Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping?

You may have noticed your puppy breathing fast while he sleeps. It may have caused you some concerns.

For first-time dog owners, seeing their new puppy breathing rapidly could have caused them some rapid breaths as well. Thoughts of the new puppy being sick or the young pup is suffering from something could not be avoided.

Is it normal for puppies to breathe rapidly while sleeping? Or should I be alarmed?

In this blog post, we share with you the common causes of your pup’s rapid breathing and when it may be a cause of concern.

Dog breathing fast while asleep

What Causes Rapid Breathing In Dogs?

The first thing we have to understand is the possible reason why a puppy sleeping may experience labored breathing. Rapid breathing may be attributed to several causes, which we will discuss below.

If your puppy is breathing so fast and the number of breaths is more than 15 to 40 breaths per minute, check if it will subside in the next few minutes. If it does not, then your puppy is indeed breathing rapidly.

And these questions pop to mind, “Why is my puppy breathing fast while sleeping?“, “Is it normal for puppies to breathe fast?” and “Should I bring my puppies to the vet?

Don’t be alarmed, as there are several reasons for your puppy’s rapid breathing. The first time you notice your new pup panting or heaving fast breath, find out the cause to eliminate other reasons.

puppy sleeping

Here are a few reasons why your pups may be breathing fast even when they are asleep!


Just like us, a puppy has dreams too!

At that moment, when you notice your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping, he may be dreaming. And it’s completely normal. Even adult dogs may be breathing fast or would have an increased respiratory rate when they are dreaming.

You can tell that your puppy is dreaming when the fast breathing is accompanied by rapid eye movement such that their eyelids are moving.

So, allow a few minutes to pass and observe his breath again. You need to check if your pup is still breathing fast in his sleep. When his breathing is back to normal, then well and good.

If not, don’t panic. There are still other reasons why your new puppy, or even an adult dog, is breathing fast while sleeping besides being in a dream.

Warm Environment

Sleeping in a warm room can likewise cause to increase in the normal respiratory rate of our sleeping pups. Breathing rapidly is their way of cooling themselves while sleeping. Even adult dogs pant at night when in a warm room.

Hence, try to gauge if, indeed, the room where your puppy is sleeping is warm or humidity is high. Turn on an air conditioner if such is the case to help cool your puppy and regulate his breathing.

When outdoors, you could also guide your pup to a shady part of the yard to keep him from panting and regain his breath.


Additionally, a puppy breathing fast may be the effect of his activities before sleeping.

Puppies tend to breathe rapidly during their sleep when they are tired from playing the whole afternoon or after taking a walk.

Something Else

When your pups are breathing fast, and the reason is not something mentioned above, and you cannot attribute it to other conditions, it is best to consult a vet for a proper diagnosis.

When Should I Be Alarmed?

While a puppy breathing fast is normal under some circumstances, rapid breathing in puppies or a dog panting at night might also be a sign of other medical conditions.

When your puppy is suffering from any illness or sickness, and you notice that he has difficulty breathing normally or is breathing fast while sleeping, this might be a cause of concern.

sick puppy

It is always worth it to consult a vet when you are uncomfortable with your puppy breathing fast.

Rapid breathing or other breathing problems among puppies may be a sign of medical conditions such as kennel cough and pulmonary edema. Or, your puppy might be suffering from some allergies or asthma. Or, his rapid breathing might be an indication of heart or lung problems.

Thus, if your young puppy is having a fit of coughs, panting, and rapid breathing all at the same time, it may be time to visit your vet for a proper diagnosis.

How Can I Help My Puppy?

In our own little ways, we can help prevent our pups from breathing fast while sleeping. Here are some of the simple and easy remedies we can resort to. So, how can I slow down my dog’s breathing?

When our puppies are dreaming…

When our puppies are breathing fast while in dreamland, there is really not much we can do.

If we want to keep our dogs happy even when he sleeps, we can provide a better resting and sleeping place for them. It might help him have better dreams or have a deep sleep without bad dreams. Getting your pup something that makes him more comfortable, like a soft bed like this MidWest Homes for Pets Deluxe Super Plush Pet Beds might just do the trick.

But if the breathing is too rapid for your liking and is making you uncomfortable, you can gently get your pup out of your dream state. First, call out your dog by his name in a soft voice. Gently bring him out of sleep just like you are waking up a baby. He might be a bit disoriented at first upon waking up. That’s why you need to wake your pup up gently.

If he responds and wakes up, comfort him by talking to him in a soothing voice. You may then allow him to sleep again. Hopefully, he does not go back to the same dream state that would cause him to breathe fast.

It is important that our pups are comfortable as they sleep

When our puppies have high body temperatures…

Also, check your furry friend’s body temperature to see that his rapid breathing is not due to fever or chills. You can do this with the Hurinan Animal Electronic Thermometer, a dog thermometer available on Amazon.com. Puppies tend to have fast breathing when they have a fever.

When our pups are in a warm environment…

When he is hot because it is the summertime and the room is hot, turn on an air conditioner to cool the environment and your puppy.

Or, turn on an electric fan and direct it towards your puppies to lower their heart rate and prevent fast breathing. This two-speed dog crate fan would be worth your investment in keeping your puppies and dogs comfortable and happy.

Cooling them down is important

When our puppies just finished a strenuous activity…

After a long day playing frisbee, after taking a long walk, or after a strenuous activity with your new puppy, he will be panting and catching his breath. Our dogs would need some time to get their breathing back to normal. Allow your puppy to rest for his breathing and body temperature to settle down.

It would be a good idea to give your dog cool water to quench his thirst. This will also help lower his body temperature. You may mix his water with this K9 Power - Go Dog to keep your dog hydrated and provide protection from body overheating and dehydration and prevent your dog from hyperventilating or from breathing faster.

Get your puppies something to cool them down, like a cooling mat. You may want to get your puppy this The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Mat or this Chillz Cooling Mat For Dogs for him to rest and cool down. By doing so, he will not feel hot when he takes a nap and will prevent your puppy from breathing fast while sleeping.

Puppy drinking

When Can You Consider That Your Puppy Is Breathing Fast?

How should your puppy’s breathing be for it to be considered fast?

It must be noted that a dog’s normal breathing rate is not the same as that of a puppy. Generally, puppies have a faster breathing rate than adult dogs.

Additionally, certain conditions also affect the normal breathing and heart rate of our puppy. It may be affected by their age, size, and activity level.

Normal Breathing Rate for Puppies

The Animal Emergency Center has noted that the normal breathing rate for puppies is 15‐40 breaths per minute, while that of dogs is 10‐30 breaths per minute.

However, small adult dogs would still have an average breathing rate the same as that of a puppy.

If you notice your pup’s breathing rate to be way above normal, this can be a sign of an underlying health issue. At this point, it is best to seek veterinary advice.

How To Count Your Puppy’s Breathing Rate

To check the breathing rate of your pup, look closely at the movement of your puppy’s chest every time they breathe. Time the movement and count how many times your puppy breathes in.

You may also want to place a finger under your puppy’s nostrils close enough to feel his breath every time he exhales.

Count how many times they breathe in and out for 30 seconds. When you multiply the number by two, you will get the breathing rate per minute.

If it isn’t too much of a bother for you or your puppy, you can also count their breathing rate for 60 seconds.

Counting puppy's normal breathing rate

Last Words

Now knowing the things above, in most cases, a puppy breathing fast while sleeping should not be a cause for alarm.

Rapid breathing while sleeping is a regular occurrence among puppies. Hence, there is no need to panic.

But if fast breathing occurs along with other symptoms like loss of appetite, chills, fever, coughing, etc., that’s the time for you to be concerned.

When you cannot identify the reason for your puppy’s rapid breathing, you need to bring them to see a vet. Consult your vet so he can check on your puppy. The vet would have the best recommendations for whatever your puppies need.