Sometimes I breathe fast when I’ve just been outside playing in the sun. This tends to make my owner very worried when they notice excessive panting, but a puppy breathing fast is usually just a way for them to cool off. If it occurs in certain circumstances and conditions, then it could potentially be something worse, such as a breathing problem.
Puppy Breathing Fast
For me personally, I don’t think my fast breathing is a sign of concern. However, I know that in some dogs, there are some red flags that should be raised. To figure out why a puppy might be breathing fast, the owner has to keep a careful watch on them. Was the puppy just outside playing for an hour in the heat? Is the puppy sound asleep and still breathing fast?
If you observe your puppy breathing very quickly without an explanation, then you might want to look into it a little further. In most cases where a puppy is breathing fast, you usually have nothing to get anxious about. Humans sweat when their body temperature gets hot, while puppies use panting as a way to cool down.
Puppies Breathe Faster While Asleep
When I’m sound asleep, my breathing might increase and you might think something is wrong with me. Just like humans, I tend to have dreams sometimes, too, and these dreams might be exciting ones that might cause my breathing to accelerate.
Sometimes you might even see my body shaking around while I’m sound asleep. Other times, you might hear my whimper while breathing fast. This isn’t something to be concerned about, and many other puppies will go through this at some point in their lives.
Most humans aren’t aware that we can dream just like they can, and our bodies will move around just like yours while you’re sleeping. There isn’t anything you should do if you see my breathing get faster while I’m sleeping. It’s best to just leave me be and get my much-needed rest.
Rapid Breathing from Stress
Another reason why my breathing might start getting faster is if I’m getting stressed out. When people bring new puppies into their homes, they are separating them from their mother and their siblings. This causes attachment anxiety, and entering a new situation is always bound to bring stress.
Being a puppy myself, I can tell you that this takes a while to get accustomed to. If you pick up a puppy and you see it breathing rapidly the first few days or weeks that you receive it, then you’ll just have to keep it as comfortable as possible.
There isn’t really anything you can do to make the stress and the rapid breathing go away any faster. Keep the puppy in a calm environment, cater to its needs, and spend time with it.
As a puppy begins to get more accustomed to the new environment, the fast breathing should start to taper off. At this point, you can start doing training with your dog and introducing it to new environments.
When Heavy Breathing Turns to Panting
Sometimes you might see that my heavy breathing becomes panting. As always, you’ll want to consider what I was just doing before the panting happened.
- Was I outside playing?
- Is it extremely hot outside?
- Was I in a new environment that I’m not used to?
- Was I exposed to new dogs?
- Was I just in the vehicle?
These are all things that can make me pant more than usual, and you’ll want to be aware of them so you don’t get anxious about something being seriously wrong. If it’s an extremely hot day out and I was outside playing, I’ll pant because my body temperature is at a high rate.
What can be done about panting? You can bring me into a cool environment and supply a fresh supply of cold water. This will lower my body temperature back to a normal level.
If I have a bunch of other symptoms along with my panting, you should take me to the vet. Some symptoms are:
- Not wanting to eat
- Lethargic symptoms
Puppy Breathing Fast – Medical Causes
In most cases, my rapid breathing shouldn’t make you a nervous wreck, but there are occasions where it could be due to medical issues. Some medical issues have rapid breathing as a primary symptom, and in those cases, I’ll need to get checked out by the vet.
Accelerated breathing in dogs is also called polypnea or tachypnea, and there are some lung conditions that can cause it. Many of the conditions aren’t too serious, like asthma or a cough, but some are very serious, like bleeding in the lungs or pulmonary edema.
A lot of the issues that are related to the lungs will come with frequent coughing fits. If you ever see me laying down and start coughing, then that is cause for concern.
Heart and Lung Issues
Fast breathing might also be a sign that something isn’t right with my lungs or heart. Medical issues such as tumors, anemia, and a poor flow of oxygen in my blood can cause rapid breathing. When considering causes that might have led to my heavy breathing, you’ll want to exclude the more common reasons, such as heat exposure and exercise.
The best thing that can be done is to take me to the vet and get me checked over if you suspect something serious is going on.
Swollen Abdomen and Faster Breathing
When you see me breathing rapidly, you might start to get a little anxious and wonder why my stomach looks like it’s full or swollen. This might look like something serious is happening, but that doesn’t always mean there is.
Many puppies will get a swollen stomach for something unrelated to heavy breathing. Sometimes I might eat a meal too fast, which means that I’ve gotten too much oxygen in my stomach and it’s making it look fuller.
In this case, you won’t have to worry too much about it. If my belly looks swollen for a long period of time, I might have puppy worms. This is a common condition that many puppies get, and one symptom of it is accelerated breathing. All you have to do is take me to the vet to get deworming treatment.
If my stomach is still swollen after other options have been ruled out, see if I’m experiencing other symptoms like always being lethargic and not eating much. This might mean that there is something else going on.
Heart failure could be another factor that causes heavy breathing in dogs. This usually happens to older dogs, and the heavy breathing happens because they are trying to get more oxygen through to the bloodstream than the heart can keep up with. You’ll want to make a quick visit to the vet if you see this.
Some of the other medical causes of accelerated breathing in dogs are:
- Lung diseases
- Kennel cough
- Laryngeal paralysis
- Windpipe issues
- Bacterial respiratory infection
- Pressure on the windpipe
- Fungal respiratory infection
- Stiffening of airways
- Smoke inhalation
- Breed characteristics
- Compressed lungs
- Heat stroke
- Collapsing windpipe
If you think I have any of the above medical conditions, you should take me to the vet to get evaluated. My heavy breathing alone might not lead you to think I have anything wrong with me, but if I have these additional symptoms, something might be wrong:
- Pale, blueish, or brick red gums
- Not wanting to eat food or drink water
- Resting with an open mouth
- Accelerated breathing that is louder than usual
Puppy Breathing Fast – How to Be Prepared
If you’re worried about my heavy breathing, one of the best things you can do is figure out a baseline for how many breaths I’m taking every minute while I’m lying still. You’ll want to do this before or well after I’ve done any exercise for the most accurate readings.
All you have to do is wait until I’m lying down somewhere, and then count how many breaths I’ve taken in a 30-second period. Multiply that number by two and you’ll get your baseline for how many breaths I take per minute while at rest.
The average dog takes anywhere between 15-35 breaths every single minute. If my baseline breaths per minute number are at 26 and you start noticing that I’m taking 50 breaths per minute, then that could be a cause for concern.
Just because I’m panting, it doesn’t always mean there is instantly something wrong with me. You’ll eventually see that my breathing will increase in pace in many different situations. Even just taking me on a trip in the car will increase my breathing because it’s exciting.
Breeds of Puppies That Experience Breathing Difficulties
Certain breeds of dogs that have shortened snouts will run into breathing problems at some point, and you’ll always want to be fully aware of this. I’ve seen my friend down the road who is a Boston terrier deal with its fair share of breathing difficulties; I’m just glad I don’t have a squished snout.
What Does the Vet Do for Heavy Breathing?
If you bring me to the vet for heavy breathing, they will most likely do a full evaluation of my symptoms. They will check:
- My heart
- My circulatory system
- My lungs
- My airway
- My neck
- My head
Because there are so many things in my body that can cause heavy breathing, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the root cause. The vet might also look into my entire medical history to see if I’ve had any other issues in the past. They might conduct X-rays on my heart, my lungs, and my stomach to see if I have any tumors in those areas.
In addition, the vet will keep a careful watch on me to see if I have visible signs of anxiety.
What Else Will the Vet Do to Treat Fast Breathing in Dogs?
The best course of action for the vet to take when treating accelerated breathing in dogs is to address the underlying causes of it. The vet might provide me with medication to help with pain, intravenous fluids, and other medical treatments, depending on the root cause.
Sometimes veterinarians might even suggest that I take dog training to deal with anxiety.
Puppy Breathing Fast and Abnormally
Puppies are usually more prone to getting respiratory infections in comparison to older dogs. As a result of the infections, this could cause increased breathing if it isn’t treated right away.
I shouldn’t be breathing heavily while I’m sitting still. If you see me physically struggling to breathe and notice my stomach sinking in when I’m breathing, these can be red flags.
As my owner, you might also want to listen to my breathing and see if it sounds wheezy. If I do sound wheezy, I might need to go for X-rays to see what might be causing that. There could be the possibility that I have pneumonia, and that needs to be treated with antibiotics in most cases. Sometimes oxygen therapy and nebulization treatments are also required.
If the vet takes an X-ray of my heart and notices something out of the ordinary, an ultrasound may need to be conducted.
Just because I’m breathing fast, it doesn’t always mean that something is wrong with me. I know it’s normal to be concerned with my well-being, but it’s best to consider all of the other factors before narrowing it down to a serious illness.
Keep a baseline record of my breathing rate per minute, and then compare that to my current breathing rate per minute before you start to panic.