Why is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping? 3 Best Steps to Take Care of the Situation

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

Observing your young dog breathe rapidly during sleep can be a disconcerting experience.

Really, watching anyone – human or not – breathing unnaturally fast for no seeming reason can be a little disturbing.

But is your puppy just breathing fast? Or, in fact having trouble breathing at night?

Most likely, there is nothing to worry about. Puppies normally tend to breathe a little fast while they sleep.

The rate at which we breathe can be affected by some trivial reasons. And often, we don’t even notice the change until it’s pointed out or we take a minute to relax, right?

And likewise, you can do some things to relax your puppy if you have cause to believe your pet’s breathing hard from some stress.

But first, let’s try to understand why your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping.

Why is My Dog Breathing Fast?

The reason behind your dog’s rapid breathing can be any number of things, as mentioned earlier, and narrowing it down to the right one should come before you hit the panic button.

But first, what dog respiratory rate would you label as “normal” or “rapid”?

A dog’s normal breathing rate ranges between 10 to 34 breaths per minute. And for a puppy, it’s bound to be a bit higher – say by about 5-10 breaths.

Take the time to really observe your puppy and check how fast their breathing, how often their breathing speeds up, and in what situations.

This might even help you pinpoint the problem – if any – and help your vet come to the correct diagnosis if needed.

Possible Reasons for Your Puppy’s Rapid Breathing

So, why would your puppy be breathing fast while sleeping? Or at any other time, for that matter?

It could be down two broad triggers:

  1. Physiological – is it hot enough for your puppy to be panting? Did something excite or scare or stress them out in any other way? Did they come from a walk or runs or playing?
  2. Pathological – these could stem from a variety of medical conditions, and/or just be triggered by pain. Are they hurt anywhere? Are they assuming an unusual posture or stance? Do their tummy look swollen? Are there other symptoms?

Usually, if a puppy is breathing fast due to disease or a disorder of some kind, you can probably see it soon enough in their discomfort.

And the best moments to observe are during “normal” situations, where there is nothing that might excite or stress your puppy out and have just been sitting around doing nothing for a while.

If you notice ithings like:

  • Standing or sitting with the elbows sticking out, neck extended or in other weird postures
  • Breathing in a noisy, labored manner
  • Tachypnea, or breathing rapidly for no apparent reason (exercise, play, etc.) and with the mouth closed (not panting)
  • The chest or stomach moving strangely with their breath

You should assume something might be wrong.

Simply put:

That’s the cue to call your vet.

As for the other reasons, you can rest fairly assured that your pup will eventually breathe easier as they grow up.

Or at least when they aren’t engaged in anything exciting, scary, or otherwise stressful.

What About Trouble Breathing at Night?

This is, again, something that can look weird or alarming, but really isn’t.


That’s because your puppy is most likely just having a lively dream.

And usually added to the rapid breathing, there’s also a bit of twitching, growling, whining and even some air-walking as your puppy scrambles around after cats or rabbits in their dream.

In this, puppies are no different from other dogs. And as you can guess, this is perfectly normal. You probably talk or kick around in your sleep too, sometimes.

So, don’t freak-out the next time you see your puppy breathing fast while sleeping.

And don’t wake them up! They wouldn’t really like that in the middle of an exciting dream.

Would you?

3 Simple Things You Can Do for Your Puppy if You Think They’re Breathing too Rapidly

There’s not much you can do in the situation, considering your puppy either simply need to calm down, or needs the vet.


There are very simple, yet effective, things you can do to help your puppy calm down:

1. Remove Any Sources of Stress

If you believe your puppy is getting too excited or stressed out by something – get rid of the source, or move your puppy where it may not affect them.

It could be anything, depending on the dog – a strange guest staying over, a car, unusual noise, or music.

Take your puppy to their usual resting spot, and make sure that it’s a cool (not cold) and quiet space.

2. Make Sure Your Puppy Isn’t Dehydrated

Dehydration can cause a great deal of stress in the body.

And unfortunately, a lot of owners are careful enough with their puppy diet feeding but tend to neglect water sometimes.
See that your puppy is well fed based on their schedule and is hydrated, and take them for their usual potty break before they sleep.

3. Take a Trip to the Vet

Sometimes it’s just better to have your vet’s assurance, isn’t it? Nothing else seems to work. If you note any signs of sickness or other condition, getting a check-up ASAP is given.

Rapid breathing is a common symptom of a variety of respiratory or even cardiac illnesses.

But even otherwise, when you’re fairly certain your puppy is quite fit and fine, a check-up can’t hurt to rule out any doubts.

What’s the harm?

We hope you found this post helpful and informative. If you have more insight on this subject or have other suggestions based on your own experiences with your pup, do let us know in the comment section below.

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