Reasons Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast

Is it normal for puppies to breathe so fast? New pet owners might panic at the thought that something might be wrong. Although puppies breathe more rapidly than adults, it might still drive pet parents to wonder, why is my puppy breathing so fast?

Puppies can be very hyperactive. They love to explore and play; thus, they soon get tired from all their activities. It is not surprising to see healthy puppies pant and breathe rapidly at some point.

Also, puppies breathe faster than adult dogs. They are still growing, and their system is adapting to their rapid growth. However, although fast breathing is normal for puppies, it can also point to a hazardous situation.

Read on to find out more about the reasons why puppies breathe fast and when you should worry!

Normal Breathing Rate in Puppies

Puppies have a faster respiratory rate compared to adult dogs. But you should still know the standard range to understand what is normal for puppies.

An adult dog at rest has a breathing rate of 10 to 30 breaths per minute. On the other hand, puppies at rest can have up to 40 breaths per minute.

The normal range may change depending on the activity of the puppy. If you recently played fetch, the breathing range can increase to 50 per minute. You may also see them panting, but the rate returns to normal within 15 minutes.

What is As Considered Rapid Breathing in Puppies?

Rapid breathing on puppies

Breathing rate is a vital sign that pet owners should monitor in their puppies. It is as crucial as keeping track of your dog’s heart rate and temperature. The average resting rate for puppies is between 20-30 breathes per minute.

When your puppy is breathing more rapidly than average, it may indicate changes in their feelings or activity. Likewise, it may also point to some severe health conditions.

You can observe your puppy’s breathing range with the help of a stopwatch. You can describe it as rapid, moderate, or slow based on the following parameters.

  • Rate (number of breaths/minute)
  • Depth (inhales and exhales)
  • Quality (fast and shallow breathes versus long deep breathes)

Reasons Why Puppies Breathe Fast

There are various reasons why dogs breathe fast. Some of them are normal, while others point to some medical issues. Find out whether you have nothing to worry about or when you should worry about your puppy!

1. Excessive exercise and play

One common reason why puppies breathe fast and pant is that they have had too much playtime. At this age, puppies are always eager to explore, exercise and play.

When your puppy starts panting, its body’s temperature cools faster. It brings in more oxygen and moisture to their lungs. It would be best not to worry about it because it is normal for puppies to pant after playing.

On the other hand, you should be cautious when younger puppies are panting too much. It can affect their tiny hearts and lungs. Strenuous play increases the heart rate in puppies and causes the release of adrenaline. You may notice strong, rapid, and shallow breaths to increase oxygen in the body. It would be best to avoid strenuous exercise or play with your puppy as it may lead them to overheat.

2. Stress and Fear

Stress is common in dogs, and it affects a lot of puppies. It could be one of the main causes of panting and rapid breathing in your little pet. Dogs who are stressed or scared will breathe more rapidly to cool their body’s temperature.

If your puppy is trembling, avoiding eye contact, and hiding, it may be terrified. Gently woo your pet and make it comfortable. Younger puppies may still seek the comfort and security of their littermates. Offer treats or toys to quiet their fears. Having something to play with will also reduce the stress that they feel. The best you can do now is reassure your puppy that you will take care of it and keep it safe.

3. Heatstroke

Puppies may also start breathing fast when they are exposed to hot weather. Puppies are prone to heatstroke; thus, pay attention to them during hot days.

Dogs rely on panting to keep cool because they have few sweat glands. Young puppies are at a greater risk of overheating because they cannot regulate their temperature like adult dogs. More so, some breeds may find it even more challenging to pant because of the shape of their muzzles.

Heatstroke can happen due to excessive exercise, low water intake, and exposure to hot temperatures. Puppies may also experience this when they are stressed, overweight, or have a fever. Very high body temperature in puppies can lead to brain damage and death.

As soon as you notice your puppy panting due to high temperature, immediately take them to a cool place. You may give them a cold bath or keep them in an airconditioned spot.

4. Sleeping and Resting

Puppies look adorable when they are asleep. But, when they start breathing rapidly, it can look scary. Some puppies would even twitch, whine, and wiggle while they were sleeping. Most of the time, it seems funny. However, you may also worry when you hear them pant and cry out.

Thankfully, there is nothing to worry about these noises that puppies make when sleeping. It is common for puppies to breathe faster while they are asleep. Rapid breathing and all the other bodily motions that puppies do when they sleep are typical.

Your puppies may paddle, wriggle, and vocalize in their nap time because they are dreaming. Their bodies are, and systems inside are also working fast for their growth. Consider it to be similar to babies that hiccups while sleeping. Your puppy’s little body is at work, and you have nothing to worry about.

So, enjoy the cuteness of your pets while they are young and peaceful in their naptime. Allow your pet to enjoy more sleep; they need it to grow big, healthy, and strong.

5. Allergic Reactions

Dogs are also prone to various types of allergies. It can give them itchy skin, upset stomach, and cause them pain. If your puppy breathes rapidly in specific spots in your house, there might be irritants in the area. Your puppy may inhale fumes, smoke, or other types of toxins.

Ideally, you should avoid exposing your pet to external and toxic elements. Check the food you give them to ensure that it is free from allergens too. You should call your veterinarian for other signs of allergy in your pet.

Medical Conditions

Several medical issues may also be a reason why your puppy is breathing more rapidly than usual. Here are some conditions to monitor:


Rapid breathing is a symptom of anemia in puppies. However, it can be hard to distinguish if it is a symptom or not. If you have ruled out exhaustion or excitement, check your puppy for other signs of illness.

Puppies with anemia will pant and show pale gums. So, if you worry about your puppy’s breathing, check for the redness in their gum line. Pale coat, weakness, and lethargy are other symptoms of anemia.

Heart Problems

Heart conditions are often hereditary. Some pet parents will not see any signs of illness in their healthy puppies. If you rule out all other reasons for your puppy’s rapid breathing, have them checked for heart issues.

Some dogs with heart conditions may tire quickly or breathe very hard during exercise. Look out for other symptoms such as coughing, fainting, or heart palpitations. Many heart problems in puppies can be treated when diagnosed while they young.


Fever in puppies can also cause rapid breathing. You can check if your puppy has a fever using a thermometer. It is not easy to gauge the hotness of your dog by holding them. Your puppy may also look dizzy, weak, and refuse to eat when they have a fever.

Some causes of fever in dogs are low blood sugar, ticks, fleas, or exhaustion. It may also be a reaction to recent vaccination. It is best to call your vet for this matter.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Another common reason for rapid breathing in puppies is upper respiratory infections. One of the most well-known causes is Parvovirus. It infects puppies through sneezing and coughing.

It would be best to keep your puppies indoors until they develop a more robust immune system. Ideally, your puppy should have complete vaccines before you take them out for their first walk.


Dyspnea is a lung condition that can cause rapid breathing in puppies. It is due to an inflammation of the lungs or fluid building up in the air sacs. Your puppy may seem restless and have trouble breathing when sitting upright or lying down. You will also notice wheezing noises when they breathe.

A puppy with dyspnea is more likely to have other symptoms, like coughing and shallow breathing. They may also be lethargic or not feel well at all. Take your pup to the vet immediately if you think he has waste buildup in his lungs.

Cures and Solutions for Your Puppy’s Rapid Breathing

In most cases, puppy panting and rapid breathing are normal. But if it is due to some medical condition, your veterinarian may provide medication to cure or manage the disease. On the other hand, here are some tips on how to handle your puppy’s fast breathing.

Get Your Pup Out of the Sun

To slow down your puppy’s breathing, take them out of the hot area as soon as you can. You may also use a cold compress or wet towel on your dog’s belly. Likewise, it will lower body temperature quickly and stop puppies from breathing rapidly.

Use Positive Reinforcement Training

Puppies that are stressed or anxious may pant a lot. You can help your pet become more comfortable by positive reinforcement training. You can spend time teaching them commands such as stay and sit. Give them plenty of treats, pets, and praises to make them happy.

Give Time for Rest and Quiet

Most puppies will not stop rough-housing until you stop them. Sometimes they become overtired, and they start panting. Take charge of the situation by taking them out of the activity and letting them rest. You may place your pet in a comfortable spot for a nap until they recover.

FAQs About Why Does My Dog Breathes So Fast

Q: Do puppies breathe fast while sleeping?

A: It is entirely normal for puppies to breathe fast when they are asleep. They are probably dreaming exciting things. It will resolve as they get older and bigger.

Q: When should I worry about my dog’s panting?

A: If the panting starts suddenly and your think your pet is in pain, call your vet immediately. You should start worrying if the panting is intense and constant.


A puppy that’s breathing so fast and heavy can sometimes cause panic to dog owners. However, it is a common situation for younger dogs. They breathe fast because they are often tired and have too much activity for the day. Your pet also breathes fast when asleep because they might be dreaming.

Most dogs resolve this issue as they grow older. There are also various ways to make your pet comfortable and breathe easier. If they are exposed to hot weather, cool them down immediately.

As long as your puppy is active, it would be best not to worry about why my puppy is breathing so fast. In many cases, puppies that breathe rapidly have no problems at all. However, if you are experiencing other worries about your pet’s condition, such as lethargy, weakness, or loss of appetite, then it’s time to see a vet.


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