Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping: Reasons & Solutions

Our canine companions bring joy and love to our lives. Watching them sleep peacefully is a heartwarming sight. However, you may have noticed that sometimes your dog breathes rapidly while asleep, which can cause concern. Here is the true and short answer related to Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping:

Why My Puppy Breathes Fast when Sleeping?

In this article (Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping), we will delve into the various reasons behind this behavior to understand if it’s normal or a sign of an underlying health issue.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras.

Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping

During their slumber, dogs experience different sleep stages, just like humans. In the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, their breathing can become faster, and they may exhibit certain behaviors like twitching or vocalizing. This is entirely normal and nothing to worry about.

However, there are other situations where fast breathing during sleep may indicate something more serious.

Puppy Breathing Fast While Sleeping

Puppies have more active REM cycles compared to adult dogs, which causes them to breathe faster. Extra oxygen from rapid breaths replenishes energy during the sleep stage. REM cycles are less common in adult dogs.

Common Reasons for Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping

Common Reasons for Dogs Breathing Fast While Sleeping
Common Reasons for Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping

1. Dreaming

During the REM stage of sleep, dogs may dream, just like humans. These dreams can trigger faster breathing, twitching, and even vocalizations. It’s adorable to watch them long, and it’s a sign of a healthy sleep cycle.

2. Anxiety or Stress

Like us, dogs can experience anxiety or stress, which may manifest during sleep. If your dog has had a particularly eventful day or is experiencing changes in their environment, it may breathe rapidly in its sleep as a response to stress.

3. Temperature Regulation

Dogs rely on panting to regulate their body temperature, especially when hot. While sleeping, their body might be working to maintain the correct temperature, leading to fast breathing.

4. Physical Exertion

If your dog has been highly active or exercised vigorously before sleep, their body might still recover, resulting in faster breathing.

5. Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections, such as kennel cough, can lead to rapid breathing, even during sleep. If you notice any other symptoms like coughing or nasal discharge, consult your veterinarian.

6. Heart Issues

Some heart conditions can cause rapid breathing, which might be more noticeable during sleep when the body is relaxed. If you observe this frequently, it’s crucial to seek professional advice.

7. Pain or Discomfort

Dogs may breathe fast while sleeping if they are experiencing pain or discomfort, possibly due to an injury or an underlying health issue. ***

Understanding Your Dog’s Breathing Pattern

Understanding your dog’s normal breathing pattern while awake is essential to recognize abnormal sleep behavior. Some dogs naturally have faster breathing rates than others. B breed, size, and age can influence their resting respiratory rate.

Take the time to observe your dog’s breathing while awake and calm to establish their baseline.

What to Do if Your Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping?

1. Observe and Monitor

If you notice your dog breathing fast while sleeping, the first step is to stay calm and observe. Note any other accompanying symptoms or changes in behavior.

2. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

Ensure your dog’s sleeping area is comfortable and free from distractions. Provide a cozy bed and keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

3. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

If you suspect stress or anxiety is causing rapid breathing, try to identify the trigger and provide comfort and reassurance to your furry friend.

4. Consult Your Veterinarian

If the fast breathing persists or you notice other symptoms, consult your veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate tests if needed.

5. Regular Exercise and Playtime

Regular exercise and playtime can help your dog release pent-up energy, leading to a more relaxed sleep.

6. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A balanced and nutritious diet can contribute to your dog’s overall health, ensuring they are in their best form during sleep.

Recognizing Abnormal Fast Breathing

1. When to Be Concerned?

While fast breathing during sleep is generally expected, there are instances when it might indicate a problem. If your dog exhibits any of the following signs, it’s time to seek professional evaluation:

  • Labored breathing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Breathing with an open mouth
  • Bluish gums or tongue
  • Excessive panting

2. Signs of Respiratory Distress

In addition to fast breathing, signs of respiratory distress in dogs include wheezing, coughing, gagging, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms may require immediate veterinary attention.

3. Seeking Veterinary Advice

If you’re unsure whether your dog’s fast breathing is normal or concerning, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and provide guidance based on your dog’s health needs.

Tips to Help Your Dog Sleep Better

1. Creating a Calm Sleeping Environment

Providing a quiet and comfortable sleeping spot for your dog can promote better sleep quality and reduce stress-related fast breathing. Consider a cozy dog bed in a peaceful corner of your home.

2. Regular Exercise and Playtime

Ensuring your dog gets enough exercise and playtime during the day can contribute to better sleep at night. Physical activity helps expend energy and can lead to more restful sleep.

3. Healthy Diet and Weight Management

Maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight can positively impact your dog’s overall well-being and sleep patterns.

4. Comfortable Sleeping Spot

Choose a sleeping spot away from drafts and noise. Providing your dog with a secure and peaceful environment can help them feel safe and reduce anxiety-related breathing issues. 

The Role of Diet and Exercise in Promoting Healthy Breathing

Proper nutrition and regular exercise play a significant role in supporting your dog’s respiratory health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients helps maintain a robust immune system and reduces the risk of respiratory infections.

Additionally, regular exercise promotes cardiovascular fitness, improving lung capacity and overall respiratory function.

Please consult your veterinarian to determine your dog’s best diet and exercise regimen based on age, breed, and individual health requirements. Always provide fresh water, as hydration is crucial for optimal respiratory health.

Understanding Sleep Apnea in Dogs

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can also affect dogs. It occurs when the upper airway becomes obstructed during sleep, leading to temporary pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea in dogs can manifest as loud snoring, choking sounds, or abrupt awakenings during sleep.

If you suspect your dog may have sleep apnea, consult your veterinarian for a proper evaluation. Treatment options may include:

  • Weight management.
  • Changes in sleeping position.
  • The use of specialized devices to assist breathing during sleep.

Breathing Changes with Age: Puppies vs. Senior Dogs

The breathing patterns of dogs can change as they age, which is particularly evident during sleep. Here’s what to expect in puppies versus senior dogs:


  • Puppies are generally more active and may experience more intense dreams during REM sleep, leading to faster and irregular breathing patterns.
  • Their growing bodies and active metabolism can influence their breathing rate, which may appear faster than in adult dogs.

Senior Dogs

  • Older dogs tend to sleep more and may experience more frequent disruptions in their sleep, leading to changes in their breathing patterns.
  • Age-related health conditions, such as respiratory issues or muscle weakness, can contribute to altered breathing during sleep.

It is essential to understand your dog’s unique needs based on their age and provide appropriate care and attention to support their changing sleep patterns.


As responsible dog owners, we must be attentive to our furry friends’ well-being, even while they sleep. While fast breathing during sleep can often be expected, it’s vital to recognize when it might be a sign of an underlying issue.

By observing, understanding, and taking appropriate action, we can ensure our beloved companions live healthy and happy lives, both awake and asleep.


This Article (Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping) contains essential information. We are not a veterinarian but we have pet Dog professionals. If your Dog discloses any indication of ailment, call your veterinarian.

Bear in mind that every Dog is Different, and if you have any worries regarding your Dog’s health or practices, do not wait to seek specialist recommendations from your veterinarian. 

If you want more Knowledge about Pet Nutrition, visit our Blog Section.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why Does My Dog Breathe Fast While Sleeping?

Dogs may breathe fast when sleeping due to the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, where they dream. It can also respond to stress, anxiety, physical exertion, or respiratory infections. Periodic quick breathing during rest is typical, yet if it becomes regular or is accompanied by other concerning signs, consult your vet.

Why is My Dog breathing so fast but not panting?

Dogs may breathe fast without panting during the REM stage of sleep when they dream or due to stress and anxiety. Physical exertion or respiratory infections can also cause fast breathing without panting. It’s often expected, but monitor for any changes in behavior or health.

Why is My Puppy Breathing So Fast while Sleeping?

Puppies breathe faster during REM sleep to take in more oxygen as they use lots of energy. Both puppies and adult dogs often breathe rapidly when entering and exiting the dream stage of sleep.
This rapid breathing occurs multiple times during sleep and lasts a few minutes.

Why is My Dog Breathing 50 times a minute while sleeping?

A dog’s average resting respiratory rate is 15 to 30 breaths per minute. If you notice your dog breathing 50 times a minute or significantly faster than their usual rate, it could indicate an underlying health issue. Seek veterinary advice to ensure your dog’s well-being.

Should I be worried if my Dog Breathes Fast While Sleeping?

Not necessarily. Occasional fast breathing during sleep is usually expected. It can be due to dreaming, temperature regulation, or mild stress. However, consult your veterinarian if you notice other unusual symptoms or fast breathing persists.

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