puppy laying on a wooden deck

Why Does My Puppy Breath So Fast When Sleeping?

When you bring home a little puppy, it can be an exciting time. However, after the pup has settled in, you might notice some behavior that can be confusing. One of those issues is fast breathing. This breathing can occur in young puppies and old dogs. It might worry you, but there are plenty of reasons for rapid breathing, especially during sleep, in your dog. Here are a few things that you need to know about fast puppy breathing. 

What Is Rapid Breathing? 

When an adult dog is relaxed, she will take about 30 breaths per minute. However, puppies have to work a little harder and might take about 40 breaths during that same time. Depending on the health of the puppy, they could breathe faster or slower. 

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If you are concerned about rapid breathing, there are a few things that you can do to monitor your puppy. First, find those areas where your dog sleeps or relaxes. Once you have done that, place a timer and set it for 60 seconds. Start the clock and watch for those puppy breaths. The amount of breaths in that time frame is your puppy's breathing rate. You can take an average of the puppy's breathing rates by repeating this two to three times. 

a puppy sleeping in someone's arms

Why Does a Puppy Breathe Fast During Sleep?

Puppies breathe fast for a variety of reasons. You might think that your new buddy is sick, but that is often not the case. Most cases of rapid breathing will slow pretty quickly, and that will not be repeated. 

However, there are some reasons why you will want to take your puppy to the vet. First, if your puppy breathes rapidly during sleep and wakeful hours, it could be a sign of a problem. Fast breathing can interfere with your puppy's ability to walk, play, and run. Any heavy breathing that lasts longer than a few minutes could be a cause for concern. If it doesn't slow down, you will definitely want to take your puppy in for a vet appointment. 

Related: How To Avoid Dog Toys Everywhere

Reasons for Rapid Breathing

Fast breathing doesn't just happen during sleep. Here are some of those common reasons you might see rapid breathing during the puppy's wakeful hours

Strenuous Activity

When you participate in strenuous activity, like fast walking or jogging, you probably breathe heavier. From the same standpoint, your puppy will breathe the same way. If you take your puppy out for a long walk or play a rigorous game of catch, he will act in a similar manner. With a healthy dog, their breathing should return to normal pretty quickly


Have you ever noticed that a dog will move their legs fast while they slumber? With puppies, they can also experience dreams that cause them to have accelerated breathing. In many cases, rapid breathing can occur along with barking noises, leg movement, and rapid eye movement. If you notice this with your puppy, she is enjoying an exciting dream. You don't have to interfere and wake up your dog. Allow her to dream, and you will see that the breathing will return to normal. 


In some cases, your puppy might be hot. By turning on the air conditioner or fan, you can decrease the temperature in your room. If your puppy is still too hot, the bedding might be made out of material that makes your friend warm. Any direct sunshine can warm up a space. If that is the case with your dog, you should think about moving the bed to another spot. Once the puppy has cooled down, your puppy's breathing will return to normal.

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Stress or Anxiety

With a new environment, your puppy could get a little stressed from experience. When that happens, it is normal for the pup to have rapid breathing. There are plenty of reasons for anxiety in puppies, including separation from littermates and their mother, transition to a new home, taking a car ride, and playing with other puppies. Even the act of going to a dog park can create a little anxiety in your puppy. 

You will want to monitor your puppy and see what leads to rapid breathing. Once you have learned what upsets the dog, you can take her out of those situations. Gradually, you need your dog to explore out of her comfort zone. Remember, you don't want to have a dog that is frightened by new experiences. In some cases, bringing home a puppy from a shelter or rescue home can lead to anxiety. You want to give your pup some time to adjust to those new surroundings. Some treats and encouragement can help with this process. 

Medical Problems or Illness

Unfortunately, rapid breathing could be a sign of an underlying medical condition or illness. Once you've ruled out the above reasons, you might want to schedule time with a vet. With that, you can learn if your puppy's breathing is typical or if there is a sign of trouble. 

Related: Where to Donate Dog Toys 

puppy on a couch

Final Word

When you see your puppy peacefully sleeping in his bed, and fast breathing could be alarming to you. However, in most cases, there is no reason to worry. Rapid breathing could be caused by a variety of reasons, including dreaming. You can always check it out with your vet for added peace of mind if you are really concerned. For the most part, your puppy is exhibiting normal behavior. You need to relax and allow your puppy to settle in at your home. 

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