Do Cows Pant: Why, How, and Detailed Facts


Do Cows Pant: Why, How, and Detailed Facts

Cows are versatile, moody animals and react to an increase in mercury levels in different ways. Let’s check out whether cows pant when hot.

Cows pant during scorching summer months since they need to dissipate heat from their bodies. In addition to panting, you will notice them being restless, drooling, eating less, and standing more often. As such, it becomes necessary to cool them down, either by providing them with water or keeping them in shade.

There are a lot of questions people ask with regards to cows and their reaction to increasing temperatures. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions. 

Image Credits: “Cow” by mindfrieze is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Do cows pant when hot?

Cows are warm-blooded animals who get quite uncomfortable in warm temperatures. Let’s find out if they pant when hot. 

Cows pant when they are hot and suffering from heat stress. Along with panting, you might notice drooling and foaming. They keep their mouths open and breathe faster to dissipate heat. In addition to panting, they will become lethargic and unwilling to participate in day-to-day activities. 

Cows pant more during the summer season. This is because they feel very uncomfortable as the temperature rises and look for ways to vent out. 

Why do cattle pant?

There can be several reasons why cattle pant. Let’s understand the reasoning behind this together. 

Cattles get very hot during the summer months, and they open their mouths to breathe and dissipate heat. Their body temperatures become elevated during peak summer months, and they need ways to cool down. Although cows have sweat glands on their body, these glands are not as active, and they need to breathe through their lungs.

Panting is a completely normal activity and helps the cow cool down by letting out air through its lungs. However, heat stress can be bad for the cow. 

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How do you tell if a cow is stressed?

There are several ways in which you can tell a cow is stressed. Let’s find out more. 

Here are a few ways in which you can tell a cow is stressed:

  • Excessive panting.
  • Restlessness and elevated breathing. 
  • Aggression. 
  • Excessive panting along with foaming and drooling. 
  • Frequent urination. 
  • Trembling and lack of coordination.
  • Standing while others in the herd are lying down. 
  • Refusal to eat food or being indifferent to food.
  • Increased heart rate. 

When stressed, you should work towards calming down the cow and ensuring its heart rate regulates. 

How do you calm a cow down?

Calming a cow is of utmost importance to avoid aggression and help them cool down. Let’s find out how you can calm a cow. 

To calm down a cow, it is best to give them some space and leave them alone. Do not disturb or overwork them. In addition, you can leave the cows with some water and food. Cows relax on their own, without the interference of any external factors. In fact, you might make them nervous by constantly being around them. 

When your cow seems overheated or restless, it is best to give them sufficient space to relax and let them unwind at their own pace. Do not hover around the cows as they might get nervous with you around. Let them be at peace and they will eventually calm down. 

Can cows handle hot weather?

Cows are warm-blooded animals that have higher body temperatures than humans. Let’s figure out if they can handle high temperatures. 

Cows cannot handle hot weather, especially if they are heavyweight cattle. Therefore, cows should not be worked under extreme heat as it can elevate their body temperatures and lead to heat stress. If you must work cows during hot weather, do it in the mornings when the temperatures are considerably lower. 

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Summer months can be daunting for the cow. Sometimes, their lactating potential is also reduced due to reduced energy levels. Therefore, you should adapt to their patterns and ensure they do not get stressed. 

Image Credits: “Dutch landscape with cows” by eessam is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Can cows get heat exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a common phenomenon in many animals as well as humans. Let’s figure out if cows can get heat exhaustion. 

Cows can get heat exhaustion. This usually happens during very hot summer months, which is accompanied by humidity and low wind speed. As such, you will notice a decrease in the performance of the cow, and they are likely to reduce their forage intake as well. Heat intolerance is more common in exotic and crossbred dairy cows. 

There are several ways to help a cow recover from heat exhaustion. It is best to leave them in a cool environment with fans, misters, and some water. Allow the cow to relax and de-stress, and they will slowly recover. 

Why is my cow breathing fast?

Often, cow owners can get extremely confused and panic when their cows start breathing fast. Let’s figure out the reasoning behind it. 

Cows breathe fast to dissipate heat from their bodies through their lungs. Although cows have sweat glands present on their body, these glands do not work as effectively, and the cows need alternatives to cool themselves down.

It is essential to look out for symptoms of an illness in your cow. At times, respiratory disorders can result in quick breathing. However, if your cow breathes fast only on hot days, it is primarily to cool themselves down. 

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How hot is too hot for cows?

Image Credits: “Happy Cows” by aresauburn™ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Cows, like humans, can tolerate only up to a particular temperature before they get overstressed. Let’s find out how hot is too hot for them. 

Temperatures that go above 70 degrees Fahrenheit can be detrimental to the health of cows. In addition, the temperature-humidity index value should not be greater than 68. On the contrary, cows can easily thrive in temperatures as low as 18℉. The higher the temperatures, the more time the cow will spend trying to cool down. 

Staying in hot temperatures for a long time can lead to heat stress, which reduces the energy levels of the cattle as they reduce their forage intake to cool down. Usually, cows who live in hotter regions are likely to suffer from heat stress.


Cows pant due to several reasons and while it is completely normal in some instances, it may be a signal of some underlying health issues if it continues for a very long time. In such cases, it is essential to consult a vet. That being said, cows normally pant to dissipate heat and as such, you should provide them with enough water, shade, and fan to make sure they can cool down properly. 

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