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Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavy?
Panting in dogs is normal but occasionally it can be a sign of something more serious. Learn what causes heavy breathing in dogs and when to be concerned about it.
Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavy?
Heavy breathing in dogs and puppies is characterized by rapid, laboured, or struggled breaths. Although this is a normal response if your dog has been playing or is trying to cool down, there are some situations where it can be concerning.
Fast and heavy breathing may be a sign of another serious health issue, or if severe enough, can be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen to their tissues and organs.
What Causes Heavy Breathing In Dogs?
Since dogs can’t sweat, panting helps keep them cool after exercise or when they are in a hot environment. Certain dog breeds like french bulldogs and pugs may breathe heavier due to their shorter snouts.
However, there are certain conditions and illnesses that can cause heavy breathing in dogs, such as:
Respiratory conditions, including chronic bronchitis
Fluid in lungs or lung cavity
Heart failure Cushing’s syndrome Heatstroke
Poisoning from consuming a toxic substance1
Side effects of medications
Heavy Breathing Vs. Normal Breathing In Dogs
In healthy dogs, normal breathing shouldn’t be laboured. A normal rate of breathing for dogs is between 10 and 35 breaths per minute, and the average dog takes about 24 breaths per minute at rest.3 If your dog displays consistently heavy breathing at rest, it may be indicative of a serious health issue.
Heavy Breathing In Puppies
In general, puppies have higher respiratory rates and heart rates compared to adult dogs. A normal breathing rate for a puppy is between 15-40 breaths per minute.4
Puppies tend to breathe more rapidly when sleeping which is likely a response to what they are dreaming about. This usually happens in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the sleep cycle, and may be accompanied by whimpers or leg movements—all of which are completely normal.5
Younger dogs are at a higher risk of developing infections and disease that affect the respiratory tract, so if you suspect your puppy’s breathing is outside of the norm, take them to the vet as soon as possible.6
When To Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Heavy Breathing
It’s normal for dogs to pant or breathe heavily after exercising (walking or running), playing, or if they are in a hot environment where they need to cool down. In most cases, it is no cause for alarm.
However, you should be concerned about your dog’s breathing if:1. Your dog is breathing heavy at rest
If your dog is breathing heavy at rest, it can be a red flag for a number of serious health issues. Keep an eye on your dog’s breathing, and if the problem seems persistent, take them to the vet.2. Your dog is displaying pale or blue gums while breathing heavy
If your dog’s gums are pale or turning blue, seek medical attention right away. This is a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough oxygen and can be a life-threatening situation.3. Your dog is panting with a closed or partially open mouth
While panting is normal in dogs, if your dog is breathing heavily with a closed mouth or just a partially open mouth, it can be a sign of something more serious and should receive medical attention.74. Your dog is coughing and breathing heavy
If your dog is coughing and breathing heavy, it may be a sign of chronic bronchitis or another serious respiratory issue.5. Your dog appears to be in distress
A dog in distress may be restless, have little to no appetite, and try to hide. Your dog may show other signs of stress such as tucking the tail between the legs and ears that are pinned back rather than being relaxed.8
If your dog is breathing heavy in addition to showing signs of distress, take them to the vet as soon as possible.6. Your dog is making other noises while breathing heavy
If your dog is having difficulty breathing, they may also make other noises such as snorting, wheezing, or retching. These are common symptoms associated with other respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis.
Treatment For Heavy Breathing In Dogs
Treatment for heavy breathing in dogs will vary depending on the underlying cause. Listen to your vet’s advice and administer treatment to your dog as instructed.
For dogs with respiratory problems, they may require special medications like corticosteroids and/or bronchodilators to help them breathe easier and manage their symptoms. Your dog may need oxygen therapy to stabilize their condition and ensure they are getting enough oxygen to their organs.
The AeroDawg* Chamber is specially designed to administer aerosol bronchodilators or corticosteroids for dogs with chronic bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, collapsed trachea, or other respiratory conditions.
Pay Attention To Your Dog’s Breathing
Although it’s completely normal for dogs to pant and breathe heavily from time to time, it can be a sign of a serious (and even life-threatening) issue. Pay attention to your dog’s breathing and look for other signs that may indicate a more serious issue.
Why is my dog breathing fast in sleep?
Sometimes you will notice your dog sleeping but they are breathing at a rapid rate, this can be worrisome to see! Check out this article and we will help you discover why your dog is breathing fast in their sleep.
WHY IS MY DOG BREATHING FAST IN SLEEP?
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September 03, 2019 5 min read
Is there anything quite as peaceful as watching your pup napping? If you’re lucky, you may even catch them behaving adorably while dreaming! It’s a sweet type of moment that a dog’s human companion can enjoy, but sometimes you might see something more worrying. Fast breathing during rest can happen with your furry friend, and it’s something to keep a sharp eye on. It could be just a dream about a high-speed squirrel pursuit, perhaps accompanied by hilarious leg movements as they try to run in their sleep, but sometimes it’s more than that. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the reason for their rapid breathing without asking your veterinarian, there are a few potential reasons you can keep an eye on.
WHY IS MY DOG BREATHING SO FAST?
While a quick rate of breath can be worrying it should not be a reason for instant panic. For one thing, puppies breath much faster in their sleep than adult dogs do. “Why is that?” you might ask. Interestingly enough, puppies will dream much more often and more vividly than an adult dog might.
Dogs, like humans, dream during the REM phase of their sleep cycle. REM stands for “rapid eye movement,” and is noted by the aforementioned eye movements being visible beneath the closed eyelids. The REM phase is unique to mammals, like your precious pupper, and comes with a high amount of brain activity. During this period, a dog will need more energy. They’ll start breathing faster to take in an excess amount of oxygen, which can then be transferred from the lungs to the bloodstream and converted to energy. A puppy’s REM cycle will be much more active than that of a fully grown pup.
Adult dogs, however, do not tend to breathe as rapidly in their sleep. While a brief period of quick breathing is acceptable, prolonged periods are a bad sign. Consult with your veterinarian if you notice this kind of behavior in an adult dog.
There are other factors to consider as well. Remember, a warm environment can also cause rapid breathing in your pup as it tries to cool its body down during a snooze. Keeping an eye on your thermostat will help your dog stay more comfortable! Also, a dog’s activity levels always affect its breathing. A brief nap after a spirited round of fetch or a walk through the park will leave your furry friend breathing a little harder for a bit. It will calm down as they rest, but don’t be surprised if the start of their nap comes with more rapid breaths after playtime. While these are perfectly natural reasons for rapid breathing, there are other factors to worry about.
As dogs don’t sweat in the traditional sense, they’re forced to rely on cooling mechanisms like panting to cool their bodies down. If your dog has spent an excessive amount of time in the heat they might be at risk for heatstroke.
A bloodstream condition, Anemia occurs when your pup’s immune system decides to attack its red blood cells. These cells circulate oxygen in the bloodstream, so when they’re running low due to this issue a dog can breathe more rapidly to compensate.
Onions and garlic are terrible for a dog’s tummy and can lead to rapid rates of breathing. Note that this will often be combined with diarrhea, vomiting, and excess salivation.
If your dog’s heart is slowing down, rapid breathing might be a sign that they’re attempting to circulate more oxygen in the bloodstream than their heart is currently capable of keeping up with. Regular checkups with your vet will help you monitor this.
FLUID IN THE LUNGS:
While most mammals, great and small, have a minuscule amount of fluid in their lungs, an excess amount can cause pain and make it hard to breathe. Check the dog’s gums to see if they are blue, it may be a sign that they’re having trouble breathing. Low body temperature can also be an indicator.
HOW FAST IS NORMAL?
And just how fast would your dog’s breathing have to get for it to be considered rapid? There’s a variation between puppies and adults, and it can also vary due to other factors like temperature and exercise.
According to the Animal Emergency Center, a puppy will breathe at a higher rate and clock in at between 15 to 40 breaths per minute. An adult dog, however, will have a lower rate between 10 to 30 breaths per minute. To see if your pupper is breathing rapidly, time it, and see how many they take in 60 seconds. This will help you determine if you should be worried.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DOG IS BREATHING FAST WHILE RESTING?
If your pup is breathing fast while napping, it might be a good idea to check other factors. For instance, stomach issues combined with rapid breathing can indicate poisoning while discoloration of the gums or unusual body temperature can indicate problems like heart failure or fluid in the lungs.
Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping? What To Know
Here's what to do if your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping.
Is your puppy breathing fast while sleeping? When you should worry
By BethAnn Mayer February 9, 2022
It’s hard not to love watching your puppy sleep. In fact, they might somehow manage to get cuter as they catch some Z’s. They look so content and peaceful. It can be even sweeter if they sleep while snuggling you. Though experts often recommend letting your pup sleep in their own space, like a crate, it’s ultimately up to you.
What is a healthy breathing rate?
What does it mean if my puppy’s breathing rate is too high?
Regardless of where and when your puppy is sleeping, you want them to be comfortable and safe. If you notice your puppy breathing fast while sleeping, you may get worried. Should you be? It depends. Here’s what experts want you to know about labored breathing during sleep and when to get a vet on the line.
What is a healthy breathing rate?
Generally, a puppy’s breathing rate while resting should be between 10 and 35 breaths per minute. However, vets say some dogs have lower thresholds. It’s important to consult with your vet about what breathing rate is healthiest for your specific pup.
It’s actually best to evaluate your pet’s breathing rate while they are sleeping, as exercise and play typically elevate it. To calculate your pet’s sleeping breathing rate:
Set a timer for 30 seconds.
Watch as your pet’s chest rises and falls. That’s a sign they are inhaling and exhaling.
Count the breaths. One breath equals one rise and fall of your puppy’s chest.
Repeat for 30 seconds.
Multiply the number of breaths by two. That’s your pet’s breathing rate.
If multiplication isn’t your jam, set the timer for 60 seconds and count the number of breaths for a full minute.
What does it mean if my puppy’s breathing rate is too high?
Several factors can trigger fast breathing during sleep. Your vet is your best resource when it comes to figuring out why your puppy’s breathing rate is elevated, but these are some common causes.
Best-case scenario: Your pup is still cooling down from a rousing play session or exercise. Since dogs don’t sweat, they need to breathe rapidly to cool down and regulate their body temperature. If you took your puppy out for a game of fetch or went on a power walk together, they may still be breathing heavily as they nap it off.
Again, dogs “sweat” by breathing quickly. If it’s a hot day or you have the heat on high, your pup may breathe quickly while napping. You don’t want your puppy to overheat, though. Heatstroke is dangerous for dogs, just like for humans. Turn down the heat or move your puppy to a cooler space, preferably inside, on a hot day. Make sure they have plenty of water.
If your puppy got into something they should not have, like garlic or onions, they might breathe heavily. You’ll want to call poison control or your vet ASAP if you know your dog has eaten toxic food, as food poisoning can be fatal.
The trachea is a dog’s windpipe. If it collapses or has too much pressure, your puppy may start breathing more heavily. A tracheal collapse can make it harder for air to make its way into your pup’s lungs. Other symptoms of this issue include a dry cough. This problem typically occurs in older dogs, but puppies can have issues too. Certain breeds, like chihuahuas, are more susceptible to tracheal collapses.
Heavy breathing can be a sign of heart disease. If your dog is diagnosed with ticker trouble, the vet may have you monitor their resting breathing rate more often.
Naturally, it’s concerning to notice your puppy breathing quickly while sleeping. First, you’ll want to determine if they are actually breathing quickly by calculating their breaths per minute. Simply count each breath, which is considered one inhale and exhale, for 30 or 60 seconds. If counting for 30 seconds, multiply the number of breaths by two. Generally, anything over 30 to 35 breaths per minute is cause for concern. Puppies may breathe rapidly when sleeping if they have recently played or exercised, or if they are too hot. Fast breathing during rest periods can also be a sign of something more serious, such as food poisoning or heart disease. Make sure to keep your dog out of the heat and ensure they always have plenty of water. Call your vet if you notice fast breathing while sleeping. They can advise you on the next steps and evaluate your pup to determine if treatment is necessary.
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