Why Do Huskies Pant So Much? (9 Common Reasons!)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Panting is normal for huskies. However, if your husky is panting excessively, there may be a problem.

In this article we’ll take a look at 9 reasons why your husky is panting so much, and when to worry.

Normal Causes Of Panting

Before we discuss the causes of excessive panting, let’s take a look at why huskies pant normally.

Normal causes of panting include:

  • Cooling down
  • Exercise
  • Excitement 

Cooling Down 

The most common reason why your husky is panting is simply that they are hot and need to cool down.

Dogs don’t sweat the way we do. Instead, they sweat through their paw pads, and pant. When they pant, the moisture evaporation on their tongue cools the air. Then, they breathe out the hot air from their lungs and breathe in the cooled air.


In addition to cooling off during hot temperatures, your husky will also pant after exercise. You’ve probably noticed that you breathe heavily during and after exercise. Your husky does as well.

This is partly to cool them down, and partly to increase their oxygen intake.


Excitement can also cause your dog to pant. If your husky is panting and wagging their tail, they are probably panting because they are happy.

9 Reasons Why Huskies Pant So Much

There are 9 reasons why your husky may be panting frequently.

Panting is a natural behavior for huskies. In most cases, they are simply cooling down. However, it’s important to know when panting is a sign of something more serious.

Reasons why your husky is panting include:

  1. Heatstroke
  2. Stress and anxiety
  3. Allergies
  4. Chronic Conditions Cushings, heart disease, pulmonary (lung) disease
  5. Toxic substances
  6. Pain
  7. Stomach upset
  8. Bloat 
  9. Obesity 

1. Heatstroke

You know your husky pants when they need to cool down. However, if they are panting heavily, it can be an indication that they have heatstroke.

Huskies have a double coat, which keeps them warm in arctic conditions. However, this also makes them more susceptible to overheating.

Heatstroke occurs when your pooch gets too hot, which causes their body temperature to rise to an unsafe level.

Heatstroke can be fatal, and signs of mild heatstroke include heavy panting, excessive drooling, increased heart rate, and bright red tongue and gums. They will also feel hot to the touch.

If their body temperature continues to climb, heatstroke becomes severe. You may notice that their gums are pale, white, or blue. They may become lethargic, and have muscle tremors. Their pupils will dilate, and their heart rate will continue to increase.

This stage of heatstroke can cause the husky to pass out, or become very disoriented.

2. Stress And Anxiety 

Stress or anxiety can also cause your husky to pant. If you notice your pooch panting in stressful situations, anxiety is probably the cause.

In addition to panting, a stressed husky may yawn, blink, lick their lips, or pace.  They may also lick themselves excessively, or hide. Some pooches will find a safe place to hide, while others will hide behind their owner.

Just like humans, huskies can become stressed by many things. Common causes are unfamiliar places or people, other animals, car rides, and thunderstorms. Husky’s are prone to separation anxiety, which means they get upset when you leave them.

3. Allergies 

Huskies are prone to allergies, particularly environmental allergies, which can cause them to pant. It’s very similar to allergies in humans.

Just like us, they can develop allergies to foods, things in their environment, chemicals, and venom from animal bites or stings.

The symptoms of allergies vary based on the type of allergy. However, common allergy symptoms include panting, wheezing, sneezing, itchy or red eyes, frequent licking or biting at their fur, hives, and swelling.

If you suspect your husky has allergies, you’ll need to make a vet visit. Allergies can trigger anaphylactic shock, which is an emergency. If your pooch has severe swelling, severe lethargy or loss of consciousness, or difficulty breathing, this is a veterinary emergency.

4.  Chronic Conditions

Several chronic conditions can cause excessive panting in huskies. Cushings disease occurs when your pooch’s body produces too much cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which helps the body deal with stress.

However, too much cortisol can cause a range of health issues, including kidney and liver damage.

Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease include panting, increased appetite, thirst, and urination. They may also have skin and hair issues, muscle weakness, and lethargy or fatigue.

Heart disease and lung disease can also cause your husky to pant heavily. Both diseases can cause coughing,  difficulty breathing, gagging, pale or blue gums, and lethargy.

A Siberian husky in a field panting

5. Toxic Substances 

Toxic substances are one of the more concerning causes of huskies panting. There are many substances that can be toxic to your dog.

These include medication, household cleaners, rat poison, toxic plants, and snake bites.

If you suspect your husky has encountered a toxic substance, you’ll need to get them to the vet immediately.

In addition to panting, toxic substances typically cause nausea and vomiting. They may also have blood in their vomit or poop. You may also notice seizures, easy bruising or unexplained bleeding, and behavioral changes. They may become lethargic or restless.

6. Pain 

Pain is an often overlooked cause of panting in dogs. Another similarity between dogs and humans is that many do their best to avoid showing when they are in pain.

However, if they are in serious pain, they can’t hide all the signs. Panting is a common sign of pain in pooches. They may also whine or cry, limp, or have difficulty moving.

If your husky is in pain, you will likely notice behavioral changes as well. They may seem lethargic, or even depressed. They may avoid activities they typically enjoy, and even avoid contact with people.

Pain can be caused by an injury, a chronic condition like arthritis, or a problem with the internal organs.

In some cases, you’ll be able to identify a cause of pain by observing your pooch and looking at their body. If you can’t determine the cause of the pain, a checkup is a good idea.

7. Stomach Upset

Stomach upset is a common issue for dogs. When stomach upset causes nausea, excessive panting will accompany it. Other signs your husky has an upset tummy include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy.

Depending on the cause, your husky may vomit once or twice and be fine, or they may become very ill.

The most common cause of stomach upset in dogs is eating something they shouldn’t have. Other common causes include bacteria and viruses, and food sensitivities.

8. Bloat

Bloat is a serious condition that can be fatal within a few hours of symptoms beginning. The technical name for bloat is Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).

Bloat occurs when gas gets trapped in your dog’s stomach. As their food digests, the gas will continue to increase. This leads to severe stomach pain and bloating.

If it’s not treated, the increased pressure can cause the stomach to twist, which is often fatal.

Bloat can cause excessive panting, and retching or gagging without productive vomiting. Their stomach will be very swollen, and they will be in extreme pain.

Bloat is more common in medium to large breed dogs, including huskies. You can reduce the risk of bloat by feeding your pooch a few small meals a day.  Eating quickly increases the risk of bloat. If they are eating too fast, consider a slow feeder bowl.

9. Obesity 

Obesity is, unfortunately, common today. In fact, 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the AKC.

If your husky is overweight, this can cause heavy breathing or panting.

One reason for this is that the fat gives them extra insulation, which means they overheat faster than lean dogs. They may also pant because their body is struggling to push oxygen through their body due to the extra weight.

Obesity increases the risk of many health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Dogs who are overweight have shorter lifespans and a lower quality of life.

How To Tell If Panting Is A Bad Sign

Since panting can be completely normal, it’s essential to know when to worry.

Know What’s Normal For Your Dog

Each dog is unique. Your neighbor’s dog may pant heavily after running a block, while your husky may be breathing easy after a mile run.

How hard and how often your pooch pants will be unique to them. By observing your husky in different situations, you’ll begin to learn their baseline, or what’s normal for them.

If your husky is panting in a way that not normal for them, it can be a bad sign. You should take a closer look at them and the situation, to determine if there’s a problem.

Panting After Heat Or Exercise 

It’s normal for your husky to pant after exercise, or when they are hot. However, heavy panting shouldn’t last very long. If it lasts longer than 10 minutes after they are resting or in a shady spot, this can be a sign that something is wrong.

A red husky running through a field

If it’s hot, you should monitor them for heat stroke if the panting continues.

Unexplained Panting 

If the panting starts suddenly and occurs for no clear reason, this is a cause for concern. If the panting is accompanied by signs of pain, or shaking, you should contact your vet immediately.

If the panting is accompanied by harsh, raspy, or strained breathing, this is very concerning. You should call your vet or bring them to an animal hospital immediately.

What To Do If Your Husky Is Panting

What to do if your husky is panting will depend on the reason for the panting. In some cases, you only need to keep an eye on them. In other cases, your husky may need veterinary care.

Natural Panting 

If your husky is panting for a normal reason, including excitement, exercise, or simply cooling down, you don’t need to do anything at all. Just keep an eye on them to be sure that the panting doesn’t become excessive.

Concerning Panting 

If you are concerned about your husky panting, it’s best to contact your vet. If your pooch is panting due to a health issue, including lung or heart problems, pain, or bloat, you’ll need to get them to the vet.

If you suspect that they’ve ingested something toxic, contacting the Pet Poison Helpline is a good idea. They can advise you on what to do and even work with your vet to create a treatment plan if necessary.

It’s also a great idea to follow your own instincts. If you are concerned about your husky’s panting, don’t hesitate to give your vet a call.

If they have allergies or obesity, these issues should also be treated by your pooch’s vet, although these don’t constitute an emergency.

Stress and Anxiety 

If your husky is panting due to stress or anxiety, there are a few things you can do. If your husky has frequent or severe anxiety, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet.

They can provide advice or medication to help you manage the situation. However, there are also some things you can do.

When they are stressed, allowing them to be close to you can help. Sit with them and pet them until they calm down.

Natural options, like pheromones or thunder shirts, can also be beneficial.

Training and counter-conditioning can help reduce your husky’s anxiety over time. This can involve helping your pooch associate stressful situations with positive experiences, and help them get used to these situations over time.

When your pooch is at home, providing them with a safe, quiet space where they can be alone is a great idea.


Mild heat stroke may be treated at home. The first step is to move them to a cool shaded area. Next, pour cool, never cold water, over them. Continue this every few minutes until their symptoms subside.

If your pooch begins to recover within 5 minutes of moving them to a cool area, they are probably fine. If they lose consciousness, have pale gums, or are panting very heavily, take them to the vet after moving them and pouring water over them.

Final Thoughts

Most of the time, panting isn’t anything to worry about. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms or your pooch seems unwell, it can be a sign of a serious condition.

Remember to observe your husky’s normal breathing patterns, so you will know when their panting is abnormal. This, and your own instincts, are a great guide to determining if your husky is fine or if you should be worried.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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