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Dog Panting After Surgery: 3 Reasons Why & Aftercare Tips

Panting after surgery can be a sign of stress, pain, or a side effect of the medication administered before or during the intervention. To make the healing process easier, be sure that you take proper care of your dog after the surgery.

No matter how careful you are when raising your dog, it can experience accidents, injuries, or illnesses where surgery is required.

Even though it sounds scary, it is important to know how your dogs can react after a surgical intervention, why they are panting, and what to do to help them feel better.

In this article, we’ll talk about how surgery can induce panting, and what to do if it happens.

Why Is My Dog Panting After Surgery?

Panting is a common side effect of anesthesia or other medication after surgery. It is also how dogs let their owner know they are in pain or anxious.

Dogs pant after surgical intervention for several reasons. While it is not unusual behavior, you should take note of your dog’s panting, how long it lasts and how intense it is if you want to keep your furry friend safe.

Going through surgery is an unpleasant experience, but with the right mindset and the correct information at hand, you can understand your dog’s reactions and act accordingly.

Related: Why is My Dog Shaking After Surgery?

3 Reasons Why Your Dog Pants After Surgery

Several factors can make your dog pant after surgery, most of them harmless. To make sure that this behavior does not put him in any danger, pay a closer look at your dog and try to determine the root of his panting.

Panting after surgery is caused by the following:

  1. Medications
  2. Pain
  3. Anxiety

1. Medication

Medication Side Effect

Before, after, or during the intervention, the vet administers a certain type of medication to your dog meant to ease pain and anxiety or to reduce inflammation.

Panting is a side effect of certain treatments. Don’t forget to ask your vet for details and eventual side effects. The vet can tell you when to worry, and when not to worry, if any changes in your dog’s breathing occur.

2. Pain

Another reason why your dog is panting is pain. When the drugs used during the surgery wear off, discomfort can occur. Signs such as whining or crying, atypical aggressiveness, or hesitance to be touched can help you identify if the reason behind your dog’s panting is pain.

Talk to your vet about a pain-management plan to avoid unpleasant situations. Don’t administer medication to your dog unless advised so by the vet. Studies show it can be life-threatening to administer drugs to dogs without veterinary supervision.[1]

3. Anxiety

Dog Confusion and anxiety

Dogs often feel stressed and frustrated after surgery. Since surgery is a difficult and displeasing experience, your pet will need some time to cool off and relax afterward.

It is crucial to consider medical conditions first. Once those are ruled out by your vet, you can start thinking about anxiety as a cause.

If anxiety is the reason behind your dog’s panting, it should ease after a few hours.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Pant After Surgery?

Panting after surgery represents a common behavior that can appear within the first 12 to 24 hours.

Panting is generally normal for dogs recovering from surgery, but there are certain gestures or manifestations of panting that can represent a problem. Intense or fast breathing are causes for concern. Call your vet and ask for advice if your dog experience rapid breathing.

Monitor your dog’s recovery process after surgery and look out for any changes in behavior.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Pant After Surgery

When to See a Vet for Post-Surgery Panting?

You should see a vet regarding post-surgery panting when it persists or if your dog’s behavior is unusual. Keep in mind that panting after surgery doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is in danger.

If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, call your vet right away:

  • Your dog starts panting out of nowhere;
  • The panting does not stop after some time;
  • You consider that your dog is in pain;
  • The panting is deep and heavy.

What if My Dog Is Panting 3 Days After Surgery?

If your dog is still panting 3 days after surgery, you should take it to the vet for a check-up. Panting typically stops after 24 hours. Any longer than this is a cause for concern.

Panting after an intervention is also your dog’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you notice any change in your dog’s breathing and if it doesn’t stop after 24 hours, call a veterinarian.

Excessive panting for an extended period is a sign of an issue. You should discover and remove the problem as fast as possible.

What if My Dog Is Panting 3 Days After Surgery

How to Help Panting Dogs After Surgery

It is crucial to take proper care of your dog once you bring it home. There are several things that you can do to make the healing process easier, without putting your four-legged friend in jeopardy.

Some of the things that you could do for your dog are:

  • Make some environmental changes;
  • Create a safe space for your dog;
  • Ask your vet any specific details that you may need to know;
  • Spend time with your dog.


Panting after surgery can have several meanings. This behavior is not dangerous or life-threatening, but you should not ignore it. You should monitor your dog’s behavior after surgery and beware of side effects, discomfort, or anxiety.

If your dog is panting or breathing rapidly after surgery, stay calm and analyze the situation thoroughly. Take proper care of your furry friend and do not hesitate to call your vet or drive to the clinic for a check-up if you think that something’s wrong.


Why is My Dog Panting and Whining After Surgery?

It is not unusual for dogs to pant and whine in the first 24 hours after surgery. This is caused by multiple factors, such as discomfort, fear, stress, anxiety, and more.

Why is My Dog Panting After Spay?

A spay surgery is a hard process that can cause your dog to panic and start panting. This experience can be traumatizing for some dogs, subsequently leading to anxiousness and tension. When strained, your dog may start panting. Try being kind and reassuring with your dog to help it calm down in moments like this.

Why is My Dog Panting After Splenectomy?

Splenectomy is a surgery performed in the abdomen with the aim of removing the spleen. No matter how painful or dangerous that may seem, your dog can still have a healthy, safe and joyous life without this organ. Take note that during the healing process panting and other behavioral changes may occur, which “may indicate pain/discomfort or side-effects of the medications”.[2]

Why is My Dog Panting After Pyometra Surgery?

Pyometra is seen in female dogs that have not been spayed and it is caused by the development of a bacterial infection inside the womb. The best and safest way to treat it is by performing pyometra surgery. After the intervention, your dog may start to pant or “vocalize”[3] because of pain and discomfort. If you don’t see any changes in your pet’s behavior after administering the medication recommended by your vet, ask for specialized help.

Why is My Dog Panting After General Anesthesia?

Once the effect of the anesthesia passes, your dog may start feeling physical pain or stress. In this case, the level of adrenaline will rise, increasing your pet’s blood pressure, heart rate, and even need for oxygen, thereafter leading to panting. Monitor your dog’s behavior and take care of it to make the healing process easier.

About Iordache Cristina Maria

Cristina is a freelance writer, student, and animal enthusiast. While she learns about animals, she writes about how they behave, what they look like, and other facts that most people don't know about.

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