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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

An abnormal breathing rate can be a sign of serious disease, so it is important to know what a normal breathing rate is, and when to recognise that the breathing rate is too fast or too slow. Should your pet show either of these abnormalities you should seek veterinary attention.

Breathing rate tends to increase with small body size and decrease with large body giant breeds of dog have a slower breathing rate than small toy breeds or cats. Small rodents have an even faster resting breathing rate (up to 250 in mice). An increased breathing rate is called tachypnoea. It should not be confused with panting - which is a normal bout of rapid breathing following exercise or excitement, or as a mechanism to lose body heat in hot weather.

As an approximate guide the normal resting breathing rate for various species are as follows :

  • Cats - 10-30 per minute. During panting this can increase to 300 per minute.
  • Chinchillas - 40-80 per minute
  • Chipmunks - 70-80 per minute
  • Dogs - 10-30 per minute. During panting this can increase to 200 per minute
  • Ferrets - 30-40 per minute
  • Gerbils - 90-140 per minute
  • Guinea Pigs - 90-150 per minute
  • Hamsters - 33-127 per minute
  • Mice - 100-250 per minute
  • Pigeons - 25-30 per minute
  • Primates - 30-70 per minute
  • Rabbits - 35-60 per minute
  • Rats - 70-150 per minute


Updated October 2013