Respiratory Rate: Short and Shallow? Laboured and Heavy? Deep and Relaxed?

Just as heart rates change depending on mental and physical activity, so too does respiratory rate. However, it’s also affected by disease, irritants in the air, anxiety, and temperature. So knowing your pet’s normal respiratory rate and being aware of her normal breathing pattern will help you be more aware of whether she is well within her normal range or if there is something more troubling going on.

Resting respiratory rates (i.e. quiet and calm) for adult cats are between 16 and 40 breaths per minute and adult dogs between 10 to 35 breaths per minute. Again, generally speaking, the smaller the pet, the faster the respiratory rate.

Counting the number of times your pet breathes in over 15 seconds and multiplying by four will again give you the rate of breaths per minute. If you’re not sure if you’re counting correctly, just ask your vet at the next visit.

Any substantial change to the rate or character of your pet’s breathing i.e does it look shallow or weak; or noisy; or as though she’s putting in a lot of effort to breath, can indicate an emergency situation, and they need to be seen fast.