and instead rely on panting to help cool them off.

If you notice that your Malamute is panting, check whether the temperature of the room they are in (or of the outdoors) is higher than usual.

You can help to cool them down by taking them to a cooler, shaded area and providing them with plenty of water to drink.

Panting Due To Excitement

Many owners don’t notice until it has been pointed out to them, but Alaskan Malamutes often pant when they are excited.

You’re most likely to see this when your Malamute is anticipating a walk. One of our Malamutes runs to the door and starts panting as soon as they hear us pick up their leash.

The excitement causes them to get adrenaline and their heart rates will increase slightly, much like how we react when we feel excited. This increased heart rate will cause a Malamute to pant.

Take note of random times throughout the day when your Malamute is panting and see if they are associated with activities that they enjoy.

Common times when we notice panting are when we are preparing their food, when we come home after being away from them, or when we wake up and see them in the morning for the first time.

Your Malamute Is Panting Because They Are Scared

This is very similar to the previous point. If your Alaskan Malamute is scared, they may start to pant.

Dogs react very similar to humans when they experience strong emotions. Fear will cause a dog to become stressed, which will cause adrenaline to be released into its system.

This adrenaline will have an effect on its body which, in the wild, would have helped it to survive dangerous situations.

An Alaskan Malamte laying on some grass panting

One of the effects of adrenaline is an increased heart rate, which will cause a Malamute to pant so that they can take in more oxygen.

If your Malamute is panting for no clear reason, check whether there is anything that could be scaring them.

Things that cause some of our Malamutes to become scared include fireworks, thunderstorms, or being in unfamiliar surroundings.

Try and see the world from their perspective to determine whether fear could be the cause of their frequent panting.

Times When Panting Is Abnormal

So, now we know when panting is normal and can be expected of our Malamutes, let’s take a look at some of the times when panting might be an indication that something is wrong.

Panting Alongside Unusual Behavior

If your Alaskan Malamute is panting and they are also not acting like themselves, this could be a sign of a health issue.

Behaviours to look out for include lethargy, lack of interest in exercise, not wanting to eat or drink, and not responding to your voice.

Some cardiac and respiratory health issues can cause excessive panting but they usually have other symptoms that will be present too, such as those mentioned above.

You must take your Alaskan Malamute to a vet immediately to find the cause and stabilise their condition.

Excessive Panting

If your Alaskan Malamute pants very intensely, even during ‘normal’ circumstances, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

We often see intense panting in Malamutes who are overweight.

Their respiratory and cardiac systems have to work extra hard to sustain them and may cause them to pant heavier than an Alaskan Malamute who is a healthy weight.

Malamutes who have asthma may also pant heavier or irregularly.

Even if this heavy panting occurs during situations where panting is expected, it can be much more uncomfortable for your Alaskan Malamute.

Signs of discomfort include chesty noises during panting and being unwilling to move until they have calmed down.

We recommend taking your Malamute to be examined by a vet to ensure this excessive panting is not caused by an underlying health issue.

Panting With No Obvious Reason Why

Finally, if your Alaskan Malamute is panting when they aren’t too hot, haven’t been recently active, and aren’t having a strong emotional response, it’s time to take them to get checked out.

Although many health problems do usually cause noticeable symptoms other than panting, this is not always the case.

It is better to get your Malamute checked and be sure that they are okay than leaving them and potentially risking a health issue becoming worse.

Veterinary Advice

If your Malamute is panting without any underlying health problems, it is likely due to stress, anxiety or overexcitement.

The best way to deal with this is to take your Malamute for a walk or exercise them. This can convert abnormal panting into normal panting as exercise causes the release of endorphins, reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body.

What To Do If Your Malamute Still Won’t Stop Panting

If your Malamute won’t stop panting no matter how much you try to calm them or cool them down, then it’s time for a visit to the vet.

This is a clear sign that something is wrong with their health so you should get them looked at by a professional as soon as you can.

In Summary

Panting is to be expected in Alaskan Malamutes but if you’re worried that they are panting for no reason, you should take them to see a vet.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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