How Fast Do Puppies Breathe?

How Fast Do Puppies Breathe?

If you're noticing that your little furball is breathing a bit too rapidly, you're not alone. Many pet owners find themselves puzzled and sometimes worried when they see their puppies breathing fast.

As a fellow dog lover, I'm here to guide you through understanding what's normal and what's not when it comes to puppy breathing.

What is The Normal Breathing Rate for a Puppy?

When you see your puppy breathing fast, it's natural to wonder if everything is okay. Let's put your mind at ease by understanding what's normal in the world of puppy breaths. Puppies, much like human babies, have different breathing patterns compared to adults. Their little bodies are still growing, and so is their respiratory system.

Typical Breathing Rates:

  • At Rest: A healthy puppy typically breathes about 15 to 40 times per minute when at rest. This rate can vary depending on the breed and size of your puppy.
  • During Sleep: It's common for puppies to breathe faster in their sleep. This is because their breathing is not as regulated as it is in adult dogs.
  • When Active: Expect a faster breathing rate when your puppy is playing or excited. This could go up to 200 breaths per minute, which is perfectly normal for a happy, active pup.

What is The Fast Breathing Rate for a Puppy?

It's important to distinguish between a puppy's normal fast breathing and a rate that might be cause for concern. Just like us, puppies can have moments of rapid breathing, especially during exciting playtimes or right after a good run. But how fast is too fast?

Identifying Fast Breathing:

  • Rapid Rate: If your puppy is breathing more than 40 breaths per minute while at rest, this could be considered fast breathing.
  • Signs to Watch For: Look out for heavy panting, noisy breathing, or breathing with a lot of effort. These could be signs that your pup is breathing too fast.
  • Context Matters: Remember, if your pup has just finished playing or is in a warm environment, some panting and fast breathing are normal. It's the sustained, unexplained fast breathing at rest that can be a red flag.

Fast breathing can be a normal part of puppyhood, but it can also be a sign of something more serious. If you're ever unsure, it's best to check with your vet. After all, we all want our furry friends to be as healthy and happy as possible, just like in those custom pet portraits that perfectly capture their joyful spirits.

How to Check Your Dog's Breathing Rate?

how to check puppy breathing rate

Knowing how to check your puppy's breathing rate is a valuable skill for any pet owner. It’s like learning the ins and outs of your pup's personality – each one is unique. Here's a simple way to measure your puppy's breathing rate to ensure they're within a healthy range:

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Find a Quiet Time: Choose a time when your puppy is relaxed and lying down, ideally after a nap and not following playtime or excitement.
  2. Position Yourself: Sit near your puppy, where you can easily observe their chest or sides.
  3. Count the Breaths: Watch the rise and fall of your puppy's chest. One breath includes the chest rising and falling once.
  4. Time It: Count how many breaths occur in 60 seconds. If it's challenging to count for a full minute, count for 30 seconds and multiply by two.

What are the Situations where Fast Breathing is OK?

Just like a playful wag of the tail or an excited bark, fast breathing can be a normal part of your puppy's behavior in certain situations. It's essential to know when this rapid breathing is just a sign of your puppy being a puppy, much like capturing their playful moments in a custom pet portrait. Let’s explore the scenarios where fast breathing is perfectly fine and not a cause for concern.

Typical Scenarios for Fast Breathing:

  1. After Exercise: Just like us after a good workout, puppies often breathe faster after physical activity. It helps them cool down and regulate their body temperature.
  2. During Playtime: Excitement can cause your puppy to breathe rapidly. It’s the equivalent of their laughter and joy during fun and games.
  3. In Warmer Weather: Hotter temperatures can lead to increased panting and faster breathing as puppies try to cool themselves down.
  4. While Dreaming: Puppies can breathe faster while sleeping, especially during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, when they’re likely dreaming about chasing squirrels or playing with their favorite toy.

Understanding the Norm:

  • Recognizing these normal situations can help you differentiate between healthy fast breathing and potential health concerns.
  • Observing your puppy in various situations gives you a better understanding of their normal behavior.

What to Do if Your Puppy is Breathing Fast

If you notice that your puppy is breathing fast, it's important to approach the situation calmly and methodically. Fast breathing can be normal in many situations, but it's always good to be sure that there's no underlying health issue. Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Observe the Context: Is your puppy breathing fast after playing or in a hot environment? If so, give them a chance to rest and cool down.
  2. Check for Other Symptoms: Look for signs like coughing, wheezing, lethargy, or any other unusual behavior.
  3. Comfort Your Puppy: Make sure your puppy is in a calm, cool environment. Offer them water and a comfortable place to relax.

If Fast Breathing Persists:

  • Monitor Their Breathing Rate: Follow the steps outlined in "How to Check Your Dog's Breathing Rate" to get an accurate count of their breaths per minute.
  • Note Any Changes: Keep track of any changes in their breathing pattern or overall behavior.


  • Stay calm; your puppy can sense your emotions. A calm demeanor can help soothe an anxious or stressed puppy.
  • It's better to err on the side of caution. If you're in doubt, a call to your veterinarian can provide guidance.

When to Contact Your Vet About Your Puppy Breathing Fast?

While it's normal for puppies to breathe fast in certain situations, there are times when this can be a sign of a more serious issue. You should be observant of your puppy's breathing patterns. Knowing when to contact your vet can be crucial in ensuring the health and well-being of your furry companion.

Signs to Watch Out For:

  1. Continuous Fast Breathing at Rest: If your puppy is breathing fast while at rest for an extended period, it could indicate a problem.
  2. Labored Breathing: Difficulty breathing, where your puppy seems to be struggling or using extra effort, is a red flag.
  3. Change in Breathing Sounds: Wheezing, raspy, or noisy breathing can signify respiratory issues.
  4. Blue or Pale Gums: This can indicate a lack of oxygen and is a medical emergency.
  5. Other Symptoms: If fast breathing is accompanied by coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, or any other unusual behavior, it's time to contact your vet.

Why Immediate Attention is Necessary:

  • Early detection of potential health issues can make a significant difference in treatment and recovery.
  • Your vet can provide a proper diagnosis and guide you on the best course of action.

    What are the Top Ten Common Medical Conditions That Can Cause Your Puppy to Breathe Fast?

    Rapid breathing in puppies can sometimes be a symptom of underlying medical conditions. It's important to be aware of these potential issues, so you can take appropriate action if you suspect something more serious is affecting your furry friend. Here are the top ten common medical conditions that can cause fast breathing in puppies:

    1. Respiratory Infections: Conditions like pneumonia or bronchitis can make breathing difficult for puppies.
    2. Heart Conditions: Congenital heart diseases or heartworm infestation can lead to increased breathing rates.
    3. Anemia: Low red blood cell count can cause fast breathing as the body tries to compensate for reduced oxygen levels.
    4. Fever or Infection: Any condition causing a fever can lead to increased breathing rates.
    5. Pain or Discomfort: Puppies may breathe faster if they're in pain, whether from an injury or conditions like arthritis.
    6. Heatstroke: Overheating in hot weather can cause rapid panting and breathing.
    7. Allergic Reactions: Allergies can affect the respiratory system, leading to faster breathing.
    8. Stress or Anxiety: Emotional distress can manifest as rapid breathing in puppies.
    9. Lung Problems: Issues like lung tumors, although rare in puppies, can cause breathing difficulties.
    10. Overexertion: Pushing your puppy too hard during play or exercise can lead to rapid breathing.


    • This list is not exhaustive, and fast breathing can be caused by other health issues as well.
    • If you notice consistent fast breathing or any other symptoms, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

    How Can I Calm Down the Breathing Rate of My Puppy?

    How to calm a puppy

    If you notice your puppy breathing fast and want to help them calm down, there are several steps you can take. Just as we soothe and comfort our pets in stressful situations, helping them regulate their breathing is another way we can show our care and affection. Here’s how you can help your puppy slow down their breathing rate:

    1. Create a Calm Environment: Reduce noise and activity around your puppy. A quiet, peaceful setting can help them relax.
    2. Ensure Comfortable Temperature: Make sure your puppy isn’t too hot. Overheating can cause fast breathing, so providing a cool, comfortable space is important.
    3. Offer Water: Dehydration can contribute to fast breathing, so ensure your puppy has access to fresh water.
    4. Gentle Massage or Petting: Soft, slow strokes along your puppy’s back or chest can be soothing and help slow their breathing.
    5. Speak Softly and Reassuringly: Your voice can be a powerful tool in calming your puppy. Speak in a gentle, soothing tone.
    6. Controlled Exercise: If your puppy is excited or has been playing vigorously, help them wind down with a calm walk or some quiet time.
    7. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Teaching your puppy to relax on command can be beneficial. Training sessions that focus on relaxation can help them learn to calm down when needed.
    8. Regular Routine: Maintaining a consistent routine can help reduce stress and anxiety in puppies, which in turn can help regulate their breathing.


    • If your puppy’s fast breathing is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or if it doesn’t improve with these calming techniques, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
    • Fast breathing due to medical reasons will require professional attention and cannot be resolved with calming techniques alone.

    How Can I Prevent My Puppy’s Fast Breathing in the Future?

    Preventing fast breathing in puppies often involves understanding and addressing the underlying causes. While it's normal for puppies to breathe rapidly at times, there are steps you can take to minimize the frequency and severity of these episodes. Here are some strategies to help keep your puppy's breathing rate healthy and regular:

    1. Regular Veterinary Check-Ups: Regular health check-ups can help catch and address any underlying medical conditions early.
    2. Proper Vaccinations: Keeping up with your puppy's vaccination schedule can prevent respiratory infections that might cause rapid breathing.
    3. Adequate Exercise: Regular, age-appropriate exercise helps maintain your puppy's overall health, reducing the likelihood of conditions that could cause fast breathing.
    4. Avoid Overheating: Be mindful of the temperature, especially during hot weather, to prevent heatstroke and overheating.
    5. Manage Stressful Situations: Try to minimize exposure to stressful environments and situations that can cause anxiety in your puppy.
    6. Maintain a Healthy Diet: A well-balanced diet supports overall health, including the respiratory system.
    7. Keep a Consistent Routine: Puppies thrive on routine, which can help reduce anxiety-related rapid breathing.
    8. Adequate Rest: Ensure your puppy gets enough rest. Overexertion and lack of sleep can contribute to fast breathing.


    • While these steps can help prevent many cases of fast breathing, it's important to remember that some causes may be beyond your control, such as congenital conditions.
    • Always consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice tailored to your puppy's specific health needs and circumstances.

    When Should I Trust My Instincts If My Puppy is Breathing Fast?

    Trusting your instincts as a pet parent is crucial, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of your puppy. If your puppy is breathing fast, there are times when your gut feeling may tell you that something is not quite right. Here's how to know when to trust those instincts:

    1. Persistent Fast Breathing: If your puppy's fast breathing doesn't slow down after resting or if it's consistently rapid, trust your instincts that something might be off.
    2. Behavioral Changes: You know your puppy better than anyone. If they're acting differently or seem distressed along with the fast breathing, it's a sign that something may be wrong.
    3. Physical Symptoms: Look for other signs like coughing, wheezing, blue or pale gums, or difficulty breathing. These are clear indicators that you should trust your instincts and seek veterinary care.
    4. No Obvious Cause: If there's no apparent reason for the fast breathing (like recent exercise or excitement), and it feels abnormal to you, it's time to trust your gut.
    5. Maternal/Paternal Instinct: Never underestimate your bond with your puppy. If something feels off, even if you can't pinpoint it, it's better to be cautious and consult your vet.


    • While it's important to be informed about the normal patterns and behaviors of puppies, your intuition as a pet owner is also a valuable tool.
    • If you ever feel uneasy or worried about your puppy’s health, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and contact your veterinarian.

    Some FAQs on How Fast Do Puppies Breathe?

    FAQ 1: Why Do Puppies Breathe Faster than Adult Dogs?

    Puppies breathe faster than adult dogs primarily due to their smaller lung capacity and higher metabolic rate. This rapid breathing helps meet their body's oxygen demands, which are greater during the growth phase. Additionally, puppies' respiratory systems are still developing, making their breathing patterns naturally faster and less regulated compared to adult dogs.

    FAQ 2: Is It Normal For Puppies To Breathe Fast While Sleeping?

    Yes, it's normal for puppies to breathe fast while sleeping, especially during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. During this phase, puppies may experience dreams, resulting in varied breathing rates. This rapid breathing should decrease as they transition into deeper, more restful stages of sleep. However, if rapid breathing is accompanied by distress or unusual symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a vet.

    FAQ 3: Is 100 breaths per minute normal for a puppy?

    A rate of 100 breaths per minute is unusually high for a resting puppy and may indicate a medical issue or distress. Normal puppy breathing rates are typically between 15-40 breaths per minute at rest. If your puppy's breathing rate is consistently this high, especially when at rest, it's crucial to seek veterinary advice.

    FAQ 4: Why is my puppy panting while resting?

    Panting while resting can be a sign of overheating, stress, or discomfort in puppies. It could also indicate an underlying health issue, such as a respiratory or cardiac problem. If panting is persistent and not related to recent physical activity or high temperatures, it's advisable to consult a veterinarian.

    FAQ 5: Why is my puppy breathing so fast while lying down?

    Fast breathing in a puppy while lying down could be due to several reasons, including overheating, recent physical activity, or even excitement. However, if the fast breathing is continuous, without an obvious cause, or accompanied by other symptoms like coughing or wheezing, it may indicate a medical issue and warrants a vet check.

    FAQ 6: What if my dog is breathing fast but seems OK?

    Even if your dog seems okay, consistently fast breathing can be a subtle sign of underlying issues. Monitoring for other symptoms and maintaining regular vet check-ups is crucial. If the rapid breathing is a new development or you have concerns, it's always best to consult with a veterinarian.

    FAQ 7: What position helps a dog breathe better?

    Many dogs find it easier to breathe when lying in a sternal position, where they rest on their chest with their legs extended. This position allows for maximum lung expansion and easier breathing. For dogs with certain respiratory issues, an elevated head position can also help improve breathing.

    FAQ 8: Why is my puppy breathing fast but not panting?

    Fast, non-panting breathing in a puppy could be due to excitement, anxiety, or overheating. However, if this rapid breathing is frequent or persistent, especially during rest, it may suggest a more serious condition like respiratory or heart issues. A veterinary examination is recommended to rule out any health problems.

    FAQ 9: What are signs of a stressed dog?

    Signs of a stressed dog include excessive panting, drooling, pacing, trembling, or hiding. Changes in appetite, increased shedding, and digestive issues can also indicate stress. Behavioral changes like increased aggression, barking, or restlessness are further signs of stress in dogs.

    FAQ 10: What is a normal puppy heart rate?

    The normal heart rate for puppies varies depending on their size and age. Generally, puppies have a faster heart rate than adult dogs, ranging from 120 to 160 beats per minute. Smaller breeds tend to have faster heart rates compared to larger breeds.

    FAQ 11: How can I improve my dogs breathing naturally?

    To naturally improve your dog's breathing, ensure they maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise suited to their breed and age, and avoid exposure to respiratory irritants like smoke or strong chemicals. Providing a stress-free environment, practicing relaxation techniques, and ensuring your dog is well-hydrated can also support healthy respiratory function.

    Summary or Conclusion

    As we've explored the various aspects of puppy breathing, from understanding their normal breathing rates to recognizing when fast breathing might be a cause for concern, it's clear that our furry friends rely on us to understand and respond to their health needs. Being attentive to their breathing patterns helps us capture the full picture of their health and wellbeing.

    Remember, while fast breathing can be normal in many scenarios, it's important to stay vigilant and consult with your veterinarian whenever you're in doubt. Your awareness and proactive care can make all the difference in ensuring a long, healthy, and happy life for your puppy.

    And speaking of capturing the essence of your furry friend, our custom pet portrait service offers a unique and beautiful way to cherish these moments forever. Whether it’s a memory of their playful puppy days or a celebration of their journey into adulthood, a custom pet portrait is a perfect way to keep those memories alive.


    This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered veterinary advice. Always consult a professional veterinarian for any health concerns regarding your pet. Individual puppy breathing rates can vary, and it's important to seek professional guidance for accurate assessment and treatment.

    In conclusion, stay informed, trust your instincts, and don't hesitate to seek professional help when needed. 

    Liked this Post?

    We'd love to hear from you! If you found this article helpful or have any additional insights or experiences related to puppy breathing, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Your input can be incredibly valuable to other pet owners facing similar situations. Also, don't forget to share this article with your fellow puppy parents! The more we share our knowledge and experiences, the better we can care for our furry friends. Let's create a supportive community of pet lovers, learning and growing together.

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