Why Does My German Shepherd Breathe So Hard?

Why Does My German Shepherd Breathe So Hard?

If you have noticed that your German shepherd is breathing hard even while resting, it can be a matter of concern to you as the owner. So, why can a German shepherd breath so hard?

Breathing difficulties in your German shepherd can be caused by a number of things. Some of these causes can be easily managed while others require the intervention of a vet. These causes are illness and injuries, harsh temperatures, allergic reactions, overweight, or health issues.

Read on to know how you can tell if your German shepherd is breathing hard, the reasons behind it, and how you can stop it.


Why Does My German Shepherd Breathe So Hard?


 Your German Shepherds usually do not cool down in the same way that we do. Their sweat glands are only found on the pads of their feet. When they’re hot, it’s natural for them to pant or breathe heavily.

Their average body temperature is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38 and 39.2 degrees Celsius). If the temperatures of the dogs climb over these limits, you should take them to the veterinarian right away. This could result to death from dehydration or heatstroke.

GSDs can withstand both hot and cold weather. However, neither too hot nor too cold.

They will only be able to survive in hot weather if they have access to cold water and shade. However, be aware that they cool off by digging in frozen dirt during the summer. They can also endure in cold weather but don’t leave them outside all day.

Illness or Injury

It’s possible that a disease or injury is to blame. Dogs might breathe rapidly for a variety of reasons, including heart problems. It’s more likely to be related to illness or injury if he has suddenly begun breathing rapidly, has changed his demeanor, and has been showing other indicators of illness or injury.

If it appears that his breathing rapidly due to illness or injury, taking it to the vet would be quite beneficial.

Allergic Reactions

It could have been caused by an allergic reaction to anything. This is more likely if you’ve seen it eat or contact with anything it shouldn’t have, as well as if it’s been displaying other symptoms of an allergic reaction. It would be beneficial to take it to the veterinarian if it has been displaying symptoms of an allergic reaction.


An overweight German shepherd will have difficulties in breathing. Obesity can be a result of improper feeding or lack of exercise. Consult your vet for a checkup to confirm if the obesity is a result of illness or any other cause.  

Health Issues

If your German shepherd is breathing hard, it might be a sign of a health issue that requires the intervention of a vet. Your dog might be suffering from diseases like:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Anemia
  • Heartworm disease.
  • Cushing disease.
  • Fungal infection.

What Is Normal Breathing In Dogs?

It’s difficult to tell whether or not your dog is breathing normally. A healthy dog’s respiration should be between 20 and 34 breaths per minute, and it should never be labored or difficult. If you have any uncertainties, contact your veterinarian right away.

How Can I Know If My German shepherd Is Breathing Heavily?

  • Breathing that is noticeably laborious (engaging stomach muscles to help breathe)
  • Gums that are pale, blue-tinged, or brick red.
  • Lack of willingness to drink, eat or move
  • At rest, open-mouthed breathing
  • Drooling beyond the character
  • Heavy, rapid breathing that is louder or sounds different from typical panting
  • They appear to be in discomfort and breathe noisily as if they’re trying to catch up on oxygen.

How To Get Your German Shepherd To Stop Breathing Fast

Keep Him Cool

If it’s been particularly hot outside, make sure your German Shepherd has access to a cool, shaded place as well as water. It would also be beneficial to avoid exercising during the day and instead do so in the early morning or late evening. You can also keep your dog cool through deshedding.


If your German Shepherd hasn’t been receiving enough exercise and the vet hasn’t detected any problems, it’s crucial to make sure it does. You can walk it, play fetch with it, or hire a dog walker to make sure it gets enough exercise.

Take Him to a Vet

When it comes to quick breathing, the easiest approach to figure out what’s wrong is to visit your veterinarian, so don’t be afraid to do so. Sudden, rapid breathing that did not occur previously could be caused by a variety of factors, and testing with your veterinarian can help rule out any sickness or damage.


Before you conclude that your German shepherd is breathing hard, you should first know what the normal breathing of your dog is. If your GSD is breathing hard, it should not be ignored because it might be a sign of a health problem. If you are not sure if your German shepherd is breathing normally or not, consult your vet too.


Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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