What is a Normal Dog Respiratory Rate?

The dog respiratory rate may be influenced by a number of factors, but the average respiratory rate of the pet is considered to be 24 breaths every minute. Knowing your dog's normal range of breaths per minute is important, so that you can detect if he is ill.

Normal Dog Respiratory Rate

The average respiratory rate for canines is 24 breaths per minute, but typically a dog's respiratory rate will be between 10 and 30 breaths per minute. This number may be affected by a few factors such as:

  • The age of the dog, as puppies may have a faster respiratory rate (between 15 and 35 breaths per minute, during the first few weeks of life)
  • The breed, as some dogs may have a different anatomy of the nose that will make them breathe faster or slower
  • The activity level, a dog that has just performed an activity that involved running will have a faster respiratory rate
  • Certain drugs may slow down the respiratory rates (i.e., antidepressants), while others (i.e., cortisone) may speed up the pulse of the dog, which will also mean that the dog will breathe faster
  • The weight of the dog, as overweight dogs may pant and this can affect the respiratory rate

It's best to consult your vet to find out the average respiratory rate for your dog.

How to Check for Respiratory Rate

You should be able to measure your pet's respiratory rate at home, in case you suspect that he may have a problem that is affecting his normal breathing rate.

Get a stopwatch and try to identify when the dog is breathing. This happens when the dog's chest is moving up and down. Make sure your dog is staying still and he has not just had an intensive workout session. Measure the number of breaths per minute. Repeat the count 5 minutes later, to make sure your measurement is accurate.

Compare your results. If the two results are similar, this means that you have an accurate respiratory rate for your pet. However, if there are great differences between the two results (five or more breaths), you should repeat the count.

Illnesses Causing Abnormal Respiratory Rate

A dog respiratory rate under 10 breaths per minute is considered abnormal, and so is a rate of more than 30 breaths per minute.

If your pet's respiratory rate is abnormal, this may be due to a wide range of illnesses. An increased respiratory rate may be indicative of:

A reduced respiratory rate can mean that the dog:

  • Is in shock
  • May be affected by anemia
  • Has an allergic reaction that constricts his airways
  • Has lost a lot of blood

Make sure you notice other symptoms (vomiting, pale gums, blue tongue, lack or coordination) and visit the vet for a thorough evaluation.