Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast? 6 Reasons for Fast Breathing

Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast

Have you been cuddling with your cute puppy and suddenly noticed heavy breathing?

Very often, this is a normal behavior that just shows off their excitement, but sometimes it can be a sign of a serious illness.

Pet parents, especially new pet parents, might ask themselves, “Why is my puppy breathing so fast?” and the good news is that we have the answer.

New dog owners often have unnecessary and panic concerns regarding their new puppies.

However, rapid breathing occurs for various reasons, and we are here to help you!

Stay with us and find out the causes, symptoms, and treatment procedures for fast breathing in puppies!

Key Takeaways

  • Puppy’s breathing fast is common for both healthy and sick dogs.
  • You must determine the cause for the fast breathing in puppies and then treat it properly.
  • Measure the puppy’s breathing rate if you suspect any abnormalities.

Normal Breathing Rates in Puppies

Both puppies and human babies have faster breathing rates than adults due to their higher metabolic rate. Puppies have a healthy respiratory breathing rate of 15-30 breaths per minute.

This helps puppies to breathe fast to get more oxygen intake for their fast metabolism.

Anything higher than that is an indication of abnormal breathing.

According to the Cardiac Education Group, increased breathing rate might be an early clinical sign of heart failure. Lower breathing rates are possible but not a serious cause for concern.

In cases you notice both increased or decreased breathing rates, you must inform a veterinarian.

Clinical Signs of Abnormal Breathing Rates

The most common symptoms of increased breathing rates related to diseases include the following:

  • Fast breathing when resting
  • Restless sleeping
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Weakness
  • Increased effort while breathing
  • Lack of energy
  • Collapse or fainting
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Distended belly
  • Blue or pale gums and tongue
  • Flared nostrils
  • Open-mouthed breathing

If you notice some of these signs, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Sometimes these are indeed normal physiological signs, but they can also be an indicator of a severe disease.

How to Detect Changed Breathing in Puppies?

Understanding the pet’s normal respiratory rate is the tricky part for new pet owners as they are often inexperienced. But we will explain to you how to determine whether your dog is breathing abnormally fast.

First things first, try to observe your pet while sleeping as the animal is calm and you will remain more focused. Then, try to count the breathing rate and observe the chest.

To make these things easier, you can only focus on the chest. Even chest movement is counted as one breath. During your count, you can use a stopwatch and observe only in a time period of 1 minute.

Why Is My Dog Breathing Fast? 6 Causes That Lead to Fast Dog Breathing

Before we mention all the causes of rapid breathing in puppies, let us make things more simple. There are 3 types of reasons for fast breathing in puppies, including:

  • Physical causes
  • Psychological factors
  • Underlying health issues

Physical causes occur after increased physical activity throughout the whole day, while psychological factors are related to anxiety, stress, and fear.

On the other side, underlying health problems include various health problems that can manifest with rapid breathing:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory diseases

6 Specific Causes That Lead to Fast Dog Breathing

Let’s mention the most specific causes that might lead to fast breathing in dogs:

Temperature regulation

Unlike humans, dogs have different ways of regulating their body temperature. You might already know, but dogs don’t sweat and they regulate temperature through panting.

Puppy panting is more frequent and intensive than panting in adult dogs. It also sounds more different since it is more noisy. These dogs are panting with heavily open-mouthed breathing.

Normal panting is not noisy, and this condition does not require a veterinarian’s intervention. According to Goldberg MB, it t is a physiological change that allows evaporating cooling. It is water evaporation from the tongue, mouth, and upper respiratory tract.

Don’t be surprised by excessive panting in active dogs! Dogs breathe fast while exercising in order to regulate their body temperature.


Young puppies are prone to mood changes due to many environmental factors. So, if you are a new puppy owner, you must be very gentle around them.

Puppies are sensitive to many stimuli and can get excited and stressed very easily. Owners with full-time jobs often leave their puppies alone and this might cause separation anxiety in them.

Maybe that is the reason why your pup is breathing fast as soon as it sees you. But how will dog owners distinguish breathing fast due to separation anxiety and serious health issues?

The answer is very simple! You just have to observe your puppy throughout the whole day. If the dog’s breathing is fast throughout the whole day, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Fast Breathing During Sleep

If your dog is breathing fast while sleeping, it is not a serious concern. It is a part of the normal sleep cycle and it might mean that your dog is in the REM sleep stage.

According to the American Kennel Club, it is an indicator that your dog is dreaming something, and our advice is not to disturb your dog during this period. It might stress the animal even more since the blood pressure is low in this stage.

So, what is the solution?

Wait for the breathing to normalize, and then spoil your dogs with cuddles to let them know that everything is all right.

Respiratory health problems

Almost every respiratory problem is characterized by respiratory distress and changes in the dog’s respiratory rate. The respiratory rate is often increased and very rarely decreased.

Respiratory infections like kennel cough or pneumonia are serious threats for puppies since they are very sensitive at a young age. These diseases cause changes in the pet’s normal respiratory rate that need to be treated adequately.

Usually, experiencing respiratory distress is accompanied by nose discharge or coughing.

Heart Problems

Some puppies might have congenital heart problems and they often manifest with rapid breathing and excessive panting.

Allergic reaction

According to the Pet Alliance Orlando, allergies can have respiratory consequences. And what is the cause of the allergy? The list is very long, but mainly, it can be caused by pollen, environmental factors, food, or insect bites.

Allergies in puppies can have clinical signs on the skin or difficulty breathing.

Carefully observe your dog if you suspect an allergy and immediately seek professional vet help.

What to Do if Your Puppy Is Breathing Fast?

Let us tell you something! Observing fast breathing in your puppy can lead you to various assumptions. And you don’t want to gamble with your pet’s health. You must take your dog to the vet to make an accurate diagnosis and manage the problem.

Your vet will first perform a full physical examination. After that, some additional diagnostic procedures might be needed.

Determining an accurate diagnosis is a complex process that consists of many steps. Your veterinarian might recommend X-rays to check the pup’s lungs, heart, and abdomen to check for lung tumors or broken ribs.

When it comes to behavior changes, we have good and bad news! Fast breathing caused by excitement, stress, or fear does not require a lot of drugs.

However, if you do not see improvements after you’ve taken the vet’s advice, you will need to continue the treatment process with a certified dog behaviorist.

A certified dog behaviorist can help you in managing the signs of anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors. It can be a very demanding process but it is the only solution to improve the dog’s fast breathing.

What Is the Treatment for Breathing Issues in Puppies?

The treatment always depends on the cause of the pup’s fast breathing.

Some of the most common treatments for fast or heavy breathing in puppies include the following:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Bronchodilators
  • Antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain relief drugs

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the treatment procedure depends on the diagnosis. These are some of the recommended therapies for a puppy’s fast breathing, but they do not constitute medical advice.

How to Calm Puppies That Breathe Faster at Home?

Breathing abnormally fast can be a sign of a dog trying to get back to a normal temperature and this is considered normal. If the panting is very strong, you can calm your dog at home, but sometimes veterinary advice is necessary.

Is there a better way to calm your dog than cuddles? Most dogs calm down when their owners are near them. This is especially useful in cases of psychological problems including anxiety, stress, and fear.

Then you can check the dog’s environment and see if something disturbed them. It can be the extreme room temperature that leads to labored breathing.

If this is the case, then normalize the room temperature and observe your puppy again.

These are just a few tips that might help improve the pet’s condition temporarily, but do not constitute medical advice!


Why is my dog breathing fast while sleeping?

Breathing fast while sleeping can be an indicator of respiratory distress or some heart disease. But active puppies that had a day full of activities can also breathe fast during sleep, and this is a normal sign.

It can also mean that the dog is in the REM sleep stage. During this stage, the animal’s eyes move fast, and the heart and breathing rates increase. It can also mean that they are dreaming of something during this stage.

When should I contact a veterinarian?

Contact a veterinarian if your dog produces too loud noise during breathing or if it is engaging stomach muscles during breathing. Open-mouthed breathing and flared nostrils are other signs that must be addressed. 

These are some of the most serious signs that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

What is the normal breathing rate in puppies?

Puppies have a physiological rate of 15-30 per minute. You can check your puppy’s breathing rate by using a timer and observation.

Is rapid breathing normal for active puppies?

Yes, it is normal for active puppies. It allows the dog’s body to get back to a normal temperature. If dogs continue to breathe rapidly for a long period, you should seek veterinary help.

Final Words: Why is My Dog’s Breathing Increased?

Breathing problems are very common in dogs, especially puppies. Dogs that breathe rapidly might seem perfectly normal, but if the problem persists and you don’t know the real cause, contact a veterinarian.

Diagnosing the cause of the dog’s fast breathing is a complex process that should be performed by a veterinarian. The treatment process will depend on the difficulty breathing causes.

Have you ever noticed fast breathing in your puppy? If yes, let us know what was the cause and how you managed it!

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