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How To Treat Ducks Who Are Panting!

Not only are more and more people getting involved with duck conservation efforts all around the world but the number of people keeping backyard ducks to control pests in their vegetable patch is also steadily increasing too.

As the number of people interacting and caring about ducks continues to increase with each year that goes by, the number of questions that we see from the community about ducks also continues to increase.

Depending on the time of the year, we often see people reaching out and asking about duck panting due to some ducks excessively panting in certain situations.

As most people are not used to seeing ducks exhibit this behavior, it is easy to understand why it spikes their interest and results in a number of questions about why ducks pant and how you are able to help a duck that is panting.

With there being so many people asking about ducks panting right now, we have decided to publish our own article going over what causes panting in ducks as well as how you can help a duck that is panting.

We have added our table of contents below to make it as easy as possible for you to be able to quickly navigate the article to get to specific sections without having to waste time too.

What Causes Panting In Ducks?

The main reason that ducks will pant is due to overheating and the duck attempting to rapidly transfer cool are into its lungs to reduce its core temperature.

In some situations, respiratory infections may cause a duck to pant excessively too but this does tend to be rare and if the panting is due to a respiratory infection the duck will usually also have a wheezing sound when it breathes too.

Many people instantly think that the duck is panting due to having a respiratory infection as the duck may be sitting in a water but on very hot days, the water may not help to duck stay cool.

The feathers of a duck can keep their body heat in and the protective oils to help the duck float can keep the water off their body essentially locking their body heat in as it slowly continues to increase throughout the day due to the sun shining down on them.

Respiratory infections are problematic in ducks as they can be difficult to diagnose and treat but thankfully, they tend to be very rare.

The majority of ducks that you see panting will be doing it due to their core body temperature being too hot so they pant in an attempt to cool down similar to how a dog will pant when it is too hot too.

How To Help A Duck That Is Panting!

The easiest way to treat a duck who is panting due to being too hot is to provide it with some shade as quickly as possible to stop the suns rays from being able to get to the duck.

If your duck is panting due to having a respiratory infection then you may require a veterinarian to check the duck over to confirm the type of infection your duck has an to prescribe some medication to treat the infection.

As we touched on above, even if a duck is sitting in water, it can still end up overheating due to the way that its feathers work for insulating heat and minimising the amount of water that can touch the skin.

The easiest way to help a duck cool down and reduce its core temperature is to provide it with some shade to prevent the suns rays from directly shining down onto it and it should stop panting once its temperature normalizes.

If you can hear some wheezing as the duck is panting then you should probably book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess your duck and offer any treatments they think may be required.

This is only really an option if it is your pet duck though as wild ducks will often fly away before a vet is able to get a good luck at the duck.

Depending if the duck has a viral or bacterial infection, the vet may issue treatments to help the duck while also potentially recommending you quarantine the duck to prevent it from infecting the rest of your ducks too.

Should You Be Worried About A Duck That Is Panting?

Most ducks who are panting are doing it due to being too hot and in time, they will usually calm down and make a full recovery.

It is very rare that a duck who is panting due to being hot will have any serious issues but in some locations, your local temperature may increase the risk of long term health issues in your duck if it is regularly hot enough for your duck to pant.

If you do live in one of those areas then providing your ducks with a permanent shelter area where they are able to get out of direct sunlight and cool down is highly recommended.

This should be able to help the ducks regulate their temperature with ease and not have any long term problems due to constantly overheating in the sun.

When it comes to your duck panting due to having an infection then the health of your duck really will depend on the type of infection as well as how long the infection has had to develop in the duck.

The majority of the time, your duck should be able to make a full recovery provided you get to treating the duck as quickly as possible. The sooner you notice the potential infection as well as start treatment for it the higher the chances of your duck making a full recovery.


That brings our article going over ducks panting to an end and we hope that we have been able to help you understand why some ducks will excessively pant as well as how you are able to help them. As we mentioned, the majority of ducks will make a full recovery, especially if they are panting due to the heat but if the duck is panting due to an infection, it may require medicate from a vet to help it heal as quickly as possible.