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Is Your Pup Panting in Sleep? | Possible Reasons & Ways to Treat Explained

Your little puppy is sleeping peacefully when he suddenly starts breathing heavily. A lot of thoughts are going through your head– do puppies breathe fast? Is it normal? Should I be concerned? Is he running in his dream? What should I do? Well, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will address all your concerns and answer all your questions why puppy breathing fast while sleeping. While fast breathing during sleep is, in most cases, normal for young pups, in some instances, it can be a cause of concern. Let us begin by addressing the reasons behind this fast breathing.

Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping – Why?

As we mentioned earlier, puppy breathing very fast while sleeping on its cozy bed in the small dog house is quite normal. There can be several reasons behind your pooch’s rapid breathing in its sleep, some natural and some not so much.

  • The main reason could be an exciting dream. Pups, like humans, dream during their REM sleep period. The aforementioned eye movements beneath closed eyes distinguish REM, which stands for “rapid eye movement.” The REM in dogs is associated with increased brain activity. A dog will require extra energy during the REM phase than normal breathing rate for dogs. Your puppy will start breathing faster to take in more air. A puppy’s REM cycle is far more active than a well-mature dog’s. If that is the case, the fast breathing will stop as your puppy’s sleeping pattern alters.
  • However, a dream only lasts for 5-10 minutes. Suppose fast breathing lasts longer than that; it could point to hidden problems. Before getting worried, you should consider some factors, like your puppy’s age or size. For instance, young pups have quicker respiratory and cardiac rates even when resting than adult dogs. This usually resolves itself as the puppy grows older. 
  • Moreover, smaller breeds of dogs, like French bulldogs and Pugs, may have comparatively higher respiratory rates throughout their lives. Also, species with flat or squashed snouts are more likely to pant than dogs with longer muzzles.
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  • One more possible reason could be stress or anxiety. If your puppy has recently been adopted, his anxiety levels will probably be elevated as he adapts to the unfamiliar setting. He is no longer with his mother or sibling, which can be scary for him and might create distress. Stress and anxiety might increase your puppy’s respiration rate. However, you have nothing to be concerned about from a medical point of view.
  • In other cases, rapid breathing in dogs while sleeping can point toward a more significant cardiovascular problem. It can be a grave source of concern and must not be ignored. Observe your dog and look for signs like dog breathing fast while resting even when your pet is awake or looks tired or lethargic. If you observe these signs, then there could be some hidden medical conditions that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Medical Reasons Why Dogs Breath Fast

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, there could be several medical reasons behind your dear pet’s heavy inhaling and exhaling while sleeping.

  • Cardiomyopathy or Congestion in the Heart – It causes the dog’s breathing rate to increase in an attempt to enhance blood circulation. Hence, you will face the issue with dog breathing heavy and fast.
  • Anemia – Gasping for breath due to lack of oxygen may also occur in dogs suffering from anemia. Anemia reduces the number of RBCs, whose primary function is carrying oxygen to the different parts of the body.
  • Asthma – Puppies suffering from allergies, asthma, or other cardiovascular ailments can impair airway function and make it difficult for a dog to breathe.
  • Laryngeal Paralysis – It is a disorder that involves laryngeal malfunction, which reduces the capacity to inhale deeply and, therefore, can clog the airways.
  • Kennel Cough – It is a common name for Bronchitis in dogs. It can be caused by various bacteria and viruses, usually a mix of both. It puts strain on their cardiovascular system, resulting in breathing discomfort.
  • Onion/garlic Poisoning – Onions and garlic are bad for stomach and might cause the situation where a dog breathes fast. It should be noted that this is frequently accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive salivation.
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Rapid Breathing Vs Panting in Dogs

  • Panting is a natural trait in dogs and indicates a happy, healthy, and active dog. It allows dogs to cool down their body temperature because they cannot sweat like humans.
  • Panting allows your dog to swiftly inhale, moisten, and expel oxygen, accelerating the evaporation of water from his nose and lungs. This evaporation helps in cooling down your dog’s body. Puppy panting while sleeping is typical, but excessive panting can reveal an unresolved medical condition.
  • Your puppy’s fast breathing may lead to panting at times. However, this does not always imply that your dog is in distress. You should use common sense to decide whether or not your dog is in jeopardy.
  • Puppy panting in sleep and fast breathing may occur due to play, training, or walking. It may mean that your dog is just trying to cool down. Although rapid breathing in puppies is not caused only just as an alarm. So, if they appear ill or you are concerned about their health, immediately take your puppy to the doctor.
  • It might be the case if they have additional symptoms, including a loss of appetite, evidence of tiredness, or an overall lack of enthusiasm.

When to Be Concerned?

So, how can you know if your sleeping dog’s rapid breathing is typical or if it suggests a medical problem? You can start by keeping an eye on your dog when he awakens. If he appears in good general health, he is most likely simply a vivid dreamer or tense. You may also count your dog’s breaths each minute to evaluate whether his quick breathing is excessive. The average dog’s breathing rate is between 17 and 35 times each minute. It can point toward a medical condition if it is significantly more than that. Generally speaking, if your dog is breathing rapidly due to a medical ailment, he will exhibit a variety of additional symptoms-

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  • Suppose your puppy seems to be panting in an unusual stance. For instance, if his shoulders are extended out, or his elbows are split apart, he may be attempting to expand his airways and obtain more oxygen.
  • Other symptoms include chronic cough, decreased appetite, fever, and discomfort.
  • It is important to remember that high temperatures can also cause these symptoms. Because dogs, unlike humans, lack sweat glands, they release heat through their mouths via panting or quick breathing.
  • If the dog’s temperature rises even a little above its average body temperature of 37 to 39° C, it might be experiencing a heat stroke and start breathing heavily. You should ensure that wherever your pup naps, it is in an excellent place to avoid respiratory problems.
  • It is essential to note that these symptoms are not always correct and may not even appear in some cases. Do not rely on these symptoms alone; consult your vet if you think something is wrong with your puppy.

Possible Cures for Rapid Breathing in Pooches

Before taking your dog or pup to the vet, there are some home remedies that you can try to treat the rapid breathing in dogs.

  • Restrict your dog’s access to hot and humid environments.
  • Try to reduce the exercise or playtime of your dog, especially during hot days.
  • Try CBD oil for dogs. CBD often referred to as cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. It can help with the treatment of the obstructive airway.
  • You should try sterile nasal drops if your dog’s nose is dry or clogged.

However, if it is a severe medical condition, then there is nothing you can do on your own, and you have to take him to a vet. The veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination to establish the root cause of the disease. A general health condition could be the source of the problem. You must inform your vet about your puppy’s health information and if he has ever had any health issues. Blood tests and X-rays can diagnose problems such as fractured ribs or lung cancer. A thorough examination of organs will also take place.

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You and your veterinarian can also search for indications of worry, tension, or other psychological issues. The underlying reason will dictate treatment. Your vet may recommend painkillers, calcium-containing IV fluids, or medications. Regardless of the cause, rest and oxygen treatment are necessary. Behavior training with a qualified dog behaviorist might be necessary for stress or anxiety. Some dogs may need daily supervision, although you can treat most dogs at home. For dogs suffering from serious diseases, hospitalization may be the best solution.


You may worry about many medical conditions after reading the article that may cause fast breathing while sleeping. Fortunately, most dogs with rapid breathing during sleep don’t experience any medical issues. However, there is nothing terrible about being cautious. Regardless, avoid jumping to conclusions before at least consulting with your veterinarian. Your beloved puppy having a fascinating dream might also be one of the reasons why dogs breath fast.