Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping? All You Need To Know

Owning a puppy is a trying time. You have to learn how to train them, feed them, play with them, and more, and you’re still probably going to be worried all the time. In some ways, it’s like having a baby for the first time!

Once, I noticed my puppy breathing fast while sleeping. I had no idea what was going on and was scared, so I did some research. If you have seen this happen to your puppy, here is all the information you need to know.


Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping?

Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

So you have noticed that your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping. There are a lot of dog owners out there who have seen this before, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.

Does your dog look something like this?

If so, then you have nothing to worry about. This is totally normal in puppy and young adult dogs!

Why Are They Breathing Fast?

puppy breathing fast

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

Did you know that puppies often act out their dreams? They sometimes move their paws as if they were running and even start whining! When your pup is resting, they can be quite dramatic. They might even start breathing faster when they get really into their dream, almost like they are running outside!

It sounds too simple, but it’s the simple truth. Is your puppy also whining or moving their paws? Are they okay once they wake up?

If the answer to these questions is yes, your puppy is just fine. Fast breathing is normal while sleeping and is different from labored breathing while awake, which can be a sign of heart issues.

When Will It Stop?

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

Your puppy should stop breathing fast as soon as they move on from that dream or that particular REM cycle while sleeping. If it doesn’t stop once they wake up, you should visit a vet.

In general, the fast breathing usually doesn’t last for more than 10 or 20 minutes.

Your dog will also experience less time breathing fast while sleeping as they get older. This is because puppies are much more active sleepers than adult dogs - they even dream more! The higher activity level means that they breath fast while sleeping more often than older dogs.

You can expect your puppy to grow out of this scary habit, so don’t be too worried if their paws are kicking while they breath fast!

How Can I Be Sure It’s Not Dangerous?

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

I know it can be heard to hear “it’s okay” when you can still see that your puppy is breathing fast. Thankfully, you can actually check their respiratory rate to get a better idea of what “okay” really means.

The normal breathing rate for dogs is between 10 and 30 breaths per minute. Puppies may have a higher rate, from 15 to 40 breaths per minute. If your dog’s breathing stays elevated above this rate for a long time while sleeping, you will want to take them to the vet.

Here is how to calculate your dog’s breathing rate while they are calm or sleeping:

  • 1. One inhale and one exhale together count as one breath.
  • 2. Use a stopwatch to time 30 seconds.
  • 3. During that 30 seconds, count the number of in-and-out movements your dog makes.
  • 4. Multiple that number by 2.
  • 5. The result is the breathing rate.
  • 6. Do this calculation a few times over the next few hours to check for consistency.

Once your puppy is awake, you can also check their tongue color. Make sure their tongue and gums are still pink. If they are not, they might not be getting enough air and should be taken to the vet.

What Else Should I Look Out For?

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

Some people get very frightened when their puppy breathes fast while sleeping because they know that heavy or fast breathing can be a sign of heart problems in dogs. But there is a big difference between heavy breathing like seen in the puppy above and the breathing caused by heart failure.

This is a sad video to watch, but it gives a very good example of what heart failure looks like in terms of breathing patterns:

Can you see how the breaths are both rapid and almost cut short? This is what heart failure sounds like. If your puppy is breathing like this while sleeping, take them to the vet.

Additionally, if their fast breathing is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should see a vet:

  • excessive coughing
  • extreme lethargy when awake
  • lack of appetite
  • panting a lot when awake

Why Is It So Hard To Know If They Are Sick Or Not?

It can be very scary not to know if your puppy is OK or not.

As an owner, it’s up to you to learn how to recognize the signs of illness in your dog. In addition to regular vet visits, following the tips in this video can help you to be aware of illness:

Remember that if you’re ever so worried about your pet that you don’t know what to do, you can always call your vet or go in for an emergency visit. While it can be expensive to own a pet, you will rest easier once you know that your best friend is OK.

Your Puppy Will Be OK

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

I know your puppy is already on the path to being ok. Why? Because they have an attentive, caring owner like you! Just by noticing that something about your puppy might be off, you have proved that you pay close attention to your dog’s needs.

Keep it up, and you’ll be a great owner.

Are you feeling scared because your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping? Don’t worry anymore. This article will sooth your fears with real facts.

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