Have you noticed changes in your puppy’s breathing? Perhaps they are panting more than usual or their breaths seem shallower and faster. This shift may prompt many pet owners to wonder ‘Why is my puppy breathing so fast?’, a question with a variety of possible answers.

And as careful and attentive puppy parents, it is important to be aware of changes in our furry friend’s health so that we can identify when there may be a problem and seek professional help. Knowing what to look out for can mean the difference between a healthy puppy and a sick one.

Normal Breathing Rate for Dogs

Before you get into the reasons behind your puppy breathing fast, it is important to understand what a ‘normal’ breathing rate looks like for canines. Breathing rates can differ based on the size of the dog – small breeds will typically breathe faster than large ones.

For example, Goldendoodles typically have a breathing rate of 30-40 breaths per minute, while Labrador retrievers have a rate of 10-30 breaths per minute. Plus, the older the dog, the slower its breathing rate will be. If your pet is within the normal size and age range for its particular breed and is still breathing fast, this may be a cause for concern.

Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast?

Shallow, rapid breathing in dogs may occur due to a number of reasons, some more serious than others. While it’s not considered an emergency straight away, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. Here are some of the main culprits behind fast breathing in doggos:

Physical Exertion

A rather obvious one, but if your pooch has just been for a run or played fetch for an extended period of time, it is likely that their breathing will be faster than normal. This is because they are working their cardiovascular system harder and need to take in more oxygen to fuel their body, much like we do when we exercise.

As long as your four-legged friend is not showing any other signs of illness and their breathing returns to normal after you give them some space to rest, there is no cause for concern. However, if you notice that your dog is struggling to catch their breath even after a short walk or playtime, this could be a sign of a more serious issue.

Temperature Regulation

If your pet hasn’t engaged in any strenuous activity but is still panting heavily, this may be due to the temperature outside. In contrast to humans, dogs don’t sweat through their skin to cool down – instead, they release heat by panting or through their paw pads.

So, if it’s a particularly hot day or your dog is in a warm environment, such as being in the car on a sunny day, they may start to pant more to try and lower their body temperature. You may notice your puppy panting while sleeping or lying down but not moving – this is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

Food Poisoning

Another reason why you might notice your puppy breathing fast while sleeping is food poisoning. It can happen to any dog, no matter what age, and is usually the result of eating something they shouldn’t have. Spoiled food, garbage, or even certain human foods can all lead to gastrointestinal issues in dogs.

Symptoms of food poisoning in puppies may include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, abdominal pain, and – you guessed it – fast breathing. If you think your pooch may have ingested something harmful, you should take all the necessary steps to ensure a fast recovery, including taking food supplements and probiotics.

Anemia

One of the more serious causes of fast breathing in dogs is anemia, which is a condition that occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body. These are responsible for carrying oxygen to the various tissues and organs, so a lower than normal level can cause a whole host of problems.

Aside from your puppy breathing fast while sleeping, other symptoms of anemia may include lethargy, weakness, pale gums, and loss of appetite. Take note of any other changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance in order to get a better idea of what’s going on.

Lung Disease

If you see your puppy breathing 100 breaths per minute while sleeping, it could be a sign of lung disease. This is an umbrella term for any condition that affects the lungs and surrounding airways, making it difficult for your pet to get the oxygen they need. The more severe the disease, the harder it is for your dog to breathe.

There may also be fluid buildup in the lungs, which can make your puppy‘s chest appear larger than normal and their breaths may be labored. This kind of breathing may also be accompanied by a cough and tra, so pay attention to any other changes you notice in your pet’s routine.

Heart Issues

Perhaps the one thing any pet owner who’s wondering ‘Why does my puppy breathe so fast?’ doesn’t want to hear is that it might be heart failure. This is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently throughout the body, either because the chambers are not functioning properly or there is something blocking the bloodflow.

As a result, the organs and tissues may begin to shut down due to a lack of oxygen, which can be fatal. While increased breathing rate alone is not usually indicative of heart failure, it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and blue-tinted lips or gums.

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

Persistent or severe fast breathing that seems to be out of the ordinary for your particular pet should always be checked out by a professional. While it may be nothing to worry about, having that peace of mind can be invaluable – and if there is an additional health concern, the sooner it is caught, the better.

Any accompanying symptoms, such as coughing, general weakness or change of color in the gums, may also warrant a call or visit to the vet. They’ll be able to perform a physical examination and run some tests to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Sometimes an x-ray may also be necessary in order to see if there is any fluid in the lungs or an abnormal heart size.

Finishing Thoughts

As much as well all want what’s best for our furry friends, we may not always know when something is wrong. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that can help us figure out if our pup is under the weather – and fast breathing while getting their snooze on is one of them.

If you’re asking yourself ‘Why is my puppy breathing so fast?’, take a look at the possible causes above and compare them to any other symptoms you might be seeing. Having this information on hand can help you and your vet provide treatment more quickly if it’s needed.

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