Reason Why Your Dog is Breathing Fast while Resting

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Labored breathing can definitely be cause for concern when it comes to your beloved canine companion. 

If you’ve noticed your dog doing this, you’ll need to understand why. There are a number of different possible reasons that you should be aware of. If your dog’s health is at risk, you’ll want to know it.

Normal Breathing in Dogs

A reasonably healthy dog should only be drawing anywhere from 15 to 30 breaths each minute. This largely depends on the breed of the dog, so you need to keep that in mind. If your dog is breathing faster than this, there is most likely a problem of some kind.

If you notice that your dog is breathing fast even when it is resting, you should make a point of taking them to your vet. They will examine your dog to make sure that there aren’t any major health problems that need to be addressed.

Reasons for Your Dog’s Labored Breathing

The following is a list of some of the most common reasons that a dog might exhibit labored breathing while at rest.

1. Dreams

Quite often dogs are breathing faster if they have nightmares or active dreams. They also can move their legs like running or make different sounds. And that’s totally fine. We all have realistic dreams, aren’t we?

2. Anemia

Anemia is a condition that results from the body’s red blood cells being attacked by its own immune system. While this condition is well known in humans, dogs can have it as well. There is a chance that this is the reason for your dog’s fast breathing while it is resting.

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Some of the other common symptoms of anemia in dogs include:

  • Jaundice (yellow eyes)
  • Pale gums
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargic behavior

Fortunately, there are a number of medications that can be used to treat canine anemia. The sooner you get your dog to the vet, the better off it will be.

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3. Overheating

Your dog may start breathing very fast even while it is lying around if its body temperature rises too much. Some dogs are more vulnerable than others to heatstroke, but it can be life-threatening under the right circumstances.

Some of the dog breeds that are especially prone to overheating include Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Bull Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, and Bulldogs. If you have one of these dogs, it is important that you keep them cool, especially on those really hot days.

Dogs are incapable of sweating like humans, so they pant. The hotter a dog gets, the faster it pants/breathes. Heatstroke becomes a real concern once a dog’s internal temperature exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Heart Problems

It is also possible that your dog is breathing rapidly while at rest because it has heart problems, which are often very serious. If your dog is in the late stages of heart disease, it could start breathing quickly even when it’s not moving at all.

This is not the sort of thing that just suddenly happens. You will notice other signs of heart problems with your dog over time, such as a lack of energy, frequent coughing, and fainting. Dogs with heart problems also tend to exhibit a lack of appetite and stop moving around as much as they used to.

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The best way to prevent heart problems with your dog is to keep it on a healthy daily diet and make sure it gets plenty of exercises. If you think that they might have these issues, you’ll need to get them to the vet right away. Your veterinarian can prescribe a heart medication that may help extend your pet’s life.

5. Reaction to Toxic Food

If your dog ingested some human food that is toxic to them, they might start breathing faster than normal. Some of the most toxic foods for these animals include chocolate, garlic, onions, raw meat, sugar-free gum/candy, and grapes.

It is important that you call your vet right away if your dog ate any of these foods. They will be able to talk you through what to do in this situation. You might be told to induce vomiting, which can be done with some hydrogen peroxide.

It’s also possible that your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction to an otherwise harmless food you gave it. 

Some of the other signs of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face, diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, hives and inflamed skin. If you think your dog might be having this type of reaction to a portion of food it ate, you’ll need to get it immediate medical attention.

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6. Pneumonia

A dog that has pneumonia will likely be breathing faster than normal, even when they are resting. This is a type of infection that attacks the respiratory system, so it only makes sense that your dog’s breathing would be affected.

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Some of the other signs of pneumonia to look for in your dog include:

  • Blue gums
  • Louder than normal breathing
  • Fever
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargic behavior

Pneumonia can quickly turn from a mild infection to something much more serious. This is why it is so important for you to get your dog looked at by a vet as soon as you notice these symptoms.


  • A dog that is generally healthy should draw anywhere from 15 to 30 breaths each minute.
  • If your dog is breathing faster than this when it is at rest, there is most likely a problem with their health.
  • Dogs that have anemia can start breathing rapidly when at rest. If your dog exhibits symptoms of this condition, you need to get them examined right away.
  • When a dog’s body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, it can develop heatstroke. This is a potentially life-threatening condition, which is all the more reason to make sure your dog stays cool.
  • Serious heart problems can also cause a dog’s breathing to significantly increase.
  • If your dog recently ate a toxic food of some kind, their breathing and heart rate could become rapid.
  • Pneumonia is an infection that attacks the lungs, so it can cause a dog to breathe faster than normal even when it is not moving.