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Dog breathing fast: Is it dangerous?

Dog breathing fast: Is it dangerous?

The breathing rate in a healthy, adult dog is about 10 to 35 breaths per minute. The frequency is higher in small dogs than in larger animals. But, sometimes it can happen that you notice your dog breathing fast, and you start to panic. But should you even panic in those situations?

Now, in the ideal case, you should monitor your dog regularly to find their normal breathing rate at rest is. So in an emergency, you can tell if something is wrong. But, not many people do that. So when we see our dog panting without any reason, we start to worry.

Breathing too fast in dogs mostly occurs after physical activity. This is a completely normal and harmless reaction if he has exhausted himself doing sports or if he has frolicked around on a long walk. But, what if your dog starts panting all of a sudden without any cause or reason?

Well, that’s what we’ll talk about in this article. If a dog breathing fast is a reason to worry and what to do in that case.

While you’re here, you can read our other health-related articles:

Dog breathing fast – When to worry

As we’ve said, it’s normal for dogs to breath heavy and fast after they have been physically active. But, this can also happen when the dog is scared or stressed. It’s important to know that breathing too fast in those situation can even turn into a panting attack.

Another reason why your dog might be breathing fast is when it is excited. An excited dog breathes faster and more irregularly than when it is at rest. That’s normal. But, this fast breathing in the dog after physical activity or excitement should return to normal after half and hour.

The ten most common reasons why your dog is breathing fast

It is also normal that your dog pants when he is too warm. In those cases, your dog will pant with its mouth open and its tongue hanging out. This allows your dog to regulate its body temperature downwards.

But, if your canine breathes faster than usual for no reason and even when they are resting or sleeping, then this can be a sign of a serious problem.

We’ll explain to you when it’s time to worry if your dog is breathing fast and when you should take them to the vet.

The normal breathing rate in a healthy canine

There is no one answer to the question of what a dog’s normal breathing rate is. Only you can tell whether your furry friend’s breathing normally or not. For this, you should count his breaths while your dog is sleeping.

Only in this absolute state of rest can you determine its exact breathing rate. And it’s not even difficult to do that!

All you have to do is count your dog’s breaths for a minute. Your dog’s chest rises when they breathe in, and when they breathe out, it lowers again. This inhalation and exhalation count as one breath.

A normal breathing rate of a healthy dog is between 10 and 30 or 35 breaths per minute.

Extra tip: Count your dog’s breaths per minute regularly and write them down. This way, you’ll know exactly when something is wrong.

For example, if your dog always took 20 breaths per minute and suddenly takes 30 breaths, then something is wrong, and you should consult a vet on what needs to be done.

If you count between 35 and 60 breaths, then your dog’s breathing rate is way too fast, and it can mean a serious illness or that your dog is in pain.

Besides that, an insufficient number of breaths per minute and very shallow breathing with hardly noticeable chest movement are dangerous too.

In both these cases, a visit to the vet is recommended! If your dog is breathing or panting quickly for a long time for no apparent reason, you should take him to the vet only that way can they make sure what is going on with your dog.

Why they might be breathing fast

Even if you don’t track your dog’s breaths, there are situations where it’s obvious your dog’s breathing fast, and there are symptoms you can look out for.

If your dog is breathing heavy, they will show the following symptoms:

  • Its tongue hangs out of its mouth and moves.
  • The dog breathes are noisy and very quickly (up to 10 times faster than normal) through the nose and out again through the mouth.
  • The air is not inhaled properly, it’s as their breaths are cut.
  • There is an increased production of saliva.

Now, let’a talk about the reasons why your dog might be breathing heavy.

1. Anxiety or fear:

When your dog is afraid, his heart rate increases and he breathes quickly and even starts panting.

When you take your dog out of a situation that scares him, his breathing returns to normal.

2. Heart disease:

Heart disease in dogs can cause fluid to build up in the lungs. As a result, the absorption of oxygen is lowered when breathing, the dog starts panting and breathing faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen.

3. Heatstroke:

Dogs can easily overheat and should always stay in the shade and drink a lot. Temperatures higher than 41°F can cause a dangerous heat stroke.

That’s why it’s dangerous to lock your dog in the car during summer. And no, it doesn’t matter if you left the window open.

4. Larynx paralysis:

In the case of laryngeal paralysis in dogs, breathing becomes more difficult because the air cannot flow properly. This leads to faster breathing, up to loud panting.

5. Pain:

If your dog is in pain, then it might start breathing heavily. For example, if your dog ate his food too quickly, then they might get stomach pain, and they will begin to pant.

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.