A lot of pet owners worry about their furry friends when they behave different than usual or than they expect. First time dog owners might especially ask themselves why is my dog breathing really fast, it is normal, and if they should be worried or not. There are multiple reasons for it. But first thing you should know is what is a normal respiratory rate.
What is a normal breathing rate for my puppy?
For puppies, normal is 15-40 breaths per minute.
For an adult dog, normal is 10-30 breaths per minute.
So, puppies often have a little bit faster breathing rhythm compared to adult dogs. It can also depend on the size of your dog.
How to count the breathing rate?
You want to know how fast your pup is breathing right now? Take a look at your puppy’s chest moving up and down, expanding and contracting.
Now count the number of breaths for 15 or 30 seconds, and multiply by 4 or 2 respectively. This gives you a breathing rate. You can also count how many breaths in one go for 60 seconds to get the same result.
Once you know their breaths per minute you can compare it to the normal values. If it is clearly higher, you know that yes, your pooch is definitely breathing rapidly.
Should I be concerned?
There can be multiple reasons for your dog to have heavy breathing, but one reason for difficulty breathing might be a symptom of medical conditions. If you feel worried or it is not getting better, it is always best to take your dog to the vet to get a professional opinion. If your pup’s rapid breathing is accompanied by other breathing problems such as coughing and panting, it is definitely a good idea ask your vet.
For example, kennel cough is common in puppies and it is transmitted easily from one dog to another. Your pup could also potentially suffer from allergies or even heart or lung problems.
Therefore, please do go to see a vet if you feel worried.
Other reasons for rapid breathing in dogs
Breathing fast while sleeping is usually because they are having vivid dreams during the rapid eye movement phase. It is also sometimes accompanied by movements of the body like kicking as well as sounds like whining or a little bark. It’s hard to know if your dog is having a nightmare or a pleasant dream. In both those responses can occur.
In general, rapid breathing should become normal again once he wakes up. It is not advised to wake up your doggie while he is sleeping as this can be a shock for him and you don’t know how he will react. Some dogs, when taken out of their dream abruptly, can snap at the person waking them up.
If your puppy has spent a lot of time in the sun and now is breathing so fast, he might be overheated. Dog’s body temperature can get very high from laying and playing in the sun. In this case bring him inside the house or into the shade and give him water to cool down.
Rapid breathing may also be caused because your pup feels too hot while sleeping in a hot room during the summer or if the heater is on high. If this is the case, then lower the temperature, turn on the air conditioner or a fan to help cool down your pup. Make sure to take your dog out of the sun and provide him with cold water. You don’t want your pup to have a heatstroke. Also, never leave your dog locked in a hot car.
Puppies tend to have so much energy and love their zoomies. After an energetic and wild play session or a long walk or hike, fast breathing can be a sign of over exertion. It is similar to us humans when we go for a run or do other physical activity with high intensity.
Your dog may just need a break and lay down for a little bit. Before you have another play session, wait until his breathing goes back to normal. If you’re going on a hike, consider taking a backpack or carrier for your dog to be in if he shows signs of exhaustion.
When first bringing home your new puppy it is a completely new experience and environment from what they’re used to. It can be kind of stressful for them. This can cause fast breathing or panting.
Later on, having a lot of people over can also stress your dog a bit. While those instances are also exiting, they are unusual situations for a puppy. He will need to get used to new people or strangers stopping by.
Similarly, the first times being in a car or visiting a new place can be frightening for them because they simply don’t know what is going on.
After your dog has gotten use to the new home or having strangers sometimes come visit, the fast breathing should also get better. For new places they go to, try to give them comfort and offer treats to show that this is okay and nothing dangerous. If your pup is having separation anxiety and your puppy is breathing fast when you try to leave the house, you should work on it yourself or with a dog trainer.
As you can see, you may not have to worry right away about your dog’s rapid breathing as there can be easy solutions and preventions. We always say, however, better safe than sorry. If you are still worried or your pup is showing other symptoms of a possible health issue, you need a vet’s opinion in person.