Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping?

At some point, you may have been concerned when you noticed your dog breathing fast while sleeping. But it is more alarming when you notice your new puppy breathing fast while sleeping for the first time.

And so, you might wonder, “Why is my new puppy breathing fast while sleeping? Is it completely normal? Is my puppy sick, and should I be alarmed?”

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 noticed 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 are panting 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 your pups 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 noticed 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 rapidly breathing too, 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 him. 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, talk to him that everything is alright. 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.

When our puppies have high body temperature…

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.

Cool Pup Crate Fan, 8x6.25x2.5” in Size – Quiet Battery Fan Keeps Dogs & Cats Cool with Built-in Thermometer

When our puppies just finished a strenuous activity…

After a long day playing frisbee, or 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 the 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 PETPLUS Dog Cooling Mat, Pet Cooling Pads 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.

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.

Additionally, certain conditions also affect the normal breathing and heart rate of our puppy.

So, how many breaths should a puppy take per minute?

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.

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.

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.