Why is My Dog Breathing So Fast? 8 Possible Reasons

Why do dogs breathe so fast? While the answer may be simple, there are actually a number of reasons your dog’s breathing may seem like it’s going faster than normal. Some of these causes are more serious than others and need immediate veterinary attention, while others can wait until you can take your pup to the vet.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to know what’s causing your dog’s breathing to seem abnormal so you can make the proper decisions about treatment or contact your vet.

Why is My Dog Breathing So Fast? 8 Possible Reasons

1) Exercise

Dogs are masters at hiding signs of illness. They may not show it on the outside, but they could be experiencing pain on the inside. And this could be hurting their quality of life. If you suspect your dog might be suffering from a health condition, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

2) Temperature

Dogs don’t sweat as people do, so they cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws. When their body temperature rises too high, they’ll start to breathe rapidly in an attempt to cool down. This can happen when they’re overexerting themselves, fighting with another dog, or caught up in the excitement of playing too hard. Sometimes it’s caused by something as simple as being in a warm environment or getting excited before a walk.

3) Fear and anxiety

Dogs can experience fear and anxiety in many different ways, but it often manifests as hyperventilation. If you notice that your dog has been panting or breathing more quickly than usual, there are a few things you can do to help them calm down.
Start by giving them a little space. It may be that they just need some alone time to get over their distress and regain their composure.

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4) Illness

Dogs will often gasp for air if they have a fever. Feverish dogs also tend to pant heavily, which can make it seem like they’re breathing too quickly. An infection can be a root cause of excessive panting and/or fast breathing. Other diseases that might lead to laboured breathing include pneumonia and heat stroke.

5) Pain

Dogs are not like humans. They may have a few health problems that aren’t always obvious at first glance. One of the most common ones is an anxiety attack, which can be triggered by many things including being left home alone for too long, eating something they shouldn’t have, loud noises, or changes in their environment such as going from outside to inside or vice versa.

If your dog’s breathing becomes heavy and laboured and he starts showing other signs of anxiety like hiding or shaking, it’s possible he’s having an attack.

6) Heatstroke

Heatstroke can occur when the animal’s body temperature becomes dangerously high. This often happens when the dog is in a hot environment and can’t release heat, such as inside a car or under heavy blankets.

Symptoms may include excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, fever, and lack of coordination. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke, take it to a vet or emergency clinic immediately.

7) Heart problems

Heart disease can lead to abnormal heart rhythms that cause arrhythmias. These irregular heartbeats can affect the normal rhythm of a dog’s breathing, which could make it seem like their breath is coming in short, fast gasps. This type of arrhythmia, called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), can also lead to a decrease in the amount of oxygen delivered to the rest of the body.
Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) is another type of arrhythmia that may cause rapid and laboured breathing in dogs.

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8) Diarrhea/Vomiting

Diarrhea and vomiting are two of the most common reasons for a dog to have rapid breathing. These symptoms can be caused by many different things, such as food poisoning, cancer, bacterial infection, or even anxiety. If your dog has been vomiting or experiencing diarrhea for more than one day with no relief, take them to the vet immediately.

When it comes to diarrhea and vomiting in dogs, you should never ignore it. Even if they seem okay after they vomit/have diarrhea, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t something else wrong that needs to be checked out.

What happens if we do nothing about our dog’s rapid breathing due to diarrhea/vomiting?

Depending on what’s causing the illness (such as inflammation), symptoms may not go away until all of the inflammation is gone. Your veterinarian will want to know about these incidents because they may cause some changes in treatment plans.