Sleeping Respiratory Rate

A sleeping respiratory rate (SRR) is the number of times your pet takes a full breath (in and out) over a one minute period while sleeping. An elevated or upward trend in a SRR can be indicative of congestive heart failure (accumulation of fluid in and around the lungs). Being familiar with your pets normal SRR will help you identify these changes quickly, possibly preventing an emergency hospitalization and oxygen therapy.

A normal SRR for dogs and cats is less than 36 breaths per minute. While some pets have a SRR significantly lower than this, respiratory rates greather than 40 breaths per minute while sleeping/resting, are considered abnormal. If your pet has SRR over 40 breaths per minute but is not showing signs of difficulty breathing or an increase in coughing, recheck their SRR in 30- 60 minutes. If your pet is coughing or breathing with effort combined with their increased SRR, please contact your Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology team immediately or take them directly to a veterinary ER near you. If your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing, (extended neck, rapid respiratory rate, cyanotic (blue) mucous membranes, take your pet immediately to the nearest veterinary ER. 

How to take a Sleeping Respiratory Rate

Wait until your pet is sleeping (not dreaming)

Count full breaths (in and out) for 15 seconds

Multiply by 4 for breaths per minute
Number of breaths for 15 seconds X 4 = Breaths per minute

Visit the app store today to download Cardalis. A free app designed to help pet owners calculate Sleeping Respiratory Rates. 


Click here to download as a pdf.