What Are The Reason For Heavy Breathing in Dogs

Heavy Breathing in Dogs

Here’s a breakdown of why your dog might be breathing heavily, what to do, and how to prevent future issues:

Why Dogs Breathe Heavily

  • Normal Reasons:
    • Hot weather or exertion: Dogs pant to cool down.
    • Excitement or active dreaming: Temporary, harmless changes.
  • Medical Concerns:
    • Respiratory problems: Infections, allergies, obstructions.
    • Heart disease: Can lead to labored breathing.
    • Anemia: Low red blood cells make it difficult to carry oxygen.
    • Pain or Internal Injury: Breathing changes signal distress.
    • Heatstroke: This is an emergency!
    • Parasites: Some parasites can affect the lungs or heart.

Symptoms That Warrant Concern

  • Heavy breathing at rest
  • Coughing, wheezing, or choking sounds
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Trembling, restlessness, or anxiety
  • Refusal to eat or drink

What To Do

  1. Stay Calm: Your dog picks up on your anxiety.
  2. Assess the Situation: Is it hot? Has your dog been exercising? Are there signs of injury or illness?
  3. Cool Your Dog: If overheating is suspected, move to a cool area, provide water.
  4. Contact Your Vet: Urgent if breathing is labored, other symptoms are present, or you suspect poisoning/heatstroke.

How to Prevent Breathing Problems

  • Regular Vet Checkups: Catch problems early.
  • Vaccinations & Parasite Control: Prevent infections.
  • Safe Environment: Avoid toxins or objects your dog might swallow.
  • Weight Management: Obesity puts strain on the heart and lungs.
  • Heat Awareness: Avoid exercising your dog in hot weather.

Key Takeaways

  • Heavy breathing can be normal or a sign of trouble. Pay attention to context and other symptoms.
  • Don’t hesitate to call your vet for advice or urgent care if concerned.
  • Prevention is key: Healthy lifestyle, vaccinations, and routine checkups support your dog’s respiratory health.

Reason For Heavy Breathing In Dogs:

If your dog makes abnormal noises when breathing, seems to be short of air, and has difficulty breathing, there can be multiple causes, but they are rarely harmless. So, see below the causes of heavy breathing in dogs.

Anxious Dream:

The restless behavior of a sleeping animal, accompanied by shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and active movements of the paws, is the result of the manifestation of emotions during a colorful dream. It is also possible for the soft palate to recede, interfering with normal respiratory movements.

Heat or High Physical Activity:

Dogs often breathe with their mouths open in hot weather, after intense training or active play. With these factors, the minute frequency of breaths can increase to 160.

Reaction to Vaccination:

Frequent breathing in a dog after vaccination indicates the activity of the immune system. Temporary lethargy, loss of appetite and a slight increase in temperature are acceptable during the first 24 hours.

Associated Symptoms of Diseases:

An increase in the frequency of breathing in a calm state is a cause for concern. If other symptoms are added to shortness of breath, contact your veterinarian.

Trembling and Restlessness:

The appearance of trembling occurs when there is pain, experiencing strong emotions, and an increase in temperature. Due to unpleasant sensations, the animal becomes apathetic or aggressive.

Lethargy and Inactivity:

A sharp loss of strength occurs against the background of acute infection, severe stress, trauma, poisoning, anemia, and cardiovascular diseases. If you lose your usual activity and experience dyspnea, get examined at a veterinary clinic.

Cough and Wheezing:

Coughing and wheezing are symptoms of bronchial asthma, pneumonia, and other diseases of the respiratory system. Also, the reason may lie in the ingestion of a foreign object. Veterinarians do not recommend removing objects yourself, as such manipulations are fraught with injuries to the larynx.

What To Do If You See Your Dog Is Breathing Heavily:

If emergency transport to a veterinary clinic is not possible, place the animal in a cool place, providing sufficient oxygen. Try to call the veterinary clinic and clarify the names and dosages of drugs that can eliminate the existing symptoms. Veterinarians recommend not to self-medicate until a diagnosis is made. It is possible to save the animal only in the first 2-3 minutes after the heartbeat stops. To do this, follow the following steps:

  • Turn your pet onto his right side and stretch his neck to ensure unimpeded passage of oxygen. The selected surface must be flat.
  • Inhale more air and gradually exhale it directly into the dog’s nostrils. The smaller the animal, the shorter and shallower the inhalation should be.
  • Place your hands on your ribs and make rhythmic pressing movements with a break of 5 seconds.
  • Alternate cardiac massage and artificial respiration. For 2 breaths there should be 30 movements.
  • Continue the rescue operation for at least 10 minutes. Once the heartbeat returns, do not move the dog until veterinarians arrive.

How To Treat Heavy Breathing In Dogs?

To choose medical or surgical treatment, it is necessary to understand why the dog is breathing frequently and make a diagnosis.

The lungs and heart are examined first. Abnormalities are monitored using ultrasound, x-ray, ECG, and MRI.

Changes in baseline indicators are checked using the results of a blood test. Depending on the complexity of the identified pathology, treatment is carried out inpatiently or at home.

Visiting The Clinic:

In the clinic, doctors help remove stuck objects and eliminate the consequences of fractures. If there is a lack of oxygen, the animal is put on an oxygen mask or placed in an oxygen chamber.

If ascites are detected, the accumulated fluid is removed through a puncture in the abdominal area. You cannot do without a hospital even in case of poisoning.

The poisoned pet is given an antidote and placed on a drip. After the dangerous symptoms have been eliminated and the dog’s condition has stabilized, the dog is sent home under the supervision of the owner.

Therapy At Home:

Strictly follow the treatment recommendations issued by your veterinarian. Do not deviate from the indicated regimen and do not use other drugs.

The choice of medications depends on the disease found. These may be antibiotics, anthelmintics, antihistamines or other medications. In addition to the impact on the causative agent of the disease, symptomatic treatment is used aimed at eliminating the symptoms that have arisen.

For this purpose, diuretics, antispasmodics, cardiac glycosides, bronchodilators, and anti-inflammatory and antipyretic drugs are prescribed.

When taking potent medications, immunomodulators, probiotics, and hepatoprotectors can be prescribed to restore the functioning of the immune system, intestines, and liver.

How To Prevent Breathing Problems In Dogs?

To prevent problems with the respiratory system, take care of your pet’s living conditions. The following recommendations will help you avoid unpleasant consequences:

  • Make sure your sleeping area is safe. Treat it regularly against parasites and place it in a quiet place, protected from drafts.
  • Do not neglect parasite treatment and annual vaccination. Vaccinations are the most reliable way to protect against common deadly infections.
  • If you have an allergy, avoid walking near flowering grasses and trees. For additional protection, purchase a special muzzle that traps pollen particles.
  • Take the UGS (urban dog management) course. This will help avoid poisoning when swallowing questionable items on the street.
  • For preventative purposes, undergo an annual veterinary examination and tests. This will help identify the disease at an early stage and avoid possible complications.
  • The respiratory system is a collection of many vital organs. Violation of the functionality of at least one of them instantly affects the breathing process. If your dog is breathing frequently, don’t panic and count the number of breaths. If there are deviations and a gradual deterioration in health, make an appointment at the veterinary clinic.


In any case, if your dog has difficulty breathing, if he makes alarming noises, if he blows through his lips if you hear wheezing, whether or not your dog has a fever, you should consult your veterinarian quickly.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

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