10 Reasons Why Is My Puppy Breathing So Fast While Sleeping?


Puppies naturally breathe far faster than adult dogs. A puppy's resting breathing rate is typically between 20 and 45 breaths per minute, whereas an adult's breathing rate is closer to 12 to 30 breaths per minute.

If your puppy appears to be breathing quickly while they sleep, you may be a little worried. But there are several reasons why pups can breathe quickly while they sleep. They should be OK as long as they are breathing normally and you don't see any other strange symptoms.

It is always preferable to consult your veterinarian if your new puppy exhibits any unusual symptoms other than rapid breathing while asleep. They can assist you in identifying and resolving the issue. Today, we'll be talking about the top 10 common causes of your puppy's rapid breathing.

1. During Rem Sleep

One of the most common reasons why puppies breathe fast while sleeping is because they are in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. This is the stage where they have vivid dreams, and their brain activity is high.

At this time, they need more oxygen to support their brain function. It makes them breathe faster. Puppies usually enter the REM stage after about 20 minutes of sleep and stay there for a few minutes.

You might also notice them twitching, whimpering, or moving their eyes during this stage. This is normal and harmless unless their breathing rate is too high for too long.

2. Recent Exertion

Your dog may also be breathing quickly while they sleep if they have just exercised themselves. If your puppy has just been for a run or played fetch for an extended period, they are likely to breathe faster than normal.

This is because they are working their cardiovascular system harder and need to take in more oxygen to fuel their body, much like we do when we exercise. Puppies also do not sweat as humans do, so they rely on panting to cool their bodies down.

Usually, their breathing rate will return to normal after they rest and recover. However, if your puppy is breathing fast for a long time after exercise or if they show signs of distress, such as coughing, wheezing, or fainting, they might have a health problem that needs veterinary attention.

3. Body Temperature Is High

Your puppy might be breathing fast while sleeping because of their high body temperature. Puppies have a higher body temperature than adult dogs. It can be from 99.5°F to 102.5°F. However, their body temperature can also rise due to external factors, such as hot weather, warm bedding, or lack of ventilation.

When their body temperature is high, they need to breathe faster to release heat and cool down. This is similar to how humans sweat when they are hot. So for this reason, they can breathe faster when they are sleeping. You can help your puppy lower their body temperature by providing them with fresh water, a cool place to sleep, and a fan or air conditioner if possible.

However, if your puppy's body temperature exceeds 103°F, they might have a fever, which could indicate an infection or inflammation. In this case, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

4. Fear Or Anxiety

Fear or anxiety can be the reason for breathing fast while your puppy is sleeping. Puppies are sensitive to their environment and can get scared or stressed by various factors, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, separation from their owners, or changes in their routines.

When they are afraid or anxious, their body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These increase their heart rate and breathing rates. In these situations, they can breathe fast while sleeping.

Besides, they might also pant to cope with their emotions or to signal their discomfort. You can help your puppy calm down by providing them with a safe and comfortable place to sleep. However, if your puppy's fear or anxiety is severe or persistent, they might have a behavioral problem that requires professional help.

5. Dehydration

Dehydration is a condition where the body loses more fluid than it takes in. This can happen if your puppy does not drink enough water or loses water due to diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or heatstroke.

Dehydration can make your puppy breathe faster while sleeping for several reasons. They may pant to try to drink water and rehydrate, they may need more oxygen to support their organs and tissues, and they may have an electrolyte imbalance that affects their heart and lung function.

Dehydration can be a serious and life-threatening condition for puppies. So, it is important to monitor their fluid intake and output and act quickly if you notice any signs of dehydration.

6. Check If They Are Injured

Any kind of injury can affect their breathing rate. Pain can trigger the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases the heart rate and breathing rate. Inflammation can cause swelling or fluid accumulation in the lungs. It can make it harder for your puppy to breathe while sleeping.

Here are some signs of injury in dogs:

  • Limping or favoring one leg
  • Whining or crying when touched
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Swelling or redness
  • Difficulty moving or standing

Injuries can be a serious and life-threatening condition for puppies. So, when you notice that your puppy is breathing fast when he is sleeping, for this reason, you should take the proper care of your dog.

7. Respiratory Infection

A respiratory infection is a common and potentially serious condition in dogs that affects their breathing organs. Their lungs become weak, and they take faster breaths while sleeping. It can be caused by many different germs that can spread through the air or by contact.

Some of the symptoms are coughing, runny nose, sneezing, fever, and difficulty breathing. The severity of the infection depends on many factors, such as the type of germ, the age and health of the dog, and the stress level of the dog. 

A veterinarian can diagnose a respiratory infection by checking the dog's signs, history, and tests. Some respiratory infections can be prevented by vaccinating the dog, avoiding sick dogs, and keeping the dog in a clean and well-ventilated place. So, you should be careful in this situation.

8. Heart Issues

Heart issues are another reason why your puppy may be breathing fast while sleeping. This means that your puppy has a problem with the structure or function of their heart. It affects their blood circulation and oxygen delivery. Heart issues can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (developed later in life) and can have various causes and symptoms.

Some of the common types of heart issues in puppies are mitral valve disease, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and pericardial disease. For these heart issues, your puppy breathes fast while sleeping.

However, heart diseases can be diagnosed by a veterinarian using a physical examination, a stethoscope, an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, or other tests. Some heart issues can be prevented or managed by keeping your puppy at a healthy weight, feeding them a balanced diet, avoiding over-exertion, and vaccinating them against infectious diseases.

9. Lung Disease

Your puppy can show abnormal behavior like breathing fast while sleeping because of his lung disease. Lung disease is a term that covers various conditions that affect the alveoli and the small air sacs in the lungs where oxygen exchange occurs. Lung disease can be caused by infection, inflammation, injury, or exposure to toxins or allergens.

You should notice this issue. Lung disease is a concern for this health. However, it can be diagnosed by a veterinarian. This disease can be prevented or managed by vaccinating your puppy against common pathogens, avoiding contact with sick dogs, and keeping your puppy in a clean and well-ventilated environment.

You should make sure your dog has a nice, cozy bed and lots of fresh water to drink to support appropriate breathing during sleep. You should also avoid feeding your puppy right before or after exercise, as this can cause digestive problems or bloat. If your puppy is still breathing fast after resting for a while, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

10. Diaphragmatic Hernia

A diaphragmatic hernia is a condition where a hole in the diaphragm allows some organs from the abdomen to move into the chest. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the chest and the abdomen and helps with breathing. A diaphragmatic hernia can be present from birth or caused by trauma (such as being hit by a car).

A diaphragmatic hernia can affect the sleeping positions and the breathing and circulation of the puppy, as the organs in the chest can compress the lungs and the heart. This can cause the puppy to breathe fast, especially while sleeping, as they try to get enough oxygen. Some of the other signs of a diaphragmatic hernia are coughing, vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.

In these types of situations, you should be careful of your puppy and give him extra care. If necessary, take him to the vet.


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