Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast?

One of the last things that any new puppy owner wants to see is their little puppy breathing heavy. No doubt, owning a pup can really rack your nerve as its owner.

But, you still remain the stewards of their health. This is very true especially in the early days of their life, as they are usually more prone to a lot of health issues than their adult counterpart. This indeed makes it incredibly important to monitor their health in these early periods of their life.

In the course of this article, we will look at the various causes of puppy heavy breathing and how we can handle them.


Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast?

Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast

Admittedly, it is not strange to find a dog or puppy breathing fast. But, there are times where this panting can be really heavy and maybe a sign of a mishap ahead like a chronic health problem, or a life-threatening trauma.

Luckily, these reasons are most of the time not that alarming and could be quite easily addressed, as long as you have the required knowledge on what to do.

Thus, this breathing condition may be divided into two major categories: normal causes (otherwise known physiological) and the abnormal (otherwise known as worrisome pathological).

Generally, the circumstances that lead up to the condition is ultimately the distinguishing factor between both causes. While the former may be normal and no cause for alarm, the latter may need the help of a professional.


Physiological Causes of Puppy Breathing Fast

It is entirely normal sometimes for your pup to breathe fast. Here are some of those normal reasons for the rapid breathing behavior of puppies.

1. Excessive Heat

Spending some time under the hot sun is likely to cause puppies to begin breathing fast and panting. This is completely normal for dogs, as panting helps them in regulating their body temperatures. This is like a human’s body but achieves this through sweat.

Since dogs don’t have the luxury of sweating through their fur, their way out is cooling off via fast breathing. As this happens, cool air is circulated through their body. It is a natural reaction for dogs and how heavy and fast their breathing will vary based on how hot they are.

2. Stress and Over-Exertion

Like high temperatures, the effect of too much physical activity on a dog is very similar. Puppies are known to be active creatures wanting to play and run around. The more activity they engage in, the more worn out they are going to be.

When they are finally done with all the activity, you’ll notice them beginning to breathe fast. They may go as far as laying down in an attempt to catch their breath.

Studies tell us that internally, the temperature of their body has increased from all that activity. Thus, the fast breathing is an attempt to calm down and bring their temperature levels back to normal.

3. Puppies Breathing Fast While Sleeping

Puppies are known to sleep a lot, more than their adult counterparts. This is their natural disposition and a necessity for their proper development.

In the midst of this incessant sleeping, they are found to be fast breathing as a result of what they are dreaming. This typically occurs in what is referred to as the REM, or rapid eye movement, stage.

It’s very common for this to be accompanied by other strange behaviors like whimpering, barking softly, or even kicking as if they are trying to run. While at first, this may seem problematic, it is somewhat normal most of the time, and once they wake up it will all stop.

4. Anxiety

Another reason you can find puppy breathing fast is when they’re first introduced to their new home. Like humans, puppies also experience a range of emotions. This is usually one of the most shocking instances of rapid breathing with no immediate fix to the problem.

Ironically, while you as the owner may be excited bringing your puppy home and starting your new life together, your pet, on the other hand, is experiencing a lot of different emotions – confused and scared.

This is only normal as they have just been separated from their mother into a totally different environment. It is only natural that it will take some time to adjust to their new home.


Pathological Causes of Puppy Breathing Fast

puppies breathing fast while sleeping

Sometimes, fast breathing for dogs is associated with a few health issues. Here are some of the issues to look out for.

1. Dyspnea

Dyspnea simply means difficulty in breathing, and it particularly refers to a pet having the feeling of shortness of breath. It is usually a physical symptom of an underlying disease that your puppy may be suffering from.

They can typically be linked to anatomical locations in the body such as upper airway (i.e., the throat, larynx, or pharynx area), lower airway (i.e., the trachea and lungs), pleural space (i.e., the area surrounding the lungs), lung parenchyma (i.e., the lungs), chest wall (i.e., the ribs and associated muscles) and diaphragm.

They can be manifested in forms such as asthma, kennel cough, pulmonary edema, infections, worms, and so much more.

2. Tachypnea

As stated in Science Direct, “Tachypnea is a useful sign for the diagnosis of childhood pneumonia and is more specific and reproducible than auscultatory signs” This condition is used to describe rapid breathing that has no immediate cause.

Dogs with this condition will be observed to start panting out of nowhere even when they were relaxed before the episode. It is usually persistent, and significantly long-lasting, more than usual panting.

If this happens very often and regularly, it is important to seek the attention of veterinary care as soon as possible.

3. Brachycephalic Dogs

There are certain types of dogs that are predisposed to experiencing problems with their breathing at some point in their lives. They usually feature longer soft palates that block airways and narrow nostrils thus making it difficult for them to inhale.

For these types of dogs, normal panting can quickly turn into something that requires medical attention. These dogs include Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and any other breed that has a short snout. If you own any of these dogs, it is important to give them extra attention whenever you notice any form of fast breathing.


Final Words On Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast

Every now and then all dogs are likely to pant and breathe fast, and as such there’s no need to panic if your dog starts to do so. In fact, it’s seen as normal and instinctive behavior that can be of extreme benefit to the health and comfort of your puppy.

While there are scenarios where rapid breathing could be indicative of something worthy of medical attention, chances are that you won’t have a thing to worry about when you see your little guy breathing rapidly.

But, it is important to note here that if the panting occurs too often or for too long, it may be a good idea to call the attention of a qualified vet.

Also, if there is no identifiable cause or you have a pretty strong indicator that there’s something else in play, do get him examined by a veterinarian right away.

Are you a dog owner and have experienced your puppy breathing fast? We would appreciate your comments below. If you are a new puppy owner and have any questions, drop it in the comment sections as well.

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