Dog Breathing Heavy

It is obvious that you’ll be concerned about your dog breathing heavy and fast. You’ll have hundreds of questions running around your mind, weird scenarios coming up, and much more. However, you should be calm and gather the information first. You need to understand the breathing pattern of your baby dog. No matter how old your dog gets it is obvious that you’ll be worried about it getting seriously ill or something worse than that. Before you jump to any conclusion, read this article. You’ll get all the answers. Without any delay let’s move ahead!In the first section, we will answer your questions like why is my dog breathing heavy and why is my dog breathing fast.

Why Is My Dog Breathing Heavy?

Dog Breathing Heavy

You might be constantly asking yourself, why my dog is breathing heavy and fast, well in some scenarios it can be normal. Yes, as I said you need to understand the breathing pattern of your pooch. Dogs have 10 to 35 breathing per minute, which can increase after exercise, training session, or even a walk.

The dogs breathing after such tasks can go up to 10 times, which means it might breathe 100 to 350 breaths per minute. And that is panting! Also, not all dog panting or heavy breathing is bad. Dogs can sweat like us humans. So, they breathe fast to cool down their body.

They are allowing air to circulate faster to regulate their body temperature. So, if your dog is breathing heavy, understand it is allowing water and heat to evaporate from its upper respiratory tract, tongue, and mouth.

If the scenario is something like I described above, it is totally normal. However, if that’s not the case you’ll have to take it to the vet immediately. The alarming situation is when there is labored breathing in dogs. Now,

What is Labored Breathing in Dogs?

Dog Breathing Heavy

It is a type of fast breathing but with vigorous movement engaging stomach muscles to help a dog breathe. If you see something like that happening to your dog, you see the vet at the earliest. It can be the sign of some big and deadly heart disease or lung disease. Labored breathing is scientifically termed Dyspnea.

When Should I Get Concerned About the Heavy Breathing of My Dog?

Dog Breathing Heavy

Well, as said, heavy and fast breathing is normal among dogs sometimes. However, when would you know that this fast breathing is labored and in need of concern. Well here are a few points to keep in mind while observing heavy breathing in dogs:

1. Is Your Dog Breathing Heavy When It Is at Rest?

If yes, see the vet. However, you must observe it on a daily basis if it is happening persistently, then it is a red flag. Sometimes dogs breathe heavily in their sleep while dreaming, so observe for a few days!

2. Do You See Blue or Pale Gums While Your Dog Is Breathing Heavy?

If yes, then that’s a sign that it is not getting enough oxygen. So, if you see blue or pale gums seeking medical attention right away, it may be a life-threatening condition.

3. Is Your Dog Breathing Heavy While Coughing?

If you see your dog breathing heavily along with heavy coughing, it can be the case of chronic bronchitis or another serious respiratory issue. Again, a red flag – take it to the doctor immediately!

4. Does Your Dog Appear Distressed?

If you see your dog not eating well, having a low appetite, trying to hide, tucking its tail between the legs, or its ears are pinned back instead of relaxed, it is a sign of a distressed dog. If it is breathing heavy alongside these symptoms, see the vet doctor at the earliest.

5. Is Your Dog Breathing Weird and Making Noises?

If you see your dog breathing weird and making noises, it is a matter of concern. If you see a dog having trouble breathing and is making noises like snorting, wheezing, or retching, it can be a symptom of a respiratory issue like chronic bronchitis. See the veterinarian ASAP!

So, above were the signs that you should be concerned about if your dog is breathing fast and heavy. Below, we have listed some of the health issues responsible for your dog breathing heavy.

What Causes Breathing Heavy in Dogs?

Dog Breathing Heavy

Well, till now you read about the dog breathing heavy, and how to check if the situation needs to get the vet in! Now, let’s see, why is your dog breathing heavy? What can be the possible reasons, if it is not normal? Here’s the list of common health issues that leads to dog breathing fast and heavy:

  • Respiratory conditions, including chronic bronchitis
  • Fluid in lungs or lung cavity
  • Heart failure
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Heatstroke
  • Poisoning from consuming a toxic substance
  • Side effects of medications
  • Injury
  • Lung diseases such as cancer, parasitic infections, or pneumonia
  • Hernia
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Asthma
  • Kennel Cough
  • Laryngeal Paralysis
  • Trachea (windpipe) issues
  • Rhinitis (bacterial or fungal infection in the nasal chambers)
  • Pressure on the windpipe
  • Stiffening of airways
  • Smoke inhalation

Treatment for Dog Breathing Heavy

Dog Breathing Heavy

If you feel my dog is breathing heavy and it’s not normal, take it to the vet. Now, the vet will do a full physical body check to understand where the problem exactly is in the heart, lungs, airway, circulatory system, neck, head, or any other area.

Your pet doctor may ask you some questions as well, related to your dog’s past medical conditions, physical activities, etc. To check for broken ribs or lung tumors, he/she may request getting X-rays done of their heart, lungs, and abdomen. In addition to that, other organs will be examined as well.

At first to relieve the pain of your pooch, the vet may prescribe pain relief, intravenous fluids with calcium, or medication. If the cause is distress, the vet will suggest bringing in a certified pet behaviorist for a check-up. The oxygen and rest therapy is a must, regardless of the underlying cause.

*Note: Do not be a vet yourself and get pain relief or any medications for your dog breathing heavy. Consult the veterinarian and get all the check-ups done, give your pooch the medications he/she describes.


No matter the cause of your dog breathing heavy, in the end, taking proper care will only help. Ask your vet to do the treatment and you keep it mentally happy. In the article, we read about the dog breathing heavy. Along with that, we gave you answers to all the questions like why is my dog breathing heavy and why is my dog breathing fast.

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