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Why is My Dog Breathing Fast While Sleeping? (Facts & Tips 2023)

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If your dog is breathing fast while sleeping, you are understandably concerned, especially if you have no idea what could be going on.

It may be a dream about a high-speed chase of squirrels, perhaps accompanied by hilarious leg movements as they try to run in their sleep, but sometimes it’s more than that.

If you were wondering, “why is my dog breathing fast while sleeping” then you’re not alone. Let’s discuss why dog breathes heavily when sleeping, whether it’s dangerous and what pet owners can do to help.

What is the Normal Respiratory Rate for Healthy Dogs?

Before jumping to why your dog can breathe faster than usual, we define for the first time what is expected and what is abnormal when it comes to canine breathing.

According to veterinary studies, the regular respiratory rate (SRR) of a healthy dog ​​(SRR) or the resting respiratory rate (RRR) must have between 10 and 25 breaths per minute.

A typical RRR surely should be in 30 breaths per minute.

Why is My Dog Breathing Fast While Sleeping?

dog breathing fast while sleepingWhile rapid breathing or gasping during sleep can sometimes be a sign of a health condition, in most cases, it is nothing to worry about. Still, it’s a good idea to learn about a dog’s standard sleeping patterns and watch for signs that something is wrong.

Here are some common reasons why your dog breathes heavily when sleeping:

  • Asthma
  • Breed characteristics (soft-faced breeds may be more prone to respiratory problems)
  • Kennel cough
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Trachea (windpipe) problems
  • Rhinitis (infection bacterial or fungal in the nasal chambers)
  • Pressure in the trachea
  • Rigid airways
  • Inhalation of smoke
  • The collapse of the trachea
  • Lung diseases such as cancer, parasitic infections, or pneumonia
  • Lungs tablets
  • Hernia
  • Heatstroke
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Medications
  • Exercise

What Do I Do if My Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping?

puppy breathing fast while sleepingIf your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping, it might be a good idea to look for other factors. For example, stomach problems combined with rapid breathing can indicate poisoning.

In contrast, gum discoloration or an unusual body temperature can indicate problems such as heart failure or fluid in the lungs.

Waking up your dog can be an acceptable way to check whether or not he’s dreaming, but waking him up from REM sleep can be just as disorienting for him as it is for you.

If you choose this course of action, calmly call them by name and reassure them that all is well.

When Should I Contact My Vet About My Dog’s Breathing?

If you notice that your dog is breathing fast while resting or breathing fast while sleeping, he could be experiencing respiratory distress. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Noticeably labored breathing (engages stomach muscles to help to breathe)
  • Pale, blue, or brick red gums
  • Reluctance to drink, eat, or in motion
  • Living with the mouth open while resting
  • Drooling without character
  • Rapid, heavy breathing that sounds louder or different from normal panting

How Will the Vet Diagnose the Cause of My Dog’s Rapid Breathing?

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam to determine if your dog’s respiratory problem is a problem with the heart, circulatory system, lungs, airways, neck, head, or another area. Your pet’s general health may also be causing a problem.

Your vet should be aware of any previous medical problems your dog has experienced and may recommend diagnostic tests such as X-rays to check the heart, lungs, and abdomen for issues such as lung tumors or broken ribs.

The vet will also monitor your dog for any signs of anxiety, stress, or other psychological factors that may be causing the rapid breathing.

How Can I Prevent Dog Heavy Breathing in the Future?

dog breathes heavy when sleepingWhile you may not avoid a dog breathing fast during sleep, it is essential to remember that it is not always necessary. Remember, your puppy is frolicking in dreamland during his REM cycle and developing his respiratory systems.

Adult dogs are different, and it is essential to remember that other health problems can accompany rapid breathing. Checking his gums and body temperature regularly will help monitor your puppy’s health.

Your diet is also essential! Because your partner’s stomach cannot support various foods that we eat, such as onions and garlic, it is crucial to keep these foods out of reach. Remember that leftovers go to the fridge to eat later, not your puppy’s bowl!


Despite the myriad of medical conditions that can cause puppy breathing fast while sleeping, most dogs do not experience any medical problems. A little caution never hurt anyone, but don’t panic until you’ve at least consult your vet. Maybe you can leave sleeping dogs behind!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.