Listen Up! Why Your Dog’s Sleeping Breaths Matter (and How to Count Them)

A veterinary cardiologist knows that advanced diagnostics are vital, but sometimes, simple steps that pet parents can take at home are just as crucial. One particular at-home check-up can make a big difference for canine companions: The monitoring of a dog’s Sleeping Respiratory Rate (SRR).

Don’t underestimate the power of this quiet countdown! Coast to Coast Cardiology wants you to be informed and up to date so you can better protect the health of your pet. To help you achieve that, we’ve put together a short post on how SRR monitoring works, when it’s needed, and the best way for you to get it done at home.

What is SRR, and why is it important?

An SRR measures how many breaths your dog takes while sleeping soundly. An elevated SRR can be an early warning sign of congestive heart failure (CHF), a common condition in which the heart struggles to pump effectively.

How to count your dog’s SRR:

Step 1: Ensure that your pup is either fast asleep or extremely relaxed; barking, excitement, exercise, or eating can all increase respiratory rate. To verify sleep or a calm state, check to see if the side of your dog’s chest is moving up and down evenly.

Step 2: Count how many inhales OR exhales occur in a 15 second period. Don’t count both!

Step 3: Multiply the number of breaths by 4 to get the number of breaths per minute.

What is a “Normal” SRR, and why does it matter?

  • When your dog is awake yet relaxed, a typical respiration rate should be below 30 breaths a minute. When that same dog is sleeping, a typical rate might be 20 or less.
  • Consistent monitoring will reveal what “normal” is for your dog. Then, if you notice intense variation beyond typical ups-and-downs that represent an increase overall, you’ll have early warning of potential problems like the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
  • If you assess your sleeping or at-rest dog and discover a respiratory rate exceeding 30 breaths per minute, get in touch with us or your primary care veterinarian.
  • As always, take any emergencies to an emergency veterinarian whenever possible.

Worried about at home monitoring? You can always download the free Cardalis Respiratory Rate Monitor app on your smartphone. It makes things easy by doing all the counting and timing for you, and the information gathered can be logged for quick reference at any follow-up appointments!

At Coast to Coast Cardiology, we provide exceptional service for all kinds of cardiac and comorbid conditions. We have ten different locations, but we deliver on one goal no matter where we’re working: we treat the patient, not the signs, delivering comprehensive, cost-effective, and compassionate care. To make an appointment, contact us online or call 844-582-3827 today.