Breathing Fast While Resting in Dogs

Why is my dog breathing fast while resting?

Most common conditions

Heart Disease / Anemia / Heart Failure

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Rated as moderate conditon

45 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Heart Disease / Anemia / Heart Failure

Why is my dog breathing fast while resting?

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What is Breathing Fast While Resting?

Many factors control fast breathing in dogs, and sometimes the underlying problem can be life threatening, especially when your dog is at rest.  Excessive and rapid breathing while resting is called tachypnea and may be a symptom of the following medical conditions:

  • Heat stroke
  • Fluid in the lungs
  • Heart failure
  • Anemia
  • Onion poisoning

The severity of your dog’s tachypnea will depend on the underlying condition causing him to breathe fast.  It is important to bring your dog to the veterinarian to determine how serious the threat is and how to treat rapid breathing best.

Why Breathing Fast While Resting Occurs in Dogs

There may be several reasons why your dog is breathing fast while at rest.  If he has just finished playing hard and is taking a rest, it is normal for him to pant or breathe rapidly for a few minutes.  However, if he does not settle his breathing or breathes fast without exerting himself, there may be an underlying medical reason.

Heat Stroke

Dogs do not have sweat glands and use their breathing as a means to cool themselves off.  When they become overheated, they will breathe rapidly and excessively. Signs of heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, include elevated body temperatures of 104F or higher, drooling, weakness, and seizures. Dogs who have flat faces, such as Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and Bull Mastiffs are at increased risk of heat stroke because they cannot pant as effectivity.  

Fluid in the Lungs

Rapid breathing in your dog may also indicate he has fluid in his lungs.  Though a small amount of fluid is usually present in a dog's lungs, excessive build up can become a serious health concern and may indicate other underlying medical conditions.  Other symptoms, such as blue-colored gums, low body temperature, and difficulty breathing may also accompany fast breathing.    

Heart Failure

Rapid breathing may be a response to congestive heart failure.  When a dog's heart starts to fail his body is not circulating enough oxygen, and rapid breathing develops to counteract the lower levels of oxygen in circulation.  Breathing will be labored as well, and your dog may show an increased intolerance for exercise.

Anemia

Anemia can occur when your dog's immune system attacks red blood cells as if they are a foreign threat.  A lower red blood cell count means less oxygen is in circulation, and your dog's body may react by increasing respiration.  Other common symptoms of anemia include weakness, jaundice, pale gums, and lethargy.  Certain breeds are predisposed to develop anemia, such as Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Shih Tzus.  Additionally, tick-borne infectious diseases have been associated with immune-related anemia.    

Onion Poisoning

A dog's diet plays a huge role in their health and feeding him table scraps meant for human consumption can have negative impacts.  Onions, when consumed in quantity, can cause fast breathing in your dog. Your dog may also excessively salivate, vomit, or have diarrhea. Garlic is an even more potent a poison than onions and should be avoided as well.

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What to do if your Dog is Breathing Fast While Resting

It is critical that you seek medical help if you have determined your dog is not breathing fast due to recently exerting himself and that he may be suffering from a medical condition.  Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency care.  If you believe your dog is experiencing heat stroke, take him to the hospital immediately.  While in transport, make efforts to cool your dog down using a wet, lukewarm towel and moving air.  If possible, record your dog's temperature every five minutes while in transport.  

Once at the hospital, the veterinarian will work to stabilize your dog's respiration and lower his body temperature.  In severe cases, your dog may have to be intubated to assist with respiration and fluid therapy is administered for stabilization.  Antibiotics may be given to prevent sepsis from bacteria if your dog is vomiting or has bloody diarrhea.  Heat stroke is a serious illness that requires immediate, early, and aggressive treatment to save your dog from organ and system failure.

Even if you do not suspect heat stroke, you should still take your dog to the veterinarian to determine why your dog is breathing fast.  Your vet will perform a physical examination and ask you when you first noticed signs of rapid breathing.  The vet will also ask for a full medical history including your dog's diet and any medications he is taking.  

Your veterinarian will listen to your dog's heart and lungs.  The vet may order chest X-rays if he suspects heart or lung issues as well as an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity of your dog's heart.        

If you suspect or know your dog has eaten onions or garlic your veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog or administer charcoal for absorption.  In severe cases, your vet may provide oxygen therapy and a blood transfusion to make up for the reduction of red blood cells as toxicosis from onions can cause anemia.

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Prevention of Breathing Fast While Resting

You may not be able to prevent heart failure in your dog as he ages, but it is important to recognize the early signs of failure so you can make lifestyle adjustments and prevent further complications.  Heat stroke, on the other hand, is entirely preventable.

Heat stroke can quickly escalate and be deadly for your dog.  To prevent suffering from heat stroke, make sure your dog has adequate water and shade while outside and only exercise him during the cooler parts of the day.  Closed in vehicles, even with windows cracked, can become extremely hot.  Never leave your dog alone in a closed vehicle.

Dog food is designed specifically for your dog, while your leftovers were made for human consumption.  Be extremely careful when feeding your dog table scraps as onions and garlic are toxic to your dog.  Though dogs do not like the taste of onion and garlic plants, keep the raw food items out of reach.  Over consumption of either can become deadly when consumed.

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Cost of Breathing Fast While Resting

The cost of treating fast breathing in your dog depends on the underlying medical condition.  For example, it can cost around $950 to treat onion poisoning whereas it can cost around $5,000 to treat heat stroke.

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Breathing Fast While Resting Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pit Bull

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

Maya seems to really be breathing fast while she is resting and while she is asleep. She also gets out of breath easy when outside or even when I put her in the car but this has been happening in the last 2 months at least. She also likes to eat socks amongst other things.

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, THere are many reasons that your dog may be breathing heavy. Things such as obesity, parasites such as heartworm, infection, or pain can cause her to breathe heavily. If your dog continues to breathe this way, it may be best for your vet to examine her to make sure that there is nothing serious going on.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Rottweiler, german Sheppard mix

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Breathing While Resting. Fast Heart Rate. Small Unknown Lump Under Left Armpit.

Hi. I’m worried this small unknown lump under his armpit might be cause heart failure for my dog. I noticed the lump about 2 weeks ago and since then it hasn’t grown much but it has grown. He seems to be perfectly okay just when he is resting he sometimes starts to breath very fast and heavily. I don’t think the lump has any blood supple because it feels Mobile and room temp and hard. The lump doesn’t seem to bother him too much when I touch it so I don’t think it is causing him any pain. Do you think I should be worried about it? Is there any trick to get him to calm down and breath normally.

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Since I cannot examine the lump, or assess his cardiovascular system, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to look at the lump and listen to his heart and lungs, and check his pulses and vital signs. They will be able to let you know more if the lump is a problem, or if they find anything abnormal on his exam. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 1, 2020

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Cockapoo

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

My dog started breathing faster suddenly when simply resting and also is becoming hard of hearing

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If your dog has recently started panting or breathing heavier, and seems to be hard of hearing, it would probably be a good idea to have a good General checkup with your veterinarian. They will be able to assess her heart and lungs, make sure that she is generally healthy, and see if there is anything that needs treatment for her. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Puggle

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Fast

My dog is breathing really fast

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. f your dog is overheated, or just had exercise, it may take a minute for your dog to stop breathing so quickly. If you are in an air-conditioned house, and your dog has not been running around at all, then it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian right away. There may be a heart or lung condition going on, or your dog may be overheating because of the breed and short face. I hope that everything goes well and that your dog is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Scottish Terrier

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling, Panting, And Less Active

She’s been really inactive and she is getting really tired when we go for walks. During the night she is also drooling quite a bit and she is breathing heave as well. For the past year she grew a cystic ball in her stomach but we sadly can’t remove it yet.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, and I am sorry that she is not feeling well. From your description, it seems that she should see a veterinarian, and have an examination to see if the tumor is causing these problems or if there is something else going on. I hope that she is okay and that they are able to help her feel better.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Nugget

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French Bulldog

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bronchitis

My 24lbs dog has been breathing fast in the midnight around 2am the last 2days (not in the afternoon or night) It was 50breathes/min. She stops breathing fast if I wake her up but I'm still worried. Right now she is taking cortisone, antibiotic, cough suppressant & opening airway meds to treat bronchitis. Vet listened to her heart & said heart sound is good. So why is she breathing fast? She doesn't cough anymore after taking meds & besides breathing fast in the midnight, she eats, plays, and poops well.

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Blackie

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Mountain cu

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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My 12 year old mountain kur is breathing fast,shallow rabid breathing while sleeping, this new. Every position is the same. He has slowed down in his years but still runs,eats well and drinks. He does has running eyes and sneezing. Allergies? Fluid on lungs? No medication except for an allergy pill, just started this wee

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Mitsey

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Jack Russell

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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-1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Shivering

My jack russel, Mitsey, is 10 years old and has been showing some symptoms lately and our family aren’t sure wether it’s due to an illness or her life coming to an end. Her breathing has become rapid, heart beating fast. She’s has a loss of appetite and has eaten a minimal amount of food during the week.Though, any time she has eaten her body can’t keep the food down, thus leading to vomiting. Mitsey has been shivering/trembling and after letting her outside she sat in the middle of the garden staring at a fence. Our other dog has been barking at Mitsey and we are questioning whether he senses her time is near. Any ideas? We are all so worried and hope it’s just a stomach bug, but with her age we are concerned. Thank you.

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Perseus

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Australian Shepherd

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7 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fast Breathing

My puppy is 7 months old and 24 hours ago was vomiting up huge amounts of blood. I had taken him to the vet but now he is breathing fastly, I just spent all my money on making sure he would be ok. Any suggestions?

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Rocket

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King Charles Spaniel

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Heavy Breathing
Fast Breathing

My dog (Tibet/King Charles mix) has been breathing heavily and panting for the past 2-3 hours. He starts shaking every once in awhile. I’ve checked his heart beat and it doesn’t seem rapid or anything. I thought maybe there was a storm and he was scared but there hasn’t been a single crack of thunder, which is what will scare him. I’ve been trying to lay with him and comfort him but it seems he won’t stop and also won’t go to sleep.

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