They Shouldn’t Be Panting Right Now; Why Is My Dog Breathing Fast?

Dog breathing fast.

The average breathing rate of a healthy dog is about 27 breaths per minute. Depending on their weight and overall size, they may need to breathe faster or take in more breaths per minute. Despite having a benchmark for normalcy, some pups just breathe faster sometimes, especially if they recently exerted themselves or the temperature is high. A dog breathing fast might not always trigger immediate action, but it can signal that they need help ASAP.

Laborious, Difficult, or Fast

If your pet ever struggles to breath, please seek emergency help right away. Sudden, laborious respiration can be fatal if left alone. Difficult or laborious breathing is called dyspnoea; excessively rapid breathing is referred to as tachypnea. Both conditions require immediate veterinary assistance

The Mechanics of Breathing

Canine respiration involves the lungs, windpipe (trachea), throat, nose, and mouth. Brachycephalic, or flat-faced, breeds are commonly affected by breathing problems because of the shape of the nose and soft palate. Certain toy breeds can face challenges related to the shape and size of the windpipe.

Respiration not only sends oxygen-rich blood throughout the body (and removes carbon dioxide), breathing aids in the regulation of internal body temperature. If they get too hot, or work too hard, they will increase the pace of breathing.

Assessing the Situation

Some pets will have an uptick in respiration without showing any signs of illness or injury. In other words, aside from their breathing they seem totally fine. If you count more than 40 breaths per minute, examine your pet for any of these symptoms that may also coincide with breathing difficulties:

  • Coughing, snorting, or rasping noises
  • Hunching over or craning the neck
  • Blue gums
  • Hoarse vocalization
  • Anxiety
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Sitting up in order to breath

Help a Dog Breathing Fast

The following reasons for breathing abnormalities are serious and warrant quick action and intervention:

  • Trauma
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Heat stroke
  • Foreign body obstruction
  • Lung disease
  • Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis, pneumonia, or canine influenza
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Heart failure
  • Toxicity
  • Obesity or metabolic issues
  • Anatomical issue
  • Bloated or distended abdomen
  • Tumors
  • Allergies
  • Laryngeal paralysis

It should also be noted that some medication prescribed to pets can cause serious side effects, including strain while breathing. Please call us right away if you suspect your pet’s medication is responsible for symptoms.

Getting There

A dog breathing fast depends on early diagnosis and treatment of their respiratory distress. Our team uses cutting-edge veterinary equipment to get to the bottom of emergencies. Radiographs, electrocardiograms (ECG), and ultrasounds can help us identify what’s going on. Other diagnostics may also be necessary. 

If you ever suspect that your dog isn’t feeling well, it’s best to err on the side of caution and have them examined. If they are ill and injured, they benefit from early detection. If they are healthy, you’ll have peace of mind. 

As always, please give us a call at (615) 646-7387 with any questions or concerns. Our team at Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital is always here for you.