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Is It Normal for Puppies To Breathe Fast?

Is It Normal for Puppies To Breathe Fast

You probably love to watch your puppy play, eat, and sleep. Every little thing your puppy does is adorable, and you could probably spend all day watching them explore the world. 

If you notice your puppy’s breathing rate during active play or even sleep, you might notice that they seem to be breathing a little faster than an adult dog. This is quite normal and generally not a cause for concern. 

How Fast Do Puppies Breathe?

Puppies breathe slightly faster than adult dogs when they’re at rest. An adult dog will take between 10 and 30 breaths per minute while a puppy will breathe anywhere between 15 and 40 times per minute, depending on their level of excitement. A sleepy puppy will breathe the slowest. 

How Can I Count My Puppy’s Breaths?

If you’d feel better verifying your puppy’s breaths per minute, all you need is a timer. Every time your puppy inhales and exhales, it will count as a complete breath. 

You can watch your puppy’s chest rise and fall to measure their breath. It helps to keep your puppy calm or hold them when you need an accurate count.

Set a timer for 30 seconds and count each complete set of inhales and exhales during this time. Multiply that number by two to get your puppy’s breaths per minute. Use context to determine if their respiration rate seems appropriate.

If your puppy is in a deep sleep and you’re only counting 12 breaths per minute, that’s normal. Your puppy’s breaths will be deeper while they’re asleep, and their body can better utilize oxygen when they’re completely sedentary. 

If your puppy just engaged in a very active play session, their breaths per minute may be a little higher. Panting at 45 to 50 breaths per minute when your puppy is calming down would be completely normal. 

Just keep a watchful eye on your puppy to make sure their respiration gradually returns to normal as they recover from a play session. 

When Is It Normal for Puppies To Breathe Fast?

There are many circumstances where it’s normal for puppies to breathe faster than an adult dog. If your puppy is breathing rapidly while engaging in these activities, there’s usually no reason to be concerned. Just make sure you can correlate your puppy breathing fast with an activity where rapid breaths would be normal.

When They’re Playing

Puppies often have quick bursts of energy that are usually followed by naps. Puppies have a natural excitement for exploring the world. They’re learning to use their profoundly sharp sense of scent. 

They’re learning to run. They’re seeing new people, animals, and plants for the first time. It’s very exciting, and they may seem hyper from all the stimulation. Excitement and play can lead to an accelerated heart rate and faster breathing.

When They’re Learning To Sniff

A puppy’s sense of scent works completely differently from a human’s sense of scent. Canines have some of the most efficient senses of smell out of all living things. Humans have about six million sensory receptors in their olfactory systems. 

Dogs have well over 100 million of the same receptors. The area of their brain that processes and interprets scent information is exponentially larger than the same area of the human brain.

Dogs can smell even the faintest traces of an aroma from a long distance. All these smells can be overwhelming for a puppy when they’re still new to navigating their super-powered olfactory system. Your puppy may seem to be breathing quickly when they’re excitedly picking up on new scents.

This overzealous sniffing is typically a normal behavior. It only mimics the appearance of rapid breathing. Your puppy will calm down as they identify specific scents, obtain the information they want, or find what they’re looking for. 

When They’re Rushing To Eat

Puppies often have very little patience when it comes time to eat. Puppies are used to competing with their littermates at meal times, which may lead them to eat quickly with minimal pauses. They may breathe fast between rapid bites. 

This behavior usually resolves itself as puppies grow up. They realize that they have plenty of time to eat, and they no longer have up to a dozen siblings who are all vying for food at the same time they are. 

When They’re Having an Intense Dream

The body uses sleep to restore the body, promote growth, and convert short-term memories into long-term memories. Even though your puppy seems to be sedentary, there’s a lot going on. While your puppy sleeps, they may dream as their brain stores what they learned that day.

It’s not uncommon for puppies to “act out” their dreams. They can even have nightmares. Active sleep can lead to increased respiration rate during sleep. Your puppy might get riled up enough to wake themselves up from their nap. 

If your puppy seems jarred by an intense dream, allow them to come to you for comfort. Your lap may seem like a safer place to finish their nap.

When They’re Experiencing Stress

Your puppy may not understand the purpose of car rides, the reason for thunderstorms, or the unpredictability of fireworks. They may rapidly breathe when they’re in a distressing situation. Rapid breathing may be accompanied by whining, crying, attempts to hide, or requests for emotional reassurance from you. 

It’s important to keep your puppy calm and comfortable through distressing situations. Your puppy may acclimate to these situations as they age and endure them many times. Exposing them to noises, such as the vacuum cleaner when they are young, accompanied by positive reinforcement such as treats, can help them to accept noises calmly over their lifetime.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Puppy Breathing Fast?

If your puppy seems to be breathing fast without reasonable context, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Rapid breathing when a dog is at rest or when a dog is showing signs of illness could indicate a heart condition or exposure to something toxic.

Your Puppy Breathes Rapidly When at Rest

If your puppy is always breathing faster than the average rate of breaths per minute, this could indicate a persistent respiratory problem or heart condition. Heart conditions diagnosed while a puppy is still young can be treated or cured with veterinary intervention. 

It’s best to catch the issue as early as possible. If you suspect there may be something wrong, schedule a vet appointment immediately. Don’t wait to see if the issue resolves itself.

Your Puppy Is Also Showing Signs of Illness 

Rapid breathing in conjunction with vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, or disorientation can indicate that your puppy is ill. It can also be a sign that they’ve ingested something toxic, like a dangerous plant or human food. Your puppy will need emergency veterinary intervention if they’ve been poisoned or become seriously ill.

How Can I Help My Puppy Calm Down?

If your puppy is getting a little too excited, they may pant or breathe quickly. Rapid breathing can also be a symptom of environmental distress. ElleVet Sciences CBD + CBDA can provide mood support during stressful situations if your puppy is rapidly breathing because they’re nervous. 

If desensitizing your puppy to noises when they are young is not effective and the noise phobia persists as they get older, then ElleVet Sciences CBD + CBDA can be a highly effective product to help address situational stress. Young puppies are very trainable and with the help of a dog trainer you can help them manage their fear of noises and to teach them that there is nothing to fear. Sometimes that doesn’t work, particularly with rescue dogs or high stress breeds, and in those cases, ElleVet is incredibly effective in helping them remain calm.

Hemp-derived CBD supports your dog’s natural mood and emotional regulation processes. If your dog is experiencing excessive stress, the holistic support of CBD can have a broadly calming effect. This calming effect is particularly useful during thunderstorms, celebrations involving fireworks, grooming, vet visits and long car rides. 

In Conclusion: There Are Times When It’s Normal for Puppies To Breathe Fast

Puppies breathe faster than adult dogs, and there are many situations where quick breathing is completely normal. If fast breathing is a response to a stressful situation, providing comfort, mood support, and CBD may help to calm your puppy down. 

If rapid breathing occurs in conjunction with symptoms of illness or poisoning, you should call your veterinarian immediately.


Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | MDPI

Do Dogs Dream and Do Cats Dream? | The Michelson Found Animals Foundation

Valvular Disease In Small-Breed Dogs: A Common Cause of Heart Failure | American Kennel Club

The 10 most common toxicoses in dogs | ASPCA Pro