Why Is Your Dog Breathing Fast?

Your dog may be breathing fast after running or when he is warm; however, if the dog breathes faster for no apparent reason, you need to detect the problem. There are a few reasons why your dog may be breathing fast including pain or the lack of sufficient oxygen.

The normal breathing rate of a dog is between 12 to 20 times per minute.


When a dog is in pain, he may be breathing faster than usual. Even if dogs tend to hide pain, fast rate breathing may point that the dog is suffering. You should take a look at your pet’s body and check for visible injuries; you should also check the mouth and the nasal passages. The eyes may also be injured, so pay attention to your dog’s eyes’ squinting may also indicate an eye injury.

Palpate the dog’s abdomen; if the dog pulls away, this can mean that the problem is internal.

Observe if your dog is limping.

If you cannot find anything, you might consult a vet, as the problem may be internal.

Heart Condition

Fast breathing may be indicative of a heart problem. The heart may fail to pump enough blood to the organs including the lungs, resulting in less oxygen to the organs and causing the dog to breathe faster and more superficially.

If your dog has a heart condition, he may breathe faster when lying down; an upright position helps the breathing.

Pale gums or blue/grey gums may indicate the lack of oxygen. Typically the gums should be pink. If your dog has black gums, you can check the inner part of the lower eyelid, which should be pink normally, but is blue if the dog has a lack of oxygen.

Pneumonia and Respiratory Infections

In addition to heart problems, there are other conditions that may cause breathing problems in your dog. Pneumonia and respiratory infections may also result in a lack of sufficient oxygen in the dog’s body and fast breathing.

Infections may be signaled by fever, lethargy, coughing, sneezing or ocular and nasal discharges. If the infection is severe, it may migrate to the lungs, causing pneumonia.


Asthma is caused by irritants that will cause wheezing, coughing, breathing with the mouth open and sometimes severe attacks that will cause the lack of oxygen in the dog’s organism due to the fact that the air ways are constricted.


Allergies can cause the dog to gasp for air; the air passages are irritated and may also be swollen.

In rare cases, if the dog is highly allergic to an irritant, the dog may have anaphylactic shock that causes extreme swelling of the face and air passages; the dog will breathe fast in attempt to get oxygen. 

Heat Strokes

Heat strokes are caused by the exposure of the dog to high temperatures. The dog will warm up and will try to regulate his body temperature through breathing faster.

These are a few possible reasons your dog may be breathing faster. Make sure you visit the vet if your dog has an anaphylactic shock, has a heat stroke or if you notice symptoms such as fever, blue gums, excessive panting, sudden onset of snoring or panting during nighttime.