My dog ​​breathes short and very fast. Is it normal or should I go to the vet?

Did you know, when at rest, a healthy dog ​​takes between 15 and 35 breaths per minute ?

Therefore, if your dog does more than 35-40 breaths per minute, it is recommended that you go to the vetbecause it can be a symptom of some disease or ailment.

Nevertheless, The fact that your dog is panting or breathing rapidly is not always a sign that something is wrong. For example, when it is very hot or after running, it is normal for the dog to pant, as it is his way of regulating body temperature. Since he doesn’t sweat like we do, rapid breaths allow oxygen to circulate effectively by the respiratory system.

In this article we will analyze the different causes why a dog can breathe short and fastso that you learn to determine when it is advisable to call the vet.

Should I go to the vet if my dog ​​is panting and breathing fast?

rapid breathing in dogs may simply be due to excitement or exercise. Also, they can pant when they are afraid, stressed or hot. Panting is one of the most important forms of thermoregulation in the dog and can be perfectly normal.

Nevertheless, It can also be a symptom of a disease. or ailment, so it is important that you keep an eye on it and call your vet if in doubt.

When can I tell that a dog is breathing too fast?

The normal breathing of a dog implies taking a breath between 15 and 35 times per minute. Therefore, anything below 30 breaths per minute is considered normal and anything below above 35 is cause for concern.

In general, It is recommended that you go to the vet if your dog has more than 30 breaths per minute when it is at rest.

To measure the breaths per minute that your dog does, make sure that he is at rest, because, as we said, after exercising it is normal for him to breathe quickly.

In fact, when exercising, the frequency of respirations can increase up to 10 timesthat is, your dog can reach between 100 and 350 breaths per minute.

Other symptoms that indicate that my dog ​​is not breathing normally

In addition to the number of breaths per minute, you should pay attention to other symptoms that indicate that your dog may have respiratory problems and require veterinary attention:

  • Does abnormal noises when breathing, such as grunting, hissing, or harsh sounds.
  • panting for no reason apparent (he is relaxed, he has not come from exercising, it is not too hot, he is not lying in the sun).
  • Breathe fast, with the mouth slightly open and without sticking out the tongue.
  • He drools more than usual.
  • Push with the abdomen for air to enter or exit.
  • the breath is fast and shallow or too slow and deep.
  • Their gums or your tongue are blue or purple.
  • Breathe hard or fast while standing up and does not want to rest or lie down for a long time.
  • It seems that it’s hard to catch your breath or looks upset.
  • The dog refuses to drink, eat or move.
  • The dog has a heavy and rapid breathing which sounds different from his usual panting.

My dog ​​is breathing too fast. What happens?

Your dog’s rapid breathing could be a symptom of a disease or condition, so it’s best to contact your vet in order to make a correct diagnosis.

Some potential causes of rapid breathing in your dog that you should pay attention to are:

brachycephalic syndrome

The dog is brachycephalic and has the respiratory problems characteristic of these breeds. By having the snouts too short, their airways are smaller and may be squashed. Therefore, they are more prone to suffer from these types of problems.

laryngeal paralysis

When the nerves that control the muscles of the larynx fail, the laryngeal flaps do not move and the entrance to the trachea is partially obstructed, less air reaching the lungs.

this paralysis can be caused by neck trauma or other health problems.

Symptoms include raspy breathing, increased panting, and loud, high-pitched breathing, which worsens when the dog is excited. In addition, the dog’s voice changes, that is, the barking sounds different.


Bacterial, viral or fungal infections that affect the respiratory tract, such as kennel cough.


When the air sacs can’t do their job effectively, not enough oxygen is getting into the blood and the dog’s breathing speeds up or becomes labored. Two other common symptoms of pneumonia are fever and lethargy.

collapsed trachea

Lower respiratory tract disease, such as bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The inflammation causes the narrowing of the lower airways. This makes it harder for oxygen to get to the lungs and for carbon dioxide to get out of the lungs.

As a result, dogs with lower respiratory tract disease may cough frequently, display rapid, heavy breathing, and pant excessively.

fluid in the lungs

Excessive fluid buildup in the lungs can cause your dog to breathe fast and may also be indicative of other underlying conditions.

Heart failure

When the dog’s heart begins to fail, not enough oxygen is circulating through his body, and breathing speeds up to increase that level of oxygen in the circulatory system.

Dogs with heart failure often have a persistent cough and often refuse to exercise or get tired too soon.


Dogs only have sweat glands on their paws, so cannot dissipate heat very effectively Y use respiration to regulate temperature.

When they overheat, they breathe rapidly, to increase the flow of oxygen and lower their body temperature.

Go quickly to the vetbecause heat stroke can affect your internal organs and cause death. requires urgent attention.


A lower red blood cell count (anemia) means there is less oxygen circulating, and your dog’s body may react by increasing respiration. Pale gums, lethargy, and weakness are other signs of anemia.

Anemia can be life-threatening for your dog, so it’s It is important that you go to the vet.


Excessive panting and rapid breathing may be signs that your dog is in pain from something. It is important that go to the vet to determine the cause.


Cancer in dogs can affect their breathing in different ways. If the cancer is lung, the swelling and pressure from the tumor can cause coughing and trouble breathing. Cancer in other parts of the body can metastasize (ie spread) to the lungs, which can also cause the dog to breathe more rapidly.

Also, some cancers can cause fluid to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or around them (pleural effusion). The pulmonary edema interferes with the dog’s ability to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, and the pleural effusion prevents the lungs from fully expanding. Both conditions can lead to increased respiratory rate or changes in respiratory effort.


In addition to panting excessively or breathing rapidly, anxious dogs may also yawn when not tired, cringe and tremble, or become destructive or aggressive.

other causes

Rapid breathing can also be caused by other conditions, such as asthma, food poisoning, smoke inhalation, parasites, hernia, nausea, or the effect of some medication, among others.

What can the vet do if my dog ​​is breathing too fast?


The vet will examine the dogto determine if it is a problem with the heart, circulatory system, lungs, airways, neck, head, or another area.

He will check if your dog may have a broken rib, a tumor or an organ problem.

You may decide to do some bone scan and to look for the presence of other factors that may lead to rapid breathing, such as a tumor, stress or anxiety.


The treatment depends on the underlying cause that leads your dog to present this type of breathing.

If you are in pain, he will prescribe medications to alleviate it, in addition to those intended to eliminate the illness or disease you suffer from.


  • If your dog takes more than 35 breaths per minute, it is important that you go to the vet.
  • Panting and rapid breathing can be normal, but it can also be a symptom of a disease or problem.
  • When a dog is exercising, their breathing can be up to 10 times faster than normal.
  • Attend to the symptoms that may indicate that your dog needs veterinary help

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