Homedog health & care

Be Cautious When Your Dog Breathes Fast and Shallow

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It is quite normal that your dog breathes fast and shallow after running or doing vigorous activities. However, if you see they keep having these symptoms without exact reasons, they may get diseases which concern to their respiratory system. In this article, I will show you some main reasons why your dogs have these symptoms and give you some practical advice.

Why Does Your Dog Breathes Fast and Shallow?

Before talking about what causes breathing difficulty to dogs, I would like to give you some essential information about the dog’s respiratory system.

Like humans, dog’s respiratory system includes nose, mouth, throat, trachea and lungs (also check on female dog anatomy for more detail). When inhaling, the oxygen will go through the nose, then straight to lungs where it is transferred to the red blood cells. The function of red blood cells is carrying oxygen to tissues in the body. If your dog has difficulty in breathing, this means there is something that stuck the air to the lungs.

Photo credit: meg w

Here are some main reasons that cause breathing difficulty to your dog:

Narrow Airway

Some breeds have narrow airway naturally; that’s normal and we won’t discuss this. But thing will become serious when the dogs’ airway isn’t narrow naturally. The cause might come from these reasons: your dog’s nose has foreign objects, tumors, etc.

These will make the dog can’t get enough oxygen to lungs. As a result, he has to speed the number of breath in a minute to get enough. In order to be sure what’s going on with your pet, you should bring him to the veterinary clinic where he can be checked.

Diseases Related to Respiratory

Diseases related to the respiratory system include asthma, pneumonia, cancer, or simply flu. These diseases cause a higher rate of difficulty in breathing in dogs. Also, diseases that relate to the respiratory system are also dangerous to your dogs. Take them to the vet immediately when you suspect your dog gets these.


Some people don’t know that not all of the human food can be fed to dogs. That is because some foods contain substances that can poison the dog such as grapes, almonds, fruits with seeds, etc. If your dog eats one of them by chance, even just a little, he may have diarrhea, vomiting, breathing difficulty, etc.

Via : petsgu.com

To old dogs and dogs with heart disease, they may die after eating this dangerous food, especially chocolate. Besides, like almonds, if your dog doesn’t chew them completely, he can be stuck in the esophagus, which makes him breathe difficultly. So, always choose safe foods for dogs if you want your lovely friend healthy and happy.

Heart Diseases

Large dogs are likely to have heart disease than smaller ones. However, it doesn’t mean that small dogs can’t have this disease. Keep an eye on your dogs, if they have symptoms like breathing fast, panting, accompany with coughing, gaining weight or losing weight unusually, changing in behavior, they could get heart disease or some diseases that relate to the heart. In case your dog is old, the rate of getting heart disease is much higher than the younger one.


Some dogs, especially puppies, are willing to swallow anything, even it’s not foods. They can eat a big bone, marble, socks, or any objects that are hard to be digested. The consequence is that your dog will feel uncomfortable and breathe faster than usual.


If your dog starts breathing fast and shallow right after an accident, check him immediately. He may suffer injuries somewhere in the body. This is the tip: run your hand along his back and legs, then watch for the reaction of your dogs.

If he doesn’t have any suspected reactions, don’t worry so much, he will be back to normal soon. If not, bring him to the vet right away, he may have a broken bone or something like that that makes him feel hurt.

Others Reasons

There are other reasons as well. Each one has some certain signs that show which disease your dog gets. These reasons include:

What Should You Do?

Do not feed your pet on poisonous foods. If you don’t know which food is suitable for your dog, search it on the Internet or ask your vet. In case you are not sure whether your dog can eat it or not, don’t feed.

If your dog is in bad condition, follow these steps:

Note: Some dogs are very sensitive when you mention “the doctor”; they can run away and overreact, which can make their condition more and more serious. So, be gentle with them and don’t mention the vet to them.

In case your dog’s throat is stuck by something and you can take it out. Follow this tip: Put your hand in his mouth, use a finger to sweep across the back of his throat, the object will dislodge and turn out. However, if you do not dare to do this, don’t try because you can not only make the situation more serious but also harm your dog and yourself.


Reasons that make your dog breathe fast and shallow can come from many ways, from the respiratory system to others diseases. No matter what they are, the best way to define and cure the disease is taking your dog to a reliable vet as soon as possible. Bear in mind that one minute late can lead him to the death.

Leave your comment below if you have any questions to ask us. Don’t forget to press “Share” if you find our post helpful. Thank you for reading!

Comments (1)

  • I have had my shih tzu to the vet twice in last couple of weeks they give him meds say he just has normal narrowing …I am afraid he is dying ..He keeps going off in other rooms by himself ….Unusual for him pays no attention has quit playing with his sister’s ??


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