If you are a new puppy owner you might notice your pup breathe pretty rapidly and wonder: Is it normal for puppies to breathe fast? The answer is — yes! It’s pretty common for puppies to breathe faster than adult dogs. Just like babies breathe faster than humans.
However, sometimes puppy owners won’t notice that the heavy breathing is actually due to an underlying medical condition. That’s why it’s so important to learn when the fast breathing is something completely benign, and when it should be a reason to visit the vet. The main indicator will be the presence of other symptoms.
Is it normal for puppies to breathe fast?
In most cases the rapid breathing in puppies is absolutely nothing to worry about. The metabolism of young dogs is faster than the one in adult canines and puppies need those extra breaths to fulfill the oxidation needs of their bodies.
Normally, puppies will have up to 34 respirations per minute. That means that they will inhale and exhale 34 times each minute. That basically means that they are taking breaths at a faster rate than every two seconds. Which basically confirms that puppies really do breath fast even when everything is perfectly fine.
If you want to count your dog’s breathing rate, always make sure that he is awake but calm and relaxed. The dog shouldn’t be panting and his mouth should be closed.
Count the breaths by monitoring your dogs chest. His chest is rising during the inhale and falling while he exhales. One breath is one inhalation plus one exhalation. Count them for 60 seconds to get accurate results. You can also count them for 30 seconds and multiply your results with two.
My puppy is breathing fast in his sleep. Is that normal too?
Puppies breathing fast while sleeping could be the result of them dreaming about something they are either excited or scared about. If you ever see your puppy like that and feel tempted to wake him up — please don’t. It could scare him even further. He will be completely fine in just a few minutes when the dream is over.
My puppy is breathing fast while exercising. Is that okay?
This is absolutely common and normal. Dogs don’t sweat and their body cools down by panting. They will usually open their mouth and stick out their tongues as a way to lower down their temperature.
When does the rapid breathing become a problem?
In some cases the fast breathing can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. There are certain diseases that could trigger puppies to breathe faster than usual.
Here are the most common ones.
While heart failure is most commonly known for affecting senior dogs, it can also affect puppies.
Dogs will show the same symptoms as humans with heart failure do. That means rapid breathing, breathing difficulties, coughing, and less tolerance to exercise.
Different respiratory diseases and disorders can trigger rapid breathing in puppies.
The most common ones are: Tumors, cancer, pneumonia, laryngeal paralysis. All of these conditions will require professional veterinary treatment.
Cushing’s syndrome happens due to the imbalance of thyroid hormones. It causes heavy panting, rapid breathing, hair loss, excessive hunger and thirst.
General pain can also cause heavy and rapid breathing in dogs. Monitor your dog’s behavior to see if anything hints at pain. Signs include restlessness, enlarged pupils, lethargy, lack of appetite.
Rapid breathing can also be a side effect of different medications. If your dog recently started using some new drugs, contact your vet and tell them about the rapid breathing.
This is a very common cause of fast breathing, especially in the summer. Heatstroke is a serious medical emergency and you will have to act fast in order for your puppy to not suffer from any consequences. Other symptoms of a heatstroke include excessive drooling, vomiting, seizures, weakness and diarrhea.
What to do?
If you are unsure what is causing the rapid breathing in your puppy, keep an eye on him and see if he will show any other symptoms.
Fast breathing can often just be a secondary symptom to some other medical condition. So make sure to contact your vet if you notice anything out of the order.
Unfortunately, dog’s are prone to other health conditions as well. Inform and educate yourself to know how to help your canine: