Unlike adults who breathe 18-20 breaths in a minute, younger babies breathe more rapidly because the tinny lungs cannot hold much oxygen. Your baby will inconsistently breathe 40-60 times a minute. Though babies breathe fast, there are often slight pauses in between the shallow breaths.
This periodic breathing can be frightening for a parent, but caregivers learn to know what is normal breathing for a baby. This fast and shallow breathing sounds like your baby is panting like a dog.
Is It Normal for a Baby to Pant Like a Dog?
The breathing and pausing are normal in healthy babies and do not have to worry you. Your baby will often breathe noisily because the air passage is small. Saliva collects at the back of your baby’s throat because, unlike adults, the little one cannot clear the throat. Your baby’s involuntary panting happens when air squeezes this saliva.
If your baby pants like a dog and has no trouble breathing in and out, you need not panic as this is common in most babies. As your baby grows older, this breathing pattern will change.
Over Exertion May Cause Your Baby to Pant Like a Dog
Most babies are fussy and will cry when in need of attention, and it may take a caregiver some time to know what the little one is fussing about. This delay makes the little one cry and often fusses to exhaustion. When your baby gets worked up, it leads to increased breathing, and your little one starts to pant like a dog. Nonetheless, overexertion, when not frequently exercised, helps strengthen your baby.
Can a Baby Who Breaths Quieter Pant Like a Dog?
Babies, like other human beings, react to the environment. Some babies will react to allergens differently, but some may react with increased breathing. Your baby may suddenly start panting like a dog in reaction to allergens. However, you can keep your baby away from allergens that cause your little one to have increased breathing that sounds like panting.
A baby whose breathing doesn’t sound loud may start panting when in distress like as; fever or other illness. Continuous panting may be a sign of an underlying issue that your baby will stop panting like a dog when resolved.
When to Worry About Your Baby’s Panting
Even though your baby’s panting is normal, sometimes little ones may experience retractions. If there is an unusual in-out movement of the muscles under your baby’s ribs and neck, you need to contact your GP.
Anxiety or stress can cause rapid breathing in both adults and babies; however, your baby’s breathing goes back to normal when calm. For most caregivers, it’s more worrying if a baby has non-stop increased breathing. You can easily be thrown into a panic mode if your baby starts to pant rapidly without any visible signs of trauma. If your baby’s panting is non-stop and exceeds 60 breaths a minute, it may be a sign of a more serious issue that needs looking into.
Your baby’s breathing sound may change from panting to grunting. This is because a baby’s blocked air vent may cause your little one to make rough noises when breathing. You may need to try to open the blocked airways.
At What Age Will Your Baby Stop Panting Like a Dog?
Before the age of 6 months, babies take quick and shallow breaths only through the nose. However, at about six months of age, your baby starts to learn how to breathe using both the nose and the mouth just like an adult.
At this time, the little one can inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. With much practice, your baby will have more coordinated breathing from the age of 6 months. Then, the noise and panting be reduced and eventually disappear as your baby grows older.
A baby’s breathing pattern can be worrisome when your baby produces funny noises. However, when you get accustomed to these sounds, you can tell when or not to worry. The good news is that most of your baby’s sounds are normal. So, whether your baby is grunting, sniffling, or panting like a dog, these sounds are your baby’s way of communicating with you.
Nonetheless, there are times when this panting can exceed 60 breaths a minute. This then is considered an alert to a more severe issue that may need looking into.
PS If you have a cat as well, please be advised that cat pee is very dangerous for babies.
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