Dog Breathing Fast While Sleeping: Common Causes and Treatments

Dog Breathing Fast While Sleeping

Learn about the common causes and treatments for dog breathing fast while sleeping. Understand when to see a vet and how to manage your furry friend’s breathing.


Living the Luxe Life
Living the Luxe Life

As a dog owner, it’s essential to monitor your furry friend’s health, including their breathing patterns. While it’s normal for dogs to breathe faster than humans, some instances of fast breathing could indicate an underlying health problem. One common concern among dog owners is when their pets breathe fast while sleeping. In this article, we’ll discuss the potential causes of this issue, how to identify abnormal breathing, and the treatments available.

Common Causes of Fast Breathing in Dogs While Sleeping

Anxiety or Stress

Dogs, like humans, can experience anxiety and stress, leading to faster breathing. Anxious dogs may breathe fast even while sleeping, as their body perceives a threat or danger. This can be due to a recent traumatic experience, such as loud noises or a change in environment. If your dog’s breathing fast while sleeping is caused by anxiety, it’s important to identify the trigger and remove it if possible or consult with a veterinarian for further treatment options.

Physical Exertion

Dogs who are highly active or have recently engaged in physical activity may breathe faster while sleeping. This is due to an increased demand for oxygen in their bodies. Similar to humans, dogs also experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which can increase their breathing rate. If you notice your dog’s breathing fast while sleeping after a day of intense play or exercise, this is likely not a cause for concern. However, if the fast breathing continues for an extended period, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

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How to Identify if Your Dog’s Breathing is Abnormal

Normal Breathing Patterns in Dogs

Before identifying abnormal breathing, it’s crucial to understand what’s considered normal breathing in dogs. Dogs typically breathe between 10 and 30 times per minute, depending on their size and activity level. Breathing should be regular and consistent, with no wheezing or coughing sounds. Additionally, dogs should not show any signs of distress while breathing, such as labored breathing or panting excessively.

Signs of Abnormal Breathing

If you notice your dog’s breathing fast while sleeping, it’s important to determine if it’s abnormal. Signs of abnormal breathing in dogs include gasping, coughing, wheezing, or choking sounds. Dogs may also breathe through their mouth instead of their nose, which can indicate respiratory distress. Other signs of abnormal breathing include blue or pale gums, a bloated stomach, or an inability to catch their breath.

When to See a Vet

When to be Concerned

If you notice any signs of abnormal breathing in your dog, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. Breathing problems can be indicative of a severe medical condition and require prompt treatment. Additionally, if your dog’s breathing fast while sleeping continues for an extended period, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian. It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health.

What to Expect During a Vet Visit

During a vet visit, the veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your dog, including listening to their heart and lungs. They may also conduct diagnostic tests such as x-rays or blood work to determine the cause of your dog’s breathing problems. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of your dog’s fast breathing, but may include medications, oxygen therapy, or surgery if necessary. Your veterinarian will provide you with a treatment plan and instructions for follow-up care.

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Treatment and Management

Treatment Options

The treatment for fast breathing in dogs while sleeping depends on the underlying cause. If your dog’s fast breathing is due to a medical condition, such as heart disease or respiratory issues, your veterinarian may prescribe medication or suggest lifestyle changes. If anxiety or stress is the cause, your veterinarian may recommend behavior modification techniques or prescribe anti-anxiety medication.

How to Help Your Dog’s Breathing

While waiting for a veterinarian’s appointment, there are a few things you can do to help your dog’s breathing. Ensure that your dog has access to a comfortable and well-ventilated sleeping area. Avoid exposing your dog to stressful or anxious situations and provide them with plenty of exercise and playtime. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and weight for your dog, as obesity can contribute to breathing issues.


As a dog owner, it’s crucial to monitor your furry friend’s breathing patterns, including when they’re sleeping. Fast breathing in dogs while sleeping can be caused by anxiety, physical exertion, or underlying medical conditions. If you notice your dog’s fast breathing continues for a prolonged period or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

By understanding the potential causes and treatments for fast breathing in dogs while sleeping, you can help your furry friend live a happy and healthy life. Remember, your furry friend depends on you to keep them safe and healthy, so make sure to provide them with the love and care they deserve.