You might have noticed that your Rottweiler always seems to be panting. With these heavy pants and lots of drool, sometimes you might wonder how on earth you’ve managed to own such a slobbery dog. But why do Rottweilers pant so much?
All dogs pant, whether it’s to expel heat, recover from exercise, or even soothe themselves when they’re fearful. Panting is completely normal unless you notice your Rottweiler doing it at unusual times, or more often than normal.
Panting Cools Dogs Down
When we’re hot, we can take off a layer of clothing, go for a cool shower, or turn on the air conditioning. Dogs aren’t so lucky.
That layer of fur is with them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s surprisingly versatile, as their coats are designed to keep them warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. But there are some days when it’s just too hot, and then the panting begins.
Dogs don’t sweat, either, so there has to be a way for them to cool their bodies down, and they do this by panting. They breathe out the hot air from inside their lungs and replace it with cooler outside air.
Panting also helps to evaporate heat by dispelling it from their tongues. This is why a dog pants with its tongue hanging out, rather than simply with its mouth open.
Rottweilers are large dogs, and so they heat up very quickly and need to pant more heavily to cool down.
You will especially notice your Rottweiler panting more after exercise. This shouldn’t be surprising; after all, we all breathe more heavily when we’ve been more active.
Panting after exercise is a way for a Rottweiler to increase oxygen levels as well as activating their internal cooling system.
Be Mindful of Your Rottweiler in Hot Weather
Rottweilers hail from Germany and are used to a colder, European climate. They don’t do particularly well in the heat and all dog owners should be aware of when it’s too hot for their dog to be outside.
Be sure that your dog’s water bowl is always filled with fresh, clean water and that they have access to it throughout the day, especially if you’re going out and leaving them in the house. On walks, take a bottle of water and a lightweight bowl with you for water breaks.
If you live in a hot climate, consider taking your dog to the dog salon to have their coat clipped as often as possible so that they’re not overheating.
Don’t let your Rottweiler stay out in the heat of summer and most importantly, have a place of shade in the yard so that they can shelter from the sun.
Of course, this is stating the obvious but never, ever leave your Rottweiler, or indeed any dog, in a car for longer than 5 minutes if the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) or above.
Get to Know the Symptoms of Heat Stroke
In the summer, especially if you’ve just returned from a walk, it’s natural to expect your Rottweiler will be panting more.
But keep an eye on the panting because their breathing should return to normal after a maximum of 30 minutes after getting home and in the cool.
If your Rottweiler begins to display such symptoms as excessive panting, drooling, drowsiness, or diarrhea, they may have heatstroke and must be taken to the vet immediately, preferably draping a wet towel over them as you’re on your way.
Untreated heatstroke can quickly become fatal, so act without delay. If you’re still not sure how to spot heatstroke in your Rottweiler, this article by Memphis Veterinary Specialists has some great advice.
Panting Can Be a Sign of Fear
You might have a Rottweiler who disappears under a table and pants even when they’re not hot and they’ve not had any exercise, but if there’s noise outside that’s making them fearful.
Fear-related panting is a self-soothing mechanism and is also natural. It’s best to remove your dog from situations that are frightening it, if possible, but such reasons as trips to the vet or bad weather are sometimes just unavoidable.
Loud bangs from fireworks and thunderstorms are common reasons for dogs to pant out of anxiety or fear, but neither episode tends to last very long and once the banging stops, your Rottweiler will quickly forget all about it and its breathing will return to normal.
It can help to maintain as calm an environment for your Rottweiler as possible. These dogs are highly intelligent and are sensitive to the atmosphere around them, so lots of shouting and aggression on behalf of the owners can instill anxiety in your dog.
They Might Need the Bathroom
When your Rottweiler pants a lot for seemingly no reason, have a think back to the last time they went for a walk, specifically the last time they pooped.
When dogs need to use the bathroom for poop, they will often begin to pant as a way to control their bowels so that they don’t have any accidents. But it’s a great way to also let you know that it’s time to grab that leash!
Your Dog Might be in Pain
Rottweilers are very stoic, docile animals and they may be in pain but they don’t let you know by the usual signs such as whining or limping.
Panting is a way for them to cope with the unusual, painful sensation they’re feeling, but no dog should be left in pain. Once you know there may be a problem, get your Rottweiler to the vet as soon as possible.
Panting Can Be a Sign of Other Illnesses
For the most part, we’ve seen, panting is a natural way for your Rottweiler to cool themselves down or deal with a little fear or anxiety. It’s a temporary solution and once their systems are back to normal, the panting stops.
But there the times when dogs begin to pant at unusual times, for instance, if they’re in the house and they’re not hot, or they’ve been perfectly still and haven’t done any exercise recently.
Panting can be a sign that a dog is struggling with an illness. Heart disease is a common reason for dogs to pant because their hearts are struggling to provide enough oxygen to their whole bodies so they try and compensate by drawing in as much oxygen as they can.
Another condition to be aware of is Cushing’s disease. It’s more likely to be found in older dogs and those just past middle age and is caused by an imbalance of hormones. Excessive panting is one of the very first symptoms of Cushing’s, and it’s important to act early.
Thankfully, Cushing’s is treatable and once dogs have begun to receive the correct treatment, the excessive panting decreases very quickly.
If you’re wondering about other diseases that panting may be a symptom of, the Public Health Network has a very informative article.
Rottweilers are Panters
Ultimately, your Rottweiler is bound to pant at times. Their large size and double coat mean they easily get warm, and of course, they love their long walks and lots of exercises!
Unless they’re panting at irregular times, or they’re panting for long periods after exercise without stopping, then there’s no need to be concerned. It’s just another facet of the Rottie breed we know and love.