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Why Do Shiba Inus Pant So Much? (Safety Info)

Observing your Shiba Inu panting frequently might raise some concerns. It’s a common query among Shiba Inu owners, so in this article, I’ll discuss the reasons behind their panting, when it should be a cause for concern, and how you can assist them.

Shiba Inus, like many dogs, primarily pant to regulate their body temperature, especially since they don’t sweat like humans do.

However, panting can also be a reaction to various other factors. It can occur when they are excited, tired, anxious, or stressed, and in response to new or unfamiliar situations.

Additionally, it’s important to consider that panting might sometimes indicate a health issue that needs attention.

shiba inu panting

Shiba Inus & Panting

We owners have a keen sense for detecting abnormalities in our pets’ behavior.

When your Shiba Inu starts panting more than usual, or if the panting seems out of context, it’s natural for you to notice and become concerned.

Let’s explore the various reasons why Shiba Inus pant, and then we’ll delve into when it might be necessary to seek additional help or if there’s something you can do about it.

Why do Shiba Inus pant in the first place?

The majority of panting in dogs is a mechanism for cooling down. Dogs primarily cool themselves in two ways: they sweat through their paws, and they pant. However, in certain cases, panting could indicate health issues and might not be related to cooling down. I’ll elaborate on this soon.

When to expect your Shiba Inu to pant (normal)

Your Shiba Inu might pant in several situations, including:

  • After physical activity or exercise
  • In warm temperatures
  • When spending time in the sun
  • Following play or training sessions
  • During moments of excitement or in anticipation of something enjoyable
  • While traveling in a car
  • When meeting new dogs or people
  • In response to unfamiliar or startling events, such as fireworks, loud noises, or other intimidating situations

As you can see, there are numerous occasions when it’s normal for your Shiba Inu to pant.

Next, I’ll discuss the indicators of excessive panting and what signs you should watch for.

The Main Reason Why Shiba Inus Pant So Much

Shiba Inus, originally bred for hunting in the mountainous regions of Japan, are now commonly found in a variety of climates, including warmer areas. Initially, this might seem concerning, but Shiba Inus have shown a surprising ability to adapt to warmer temperatures, despite their origins.

Shiba Inus have a distinctive double coat, which not only provides insulation in cooler conditions but also plays a role in regulating their body temperature in warmer climates. This is a key reason why they have a two-layered coat.

Each layer of their coat serves a crucial function. When the dense undercoat is shed, primarily during warmer seasons, it leaves the outer coat, which aids in air circulation close to the skin and facilitates the dissipation of heat. This is why it’s generally advised not to shave a Shiba Inu.

However, it’s important to note that Shiba Inus can still feel the heat intensely, prompting them to seek other cooling methods. While we may not easily see dogs sweating through their paws, panting is a much more visible sign of their effort to cool down.

Additionally, Shiba Inus, being a medium-sized breed, tend to pant more than smaller breeds. It’s a common observation that medium to larger dogs pant more frequently as part of their natural cooling mechanism.

When Panting Indicates a More Serious Issue in Shiba Inus

Panting is a normal canine behavior, but it’s still useful to recognize when it might be a sign of something more concerning and when to consult your veterinarian.

Heatstroke & Dehydration

Heatstroke in dogs is a more severe condition than merely feeling too warm. It can affect a Shiba Inu’s behavior in various ways. Heavy panting might indicate heatstroke or dehydration.

You may notice your Shiba Inu’s tongue turning a deeper red. Their saliva could become thick and sticky. They might appear weak, struggle to walk, or even exhibit symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. Signs of inadequate hydration include sticky gums, lethargy, and sunken eyes.

If your Shiba Inu continues to pant heavily and shows these symptoms, it could be a sign of heatstroke or dehydration. In such cases, contacting your veterinarian is crucial.

Stress & Anxiety

Stress and anxiety in dogs can stem from numerous factors, such as insufficient exercise, boredom, prolonged solitude, significant life changes like moving homes, or changes in the family or pet dynamics.

Just as stress manifests in physical ways in humans, it can similarly affect dogs. Excessive panting is a common sign of stress or anxiety in dogs.

Identifying the cause of stress might be straightforward in some cases, but in others, it can be more challenging. If your Shiba Inu is panting excessively and the situation doesn’t seem to warrant it, stress or anxiety might be the underlying cause.

If you’re unable to determine why your Shiba Inu might be stressed, seeking advice from your veterinarian is advisable.

Allergies & Other Health Concerns

Occasionally, panting in Shiba Inus might be linked to more serious health issues like heart problems, respiratory issues, or conditions like Cushing’s disease.

Allergies or fevers can also cause increased panting. While Shiba Inus might not be as prone to environmental allergies as some breeds, it’s still a possibility to consider.

Recognizing Excessive Panting

Determining what constitutes excessive panting can be tricky as there’s no specific rate or amount that defines it.

It’s about understanding when panting is normal and when it’s not. Revisit the list of scenarios where panting is expected. If your Shiba Inu doesn’t fit into any of these situations, it’s worth further consideration.

If the temperature is moderate, there are no signs of dehydration, and your Shiba Inu hasn’t been exposed to sun, exertion, excitement, or other stimulating factors, yet continues to pant heavily, it’s prudent to consult with your veterinarian.

Understanding the exact cause of a dog’s distress can be challenging, which is why veterinarians play a crucial role. When in doubt, it’s always best to seek their advice.

Assisting Shiba Inus in Cooling Down (& Calming Down)

Responding appropriately when your Shiba Inu is panting will depend on the reason behind the panting and any recent activities.

If your Shiba Inu has just returned from an energetic walk or run, bring them indoors, offer a cool, shaded area, and ensure they have plenty of water. Encouraging them to lie down, which they’ll probably do on their own, can also help. Gradually, their panting should decrease as they cool down.

On hot summer days, it’s crucial not to let your Shiba Inu stay outside for extended periods. Always provide access to shade, water, a cool surface, and possibly an air-conditioned room. A cooling bed can be an effective and affordable way to help them regulate their body temperature.

If your Shiba Inu has just had an exciting play session, perhaps with a visiting dog, encourage them to drink water and then invite them to relax and lie down near you. Gentle petting can also help soothe them.

The key is to aid your Shiba Inu in both cooling and calming down, which in turn should help reduce panting. Even if you suspect a more serious issue and need to consult a veterinarian, your immediate goal should be to keep your Shiba Inu as relaxed and comfortable as possible.


I trust this explanation has been helpful. In summary, panting is a common behavior in Shiba Inus and often isn’t a cause for concern.

There are numerous situations where your Shiba Inu might start panting, and that’s typically okay.

However, if you notice your Shiba Inu panting at times when it seems unusual or unnecessary, it’s wise to seek advice from your veterinarian.

For more articles on Shiba Inu health, behavior, training, and other topics, feel free to explore further resources tailored to this unique and charming breed.


The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

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