Is Your Puppy Breathing Fast? Here’s What You Need to Know


Is Your Puppy Breathing Fast? Puppies are a bundle of fun, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where your dog is gasping for air and snorting, then you’ll want to keep reading. The problem with puppyhood is that there are many things that can go wrong.

From teething to exercise fatigue, you may be unable to anticipate the stresses and challenges that will come up in your dog’s life. In most cases, these issues will clear up on their own.

However, there are times when the symptoms do not go away and you may be left wondering what to do. In such situations, we ask you to consider trying some of the methods outlined below.

Is It Normal for a Puppy to Breathe Fast?

Fast breathing is not normal, but it is something that every puppy will experience to some degree. It is a normal part of their growth and development, and you will likely see the same fast breathing in your own children at some point.

When we speak of fast breathing, we are not referring to a “hyper” breathing rate. Your puppy will breathe more quickly than it did as a pup, but this is normal as well. Instead, what you are seeing is a change in breathing pattern. Their breaths will come out in short gasps or bursts. They may not even be breathing for a large portion of the time.

Puppy Breathing Fast
Puppy Breathing Fast

What Does My Puppy’s Breathing Sound Like?

When we say that your puppy is breathing fast, it is almost always an indication that they are not breathing deeply enough. They will not have a normal, steady breathing pattern, and you may hear an occasional snort or gurgle in their chest when they inhale. This can happen even when they are sleeping.
The best way to describe how your puppy is breathing is to think of a balloon filling with air.

8 Reasons Why Your Puppy May Be Breathing Fast

Your puppy’s fast breathing could be caused by any of the following issues:

Respiratory tract infection

Your puppy may be holding their breath due to a cold or infection in their nose or throat. This can lead to your puppy not breathing deeply enough during the sleep, and this will cause their breathing to quicken.

Exercise fatigue

Puppies that are too young to exercise on their own (usually between 8 and 20 weeks old) need constant supervision and care to keep them safe. In many cases, this will require them to be on a treadmill or exercise pen. If your puppy is spending too much time exercising and not enough time resting and digesting food, then their breathing will quicken as they run out of energy.

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Urinary tract infection

When a UTI starts to develop, it can lead to your puppy having trouble urinating and passing the infection into their bladder. As a result, they will have trouble emptying their bladder, and this can lead to them breathing very fast as they hold their urine in.

Overactive thyroid

The same issue that causes exercise fatigue also causes your puppy’s breathing to quicken as they expend more energy than they are able to recover.

Food poisoning

Your dog may breathe heavily if they ate something they shouldn’t have, such as garlic or onions. If you suspect your dog has consumed poisoned food, contact poison control or your veterinarian right away since food poisoning can be fatal.

Trachea issues

A dog’s trachea serves as its windpipe. Your puppy may start breathing more heavily if it collapses or is under too much pressure. A tracheal collapse might make it more difficult for air to reach your dog’s lungs. A dry cough is one of the additional signs of this problem. Although pups can also experience problems, this condition mainly affects older dogs. Tracheal collapses are more common in some breeds, such as Chihuahuas.

Other Reasons Why Your Puppy is Breathing Fast

Heart Diseases

The lungs and heart are intertwined. It circulates blood to the lungs, enabling the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Sometimes the lungs must compensate for the heart’s poor performance by breathing more quickly. The majority of heart abnormalities in pups are present at birth; it is uncommon for cardiac diseases to manifest at such a young age.

Before a puppy is born, the growing heart goes through a number of transformations. Congenital cardiac abnormalities, such as narrow veins, holes in the heart, or leaky valves, can occur when these changes go wrong or don’t occur.

These make the heart work harder to resist pressure or force the blood to flow against gravity. The heart is put under too much stress as a result. With a stethoscope, we can occasionally detect these flaws as a cardiac murmur. Only the most severe heart abnormalities result in illness and tachypnea in puppies; numerous other heart defects either have no impact or lead to disease in later life. Heart disease in puppies can cause a quiet cough and extreme lethargy.

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Lung Disorders 

Lung disorders impact the capacity or functionality of the lungs, reducing oxygen intake. Because people with lung illness frequently breathe extremely quickly yet shallowly, the lungs speed up to make up for this. Lung illness can take many different forms.

Infectious lung disorders are probably the most prevalent in pups. These include lungworm, bronchopneumonia, influenza viruses, and kennel cough. These illnesses harm the lungs, infect them, and limit the space accessible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Tachypnoea is frequently brought on by secondary infections after breathing foreign substances like grass seeds (or just a simple obstruction).

Please consult your veterinarian if you suspect a lung infection in your puppy since most pups with lung infections also have a fever, or a cough, and are generally fairly sick.

When a puppy’s lungs are not working correctly, they may occasionally be born breathing very quickly. Animals’ lungs are frequently immature and full of fluid when they are born; while this normally clears out within the first few hours of life, it can occasionally take longer, especially if the puppy was born prematurely. In these circumstances, the puppy’s respiration is frequently fairly rapid. Because newborn puppies are so fragile, a dog like this will require extensive veterinarian treatment.

Watch the tutorial

What to Do If Your Puppy is Breathing Fast

  1. If you notice your dog breathing rapidly or gasping for air, try not to frighten them or pick them up abruptly. Act quickly and get to a veterinarian.
  2. Quiet the dog as much as possible and place them on their side. Gently hold them and make sure they are not struggling.
  3. Call your veterinarian. If it is not an emergency, let them know where you are located so they can come to you.
  4. If it is an emergency and you cannot reach your veterinarian immediately, follow the instructions in point #1, above.
  5. If it is an emergency and you are unable to reach your veterinarian, follow the instructions in point #2, above.
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Treatment & Diagnosis of Puppy Breathing Fast

To ascertain if the issue is with the heart, circulatory system, lungs, airway, neck, head, or another location, the veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination. A problem might also be brought on by a general health condition.

Inquiries regarding your dog and any prior medical history will also be made. The heart, lungs, and abdomen may be examined using X-rays to look for problems like fractured ribs or lung cancers. Examining organs is also planned.

You can both keep an eye out for indications of stress, worry, or other psychological issues.

The underlying reason will dictate the course of treatment. Your veterinarian could advise taking medicine, calcium-infused intravenous fluids, or both.

Special training with a licensed dog behaviorist may be necessary for stress or anxiety. Rest and oxygen treatment will be necessary regardless of the cause. While the majority of dogs can be cared for at home, some could require ongoing supervision. For dogs with serious ailments, hospitalization could be the most secure course of action.

Conclusion: Puppy Breathing Fast

Keep your puppy as safe and healthy as possible. Take them to the veterinarian if you notice any concerning symptoms like labored breathing, coughing, sneezing, or hives. Be aware that some breeds of dogs are predisposed to certain conditions.

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