So you're watching your young puppy drifting off to sleep as they nap. You start to feel good about the adoption and wonder about all the fun you're going to have.
Suddenly, your precious pup starts to pant in its sleep! What gives?
Believe it or not, this is a typical "freak out" moment that many new puppy owners have. Seeing a young animal seemingly hyperventilate without even waking up is an alarming sight. But should you worry?
The truth is, there are many reasons why this panting might occur. In most cases, it's an innocent behavior with no immediate cause for concern. But for some puppies, it could be a sign of some nefarious health complications.
Healthy pups breath between 15 ad 40 breaths per minute. Anything outside of that range is worth looking into.
Here are some of the most common reasons why puppies pant in their sleep.
8 Reasons Why Puppies Pant in Their Sleep
#1. Running Hot
Sometimes, the issue can be as simple as high temperatures in the room.
Panting is a regular occurrence on hot summer days. Dogs may pant after intense play and exercise, too. It's their way of cooling off!
Canines don't sweat as humans do. So, they must perform other actions to regulate their body temperature. Panting is one of them.
When your dog pants, it's sucking in a massive amount of cool air. This helps to bring down their core temperature, which provides relief.
Solution: Lower the Temperature
The easiest solution here is to lower the temperature a bit! Dogs will start panting automatically once their body temperature rises a few degrees above normal. It's instinctive, so you can expect to see it as they sleep, too.
Lower the temperature in your home to help your dog cool off faster. Also, make sure there's plenty of cool water available if they decide to wake up.
#2. Standard Sleeping Habits
It's not always a strange or unusual issue. Young puppies tend to breathe faster when they doze off to sleep. This action isn't limited to just canines. Even human infants will breathe more quickly when they dream the night away.
As long as the breathing doesn't become crazy, it shouldn't be a cause for concern.
Solution: Do Nothing!
Sit back and let your puppy sleep! You don't have to do anything here. Slightly faster breathing and panting are perfectly normal. Not all puppies will do it. But if yours does and there aren't any other symptoms to worry about, don't fret!
#3. Intense Dreams
Ever see your puppy start jerking or whimpering in their sleep? If not, be prepared to see a lot of that as your furry friend gets older.
Dogs can have vivid dreams like humans. Of course, their dreams focus on some of the things that make them the happiest. Fido could be dreaming about chasing a squirrel or running in a big open field!
When this happens, don't be surprised if they start panting a bit. Slightly faster breathing is just your dog living out his fantasy!
Solution: Enjoy the Show
We have to admit: Watching a puppy navigate dreamland is pretty adorable. Your puppy will make subtle movements and sounds.
Sit back and enjoy the show! It's not every day that you get to see it! Keep an eye out for any serious symptoms. As long as the panting is light and sporadic, let them finish their dreams.
#4. Growth Process
Have you ever considered how fast puppies grow? In only a few short months, they go from these pint-sized helpless creatures into a rambunctious puppy. Before you know it, they're full-fledged adults.
Puppies go through a rapid growth spurt right before your eyes. In addition to proper exercise and a top-notch diet, plenty of sleep is necessary for healthy development.
As your puppy sleeps, the growth process continues! Sometimes, puppies will breathe quickly at random times throughout the night. More often than not, it's just part of the growth process.
Solution: Keep an Eye Out
The best thing you can do here is to keep an eye on them. Make sure that the panting doesn't accompany other symptoms like coughing. Also, try to keep track of how long the panting lasts and how often it occurs.
Usually, the panting is temporary. As long as it doesn't continue for several minutes, your dog is okay!
#5. Stress and Anxiety
Here's where things start to get serious. Puppies can experience severe symptoms of anxiety and stress. Panting and hyperventilating can occur if your pup is experiencing some extreme emotional distress.
Why would your pup be stressed?
Well, they are young and scared. Fear-based panting is more common in young puppies that just made it to their forever home. Chances are, the puppy was recently separated from their mother and siblings. They went from feeding off their mother and basking in her nurturing warmth to a brand-new environment they're not familiar with.
Everything is brand-new and scary! Don't be surprised if there's a bit of fear there. Your puppy needs time to adjust. All of the stimulation they're experiencing may be too much to handle.
Solution: Help Your Puppy Cope
If you suspect that your puppy's panting is rooted in fear or anxiety, you need to take action. Anxious puppies can develop some serious behavioral problems in the future. You must do your best to help your puppy feel at ease.
Take things slowly, and give them time to adapt. Don't overwhelm them with too much at one time. Start by introducing the home slowly. Let them explore at their own pace.
It's also a good idea to hold off on any training until they find their bearings. Getting frustrated will only lead to yelling and negativity. This will scare your puppy even more, leading to an endless cycle of unhealthy panting.
#6. Physical Injury or Sickness
This isn't something dog owners want to think about, but panting could signal physical injury or sickness. Dogs will pant when they are experiencing pain, such as a broken bone or pulled muscle.
It's their coping mechanism. The panting doesn't take the pain away, but it may help make things more manageable.
The panting could also indicate an illness. The illness could be as simple as some congestion, which prevents your dog from breathing out of its nose normally. Or, it could be something more serious. Asthma, kennel cough, and more are all known to have panting as a symptom.
Solution: Take a Trip to the Vet
First things first, don't panic. You need to be calm and collected if you suspect that your dog is sick or hurt.
Start by doing a gentle physical examination. You may be able to spot the problem, which could help direct your approach moving forward. Be very careful here. If it's a broken bone or something of that nature, even small movements can be excruciating.
Whether you find something wrong or not, take your dog to a vet. Your vet can perform a detailed physical examination to diagnose the problem and determine the next course of action.
#7. Worm Infestation
Worms are more common in puppies than people think. Puppies can easily get worms in-vitro from their mother. They can get them from feeding off her, too.
Worm infestations are very dangerous for puppies. Their bodies are already small as it is. But your little canine companion is also going through a dramatic growth spurt. They need as much energy and nutrients as they can get. If they have worms, their bodies can't develop properly.
Typically, major worm infestations have other symptoms. Your pup may have a swollen chest and difficulty breathing. Occasional coughing is common, too.
Solution: Veterinary Care and Medication
The best thing you can do here is to take a trip to the vet. Do not ignore potential worm problems. Parasitic infestations only get worse with time. They deprive your pup of energy and nutrients, making them get weak.
Luckily, worms are pretty easy to diagnose and treat. The exact treatment may vary based on the severity of the infestation and the type of worm plaguing your pup.
Your vet will recommend action to get your pooch help.
#8. Respiratory Problems
Many potential respiratory issues can plague puppies. Your pup can suffer from anemia, lung tumors, pneumonia, and more.
These conditions can run the gamut from super-serious to relatively benign. Either way, you should never ignore them.
Respiratory issues impact your pup's comfort and their ability to breathe normally. The sooner you can address the problem, the better off your puppy will be.
Solution: Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
Once again, your veterinarian will save the day here.
They can perform tests to find the root of the issue. The tests may include bloodwork or imaging of the lungs. Whatever the case may be, they'll use the findings to diagnose the problem and find a suitable treatment route.
Never attempt to treat respiratory problems, or other major health issues, on your own. Your vet has the know-how to provide care safely and efficiently.
Hopefully, those more potential severe causes didn't scare you too much.
Panting in their sleep is one of those weird behaviors that can mean anything! The key is to keep calm. Instead, keep an eye on your puppy, and look out for any secondary symptoms. If you suspect that it's a severe problem, don't hesitate to get help. Professional care can make all the difference.
Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Dogs Pant In The Car