My Dog Breathing So Fast: Is It an Emergency?

My Dog Breathing So Fast

Most people who have pets have spent a lot of time just looking at them. It helps us feel less stressed and reassures us that our pets are doing well, feeling calm, and staying healthy. If you’re a dog owner, you’ve probably noticed your dog breathing heavily or panting. This is pretty normal, especially if they’ve just had a good run around, played rough, or been active outside. Dogs don’t sweat like humans, so panting is their way of cooling down. Usually, they’ll calm down and start breathing normally within 30 minutes to an hour after being active.
In the following, we will check whether an emergency vet visit to a veterinarian is necessary or not.

Dog Breathing So Fast

Why Is My Dog Breathing So Fast?

Normally, dogs take about 10 to 40 breaths per minute when they’re just chilling. When they’re active, like during play or exercise, they naturally breathe faster, sometimes up to 10 times more than usual. So, if your pup is going all out, their breathing rate can go up to 100 to 350 times per minute. Now, there are different reasons why dogs breathe fast, and stress and anxiety are two big ones. Fast breathing is also known as hyperventilation, which is something us humans experience too.

When dogs hyperventilate, they take quick, shallow breaths. You might notice your dog keeping alert, with eyes wide open and head up, and an elevated heart rate. If you see these signs or any changes in their breathing, it’s time to figure out what’s going on. If your dog occasionally breathes fast, it’s usually not a big deal. It could be stress from thunder or fireworks (many dogs don’t like those), nervousness from meeting a new dog, general anxiety about going out more, or something as simple as drinking water too quickly on a hot day.

Remember, dogs don’t only pant because they’re breathing fast. They also pant to control their body temperature and cool down. When they pant, water and heat evaporate from their tongue, so you might notice faster breathing in hot weather. Since dogs don’t sweat like us, they need to breathe fast to avoid overheating, whether it’s from a workout or just a scorching day. Fast breathing in dogs is their way of keeping cool.


When should I worry about my dog breathing fast?

If your dog is panting a lot when they’re not doing much or when they’re asleep, it might mean they’re having trouble breathing. It’s a good idea to get in touch with your vet if you see any of these signs:

  1. Your dog seems to be using their stomach muscles a lot to breathe.
  2. They don’t want to eat, drink, or move around.
  3. Their gums look pale, bluish, or reddish.
  4. They’re drooling more than usual.
  5. They’re breathing with their mouth open.
  6. Their breathing is heavy and fast, and it’s different from their normal panting.


Why Dogs Breathe Fast: Common Reasons

If your dog is panting a lot or breathing fast, it might be a sign of some health problems. Here are some possible reasons:

Asthma: Like people, dogs can have asthma, making them breathe faster.
Breed Traits: Some dogs with flat faces might have more trouble breathing.
Kennel Cough: It’s like a doggy cold and can make them breathe quickly.
Laryngeal Paralysis: When the voice box doesn’t work right, it can affect their breathing.
Issues with the Windpipe: Problems with the tube that helps them breathe.
Rhinitis: Infections in the nose can speed up their breathing.
Pressure on the Windpipe: Something pushing on their throat can make them breathe fast.
Stiff Airways: If their airways don’t move well, they might breathe quickly.
Smoke Inhalation: Breathing in smoke can cause fast breathing.
Trachea Problems: The tube carrying air might collapse or get narrow.
Lung Troubles: Like cancer, infections, or pneumonia, can make them breathe fast.
Squeezed Lungs: Something pressing on their lungs can affect their breathing.
Hernia: A problem in their belly can make them breathe fast.
Heatstroke: When they get too hot, dogs pant a lot to cool down.
Anemia: Not enough red blood cells can affect their breathing.
Nausea: Feeling sick might make them breathe fast.
Pain: If they hurt, they might breathe quickly.
Medication: Some drugs can affect their breathing.
Exercise: After running around, dogs might breathe fast, which is normal.

How do you help a dog that’s breathing fast?

The treatment for your dog’s fast breathing depends on what’s causing it. If it’s due to pain, your vet might give them pain relief. Sometimes, they might need fluids through a vein with calcium or other medications. If stress or anxiety is making your pet breathe fast, they might need special training from a certified dog behaviorist.

No matter why your furry friend is having trouble breathing, they’ll probably need rest and oxygen therapy. Most dogs can get this treatment at home, but some might need extra special care or even a stay at the hospital. Your vet and their team will guide you on how to take care of your pup at home and support their recovery.


Is breathing fast in dogs an emergency?

When your dog is breathing fast, it’s kind of like assessing whether it’s a big deal or not depends on a few things. If your pup just had a wild play session or some heavy exercise, they might pant a bit, and that’s usually cool. It’s their way of cooling down. But, if your dog is breathing fast out of the blue, for a long time, or comes with other weird signs like weakness or coughing, that’s a red flag – and it’s time to talk to the vet.

Especially if your dog already has some health stuff going on, like a wonky heart or breathing issues, any change in their breathing pattern can be a sign that things aren’t going too well. And if there’s been some accident, injury, or they’ve eaten something funky, and they’re huffing and puffing, that’s definitely a situation where you want to get the vet involved pronto. Better to play it safe and get expert advice on what’s going on with your four-legged friend.


Sum Up

If your dog is breathing rapidly for an extended period, especially if it is accompanied by unusual symptoms like weakness, consulting with a veterinarian is advisable. This is particularly crucial if your dog has pre-existing health conditions or has been exposed to potential sources of trauma or ingestion of harmful substances. At Parliament Animal Hospital, we offer thorough checkups to assess your pet’s health and well-being. Whether it’s after intense play or seems unrelated, our veterinary team can help determine the best course of action, ensuring optimal care for your furry friend.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog breathe fast after exercise?

Dogs naturally breathe faster during physical activity to cool down. It’s a normal behavior that usually resolves within 30 minutes to an hour after exercise.


When should I worry about my dog’s fast breathing?

If your dog pants excessively during rest, shows signs of distress like using stomach muscles to breathe, refuses food, or has unusual gum color, consult your vet.


What are common reasons for dogs breathing fast?

Fast breathing can result from stress, anxiety, overheating, or health issues like asthma, kennel cough, or problems with the windpipe.


How can I help my dog with fast breathing?

Treatment depends on the cause. Pain may require medication, while stress-related breathing might need training from a dog behaviorist. Rest and oxygen therapy are generally recommended.


Is fast breathing always an emergency in dogs?

Not always. It’s normal after exercise, but if it persists, occurs suddenly, or comes with other symptoms like weakness or coughing, seek vet advice, especially if your dog has pre-existing health conditions or potential exposure to harmful substances.

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