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Why Is Your Puppy Breathing Fast? Here Are The Reasons You Must Know

By Junefrazier

You noticed your puppy breathing fast after a long walk, an exercise, or even while sleeping. First-time puppy owners may find it a bit odd and alarming. As we always know, it is hard to tell what our puppy's gestures and body movements mean. But, is it something you should worry about?

As responsible furparents, we make sure that our furry babies are in their best health condition. So, it's pretty normal to worry about what really is happening with your puppy. And if you're reading this right at this moment, you're probably still wondering why your puppy is breathing fast.

What is the reason behind it?

Tachypnea vs Dyspnea

There are two medical terms that evidently define the issues about breathing in puppies - tachypnea and dyspnea. These conditions are often compared and misinterpreted due to some similarities of the symptoms. However, tachypnea and dyspnea are two different categories that you should not be confused about.

Tachypnea refers to the abnormality in breathing which results in a rapid breathing. The normal breathing rate of puppies ranges from 15 to 35 breaths per minute. When you went out with your puppy for a long walk or jogging, tachypnea or rapid breathing usually occurs. When this happens, the mouth is usually closed or slightly opened and not as wide as when a puppy is panting.

Dyspnea, on the other hand, depicts the difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath. It can be a sign of a life-threatening health condition. This includes noisy breathing, abnormal belly movements, and breathing with an open mouth. There are other signs that you must take note of, though. But if you notice that something's out of the usual, it's time to call your vet.

Panting and fast breathing (tachypnea) also have striking similarities in symptoms. But don't confuse yourself with any of these breathing conditions. Panting is what we usually see in our puppies as a normal reaction after a physical activity, exercise, or in response to hot temperatures. Unlike tachypnea, panting occurs when the mouth is widely opened while the tongue is out. Shallow breaths and fast breathing also come with it.

Reasons Why Your Puppy is Breathing Fast

It can either be a sign of an underlying health problem or just a normal reaction of the body. It's hard to tell as there could be tons of reasons behind it. Because it is not always easy to identify, we've listed the common reasons why your puppy is breathing fast. Let's take a look.

1. Cooling Down After a Physical Activity

We love taking our puppies out for an exercise, jogging, or just a stroll around the park. Giving our furbabies physical activities in their daily routine help them strengthen their bones and muscles and hence, become much healthier and livelier.

These physical activities can be too tiring at times. So, you might notice your puppy breathing fast when he's trying to cool down or rest for a while right after. It can be even more tiring under hot temperatures. If the normal breathing rate range from 15 to 35 breaths per minute, it can increase up to 200 to 400 breaths per minute when they're breathing fast!

2. Stress or Anxiety

When your dog is suffering from stress or anxiety, fast breathing can be one of the symptoms. Separation anxiety, new environment, and lack of exercise or physical activities are some of the possible reasons that could trigger stress and depression to your puppy.

If ever this happens, try to provide more time for physical activities or exercise. Take him out to play or let him run through the fields. And if it is the separation anxiety that causes your puppy to feel more stressed, try not to leave him alone for a long time.

3. Health Problem

Although we wish our puppies to be lively, healthy, and strong all the time, health problems may still arise. And if he seems to be breathing fast like something you've never seen before, don't ignore it. There might be an underlying health issue that causes your puppy to breathe rapidly.

Breathing Fast While Sleeping

Did you ever notice your puppy breathing fast while sleeping? Is it something you should be worried about? Well, you'd be relieved to know that you shouldn't. Puppies are like humans. They can experience dreams and even nightmares in their sleep. Whining, twitching, moving, or even barking while sleeping also comes with it.

Some owners still panic when these signs show, especially when your puppy's breathing fast. But if the rapid breathing goes away as soon as he wakes up and seems to be in his normal self, active, and playful, there's nothing to worry about.

What You Should Do

1. Provide clean and fresh water all the time.

When your puppy has just finished or while doing all his exercises or any physical activities, clean and fresh water should always be available. It will help your little darling to cool down and rejuvenate. Even when he's just taking a rest at home, your puppy needs to drink water from time to time.

2. Don't overexert your puppy.

Puppies love to engage in a lot of physical activities. But it doesn't mean you have to put him into strenuous exercises or obstacles. They also have their limitations. Too much physical activities can really be exhausting. You should know what type and how much exercise your puppy needs in his routine.

3. Ask help from your vet.

As what was mentioned before, there could be a lot of reasons that lie behind your puppy's fast breathing. Although it may not be really life-threatening, observe your puppy's behavior if there are any peculiar changes that go with his breathing. When in doubt, it is best to ask your vet for help and advice.

When to Call the Vet

Are there any other symptoms that signal health problems? Fast breathing can be more than just a normal reaction to exhaustion. Take a look at these symptoms.

If fast breathing is accompanied by any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should take your puppy to the vet.


Fast breathing can either be a symptom you shouldn't worry about or a hint that something could be wrong with your puppy. Perhaps a health problem you must take care of as soon as possible. But as long as your puppy is enthusiastic and does not acquire any of the unusual health signs, all you have to worry about is how to keep your puppy constantly happy and healthy!

Should you have any concerns about your puppy's health, don't hesitate to give your vet a call.

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