Puppy Breathing Fast: What You Need To Do About It

Understanding the difference between harmless fast breathing and signs of potential illness is key to keeping your pup happy and healthy.

This article explores normal dog grasping patterns, outlines warning signs of a puppy breathing fast while sleeping, and provides tips for monitoring your pet’s respiratory rate.

Normal Puppy Breathing Patterns

The average respiratory rate for a puppy at rest is 15 to 40 breaths per minute. During playtime or exertion, that rate can easily double as your dog’s activity level increases.

Panting is also usual and helps regulate your puppy’s body temperature on hot days or after time spent playing outdoors. Other normal causes of temporary faster breathing include excitement, anxiety, or dreaming during sleep. 

Your puppy can make little whimpering sounds, and their chest may rise and fall more noticeably when they are very deeply asleep, including when the puppy is breathing fast while sleeping.

All of these fluctuations in your pet’s gasping rate frequently align with their levels of activity or stimulation. A bounding play session will be followed by faster breaths that gradually slow down when your puppy gets tired and takes a nap.

Some extra rapid breaths during a vivid dream are also nothing to worry about as long as their respiration eventually returns to a regular resting rate.

Potential Red Flags

While activity-related changes are normal, certain respiratory symptoms or patterns should prompt you to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for an appointment.

Watch for these warning signs of potential trouble:

Concerning Respiratory Symptoms

Labored breathing patterns involving flared nostrils, abdominal effort, or bluish tinges around the gums often signal respiratory distress.

Likewise, audible wheezing, hacking coughs, and signs of general weakness or distress like whimpering, deficient energy, loss of appetite, or collapse all warrant immediate medical attention. Difficulty breathing is an urgent situation.

Worrisome Breathing Patterns

Fast breathing continuing longer than expected after the triggering activity or situation stops is problematic.

For example, your puppy’s respiration rate should gradually decrease and return to their normal baseline within a reasonable timeframe after an active romp outdoors. If they seem unable to settle down and continue panting rapidly after playtime, note this alarming pattern.

A sudden onset of rapid breathing without any clear explanation is another warning sign. For instance, if your puppy is sitting calmly and then begins to breathe hard very quickly, something internally is amiss to spur that spike. Sustained changes not linked to proportional external triggers indicate illness brewing.

Situational context provides important clues as to normalcy, so observe how long respiratory symptoms and patterns persist relative to activity level and environment. Call your vet promptly if breathing struggles seem disproportionately straining or lasting beyond reasonable expectations.

Monitoring Tips

Closely monitoring your puppy’s respiratory patterns at rest and during various activities provides crucial data.

Count their gasping rate by watching the chest rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation.

Establish a written baseline respiratory log documenting their normal patterns, tracking rates at rest, during exercise, sleeping, etc. Review this data with your veterinarian at visits when possible.

A puppy up close with brown eyes and brown, black and white fur

Consult your veterinarian promptly about any breathing abnormalities that seem strained, rapid, persistent, or problematic. Always trust your judgment – you know your puppy best.

Support Your Pup’s Respiratory Health

Beyond monitoring warning signs, you can also be proactive in other ways:

  • Follow your veterinarian’s advice about vaccine schedules, parasite prevention medications, and wellness exam timelines. Building strong baseline health from an early age helps resilience against respiratory illnesses.
  • Avoid exposing your puppy to airway irritants like smoke, strong fragrances, or environmental pollution. Protect those developing lungs!
  • Use a walking harness instead of attaching the leash to a collar, especially for brisk activity. This reduces strain on the trachea.
  • Monitor diet, weight goals, and appropriate levels of exercise tailored to your puppy’s age and breed size. Support healthy growth and fitness.

All of these factors will help you keep your pup healthy and avoid potential health issues.

Preparing for Potential Respiratory Health Costs

While no one wants to dwell on worst-case scenarios, puppy owners should know that breathing issues sometimes signal complex, chronic conditions requiring ongoing veterinary care.

Diagnosing and treating respiratory illness can quickly become costly, especially for severe cases. Having pet health insurance and financial planning for unexpected medical scenarios is crucial.

Pet insurance gives you peace of mind by covering a portion of any diagnostics tests, medications, special equipment, or therapies your dog might need. Costs add up rapidly from x-rays to identify an obstruction to prescription medications for inflammation to at-home nebulizers for asthma.

Insurance helps ease that financial burden so you can focus on your puppy’s care and recovery. Some policies cover wellness care, like vaccines and checkups, to keep your pet healthy.

Understand policy options and enroll as soon as possible since many have waiting periods. While hoping for the best case, preparing for the worst via insurance and saving provides essential support in times of puppy breathing troubles.

By recognizing early respiratory warning signs, understanding normal grasping patterns, logging baseline rates, and taking proactive care measures, you can keep your dog happy, healthy, and breathing easily through their boisterous puppyhood! Reach out to your trusted veterinarian if ever in doubt about changes.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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