A young puppy breathing fast, or erratically, can sometimes make you worry.
It might seem as if he's breathing way too quickly, or even that he's holding his breath.
When you combine this with the normal twitching, wriggling and even whining or barking that a many puppies indulge in when they're dreaming and it can be 'panic stations' for the human members of the family.
I get many questions about this sort of situation, and the good news is that almost every time there's nothing to worry about!
Let's start with the way your puppy behaves when he's deeply asleep.
Young puppies are basically tiny babies, and they're either eating, playing, eliminating or sleeping... and sleeping takes up more time than any other activity.
Sleep is very important to puppies as it's when their little bodies do most of their growing and developing, so it's natural that it will be one of their favorite pastimes.
But puppies don't necessarily sleep in that 'dead to the world' way that some mature and older dogs do.
They may twitch, jerk or 'wriggle', whine or even bark..... and their breathing may seem very fast, or slow and shallow, or appear to 'stop-and-start' as if they're holding their breath.
If you're a mom or have spent much time around newborn human infants, you'll know that it's the same with them.
Erratic breaths, twitching, grimacing, smiling, clenching their little hands... they do all of these things while they're asleep.
This is all quite normal, and usually nothing to worry about.
I'm not a veterinarian and there's no way that I can tell you for sure that your puppy is 100% healthy, or whether or not he has any problems that are related to the way he's breathing when he's asleep....
BUT if he is happy, active, eating well, drinking well, is up to date on his vaccinations and parasite treatment and is showing no other signs of illness, then chances are good that Fido's just fine.
However, a puppy who has difficulty breathing when awake, or shows any other signs of illness is a different story.
Occasionally a puppy will be born with a heart or circulatory problem and this may cause his breathing to be extra fast, or shallow, as well as a number of other symptoms such as tiring easily, failing to grow or put on weight at a normal rate.
If your puppy is breathing quickly, or erratically, when AWAKE, and has any of these symptoms, get him examined by a veterinarian right away:
If you're a little worried about your puppy but he doesn't seem really ill, isn't injured or needing immediate veterinary attention, you can get answers to your puppy health question (about a puppy who you think has breathing problems or anything else!) by asking an online veterinarian.
It's a quick way to get peace of mind and is much more affordable than a vet visit that you're not certain you need yet!
BUT... if your puppy is showing signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, weakness, disorientation or any other serious symptoms, get him to your own vet immediately!