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Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping – Should I Be Worried?

Are you a new dog owner who is discovering new things about having a dog every day? The latest thing you've noticed might be that your puppy seems to be breathing really fast while asleep. Is this something you should worry about?

puppy breathing fast while sleeping

Is your puppy breathing very fast while asleep and you don’t know what it means?

Is it something alarming you should pay attention to?

After our previous article on dogs breathing fast we got a lot of questions regarding puppies breathing fast while sleeping. We wanted to answer this question and explore why puppies tend to do this. So let’s get started!


Since you’re reading this article it means that you’re not alone to wonder about your puppy breathing fast! This is very common, especially when you’re a first time dog owner and you’re still in the learning process.

Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything in this article. Let’s start with taking look at some common reasons behind the fast breathing and a puppy’s breathing rate.

Why Is My Puppy Breathing Fast?

Some reasons behind puppies breathing fast are not a mystery, such as a lot of playing and exercise or warm temperatures. In these cases, your puppy is simply caching his breath.

In other situations you may not understand exactly why your puppy is breathing faster than usual. If you notice that your pup is breathing rapidly while asleep you may be worried and ask yourself why he’s doing it.

That’s what we’re taking a look at today!

Higher Breathing Rates

The first and easiest explanation behind puppies breathing fast is the fact that puppies have a bit more higher breathing rate than adult dogs. According to The Animal Emergency Center, the normal breathing rate is somewhere between 10 and 30 breaths pet minute, while puppies breath 10 to 40 times per minute.

It would be good to be sure of what normal breathing rate is when it comes to your puppy. Count his breathing rate when he’s relaxed at home so that you know how elevated it is when you notice your puppy breathing faster.

Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping

You’re watching your cute puppy sleeping when suddenly you notice that it’s breathing unusually fast like in the video above? In addition, your dog may be twitching, wriggling or whining. Naturally, you ask yourself if everything is OK?

Should I Be Worried?

Fortunately, puppies breathing fast while sleeping is completely normal and isn’t something you should worry about. Rapid breathing is something almost all puppies do when they fall asleep. That’s the case with babies as well, interestingly enough.

What’s The Reason Behind The Fast Breathing?

Puppies are breathing so fast and moving during their sleep because they’re dreaming. Even though we can’t tell what they’re dreaming about, it’s safe to say that dreams are usually exciting, scary and strange.

Namely, its breathing rate is increasing when dreaming. Puppies usually dream a lot more than adult dogs and, besides breathing fast, they can even bark, growl, whine and move in the sleep. This happens during the REM phase, when brain waves are fast and irregular and the mental activity is higher.

Puppies have much faster heart and breathing rates than grown-up dogs. Over time, while they’re growing up, the breathing will become slower but when they’re puppies the breathing will be fast. As sleep is crucial for their development, fast breathing can be considered as a training for the respiratory system.

Adult Dog Asleep VS Puppy Asleep

There’s a huge difference between the way adult dogs sleep and the way puppies do. This is why puppies breath much faster when asleep.

Grown-up dogs are definitely more quiet and calm when they sleep. It can happen that he snores, twitches or makes other noises but it’s usually a sleep without noise.

A puppy, on the other side, is a more active sleeper. He’s moving more and it’s body is twitching and it’s like the whole body is participating in the dreams. They might even whine, bark or suckle if they’re dreaming about nursing.

When Should I Be Concerned?

If your puppy is eating and drinking, doesn’t have diarrhea and isn’t vomiting there’s no need to be worried if he’s breathing faster when asleep. However, watch out for these symptoms if you’re suspecting that something isn’t right:

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Rapid breathing when awake without any apparent reason
  • Problems with growth and development
  • Very tired and lethargic
  • Not playing as much as usual

If you notice these symptoms on top of fast breathing you should take your dog to the vet in order to see if something is wrong. However, if your puppy is breathing fast only during sleep there’s no reason to be worried!


Puppies tend to breath a lot faster than adult dogs in their sleep, it’s completely normal! You don’t have anything to worry about fortunately. This rapid breathing is due to higher breathing rate and dreaming while asleep.

Sleeping is very important to puppies as it’s during sleep their growing and development take place. Therefore, when your dog is still a puppy he’s developing the respiratory system while breathing fast at night.

Being a new dog owner is exciting and you learn something every day! Now you can cross this off of your list – puppy breathing fast while sleeping is usually harmless and something most puppies go through.

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