Petriage Clinical Insights

IMPORTANT: This article, which is provided for educational purposes only, is based on published veterinary data and decades of work with pets and pet parents. The information provided here is not designed to be comprehensive but to help you avoid the pitfalls of online misinformation and most importantly, to frame the conversation you should have with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian’s perspective may differ from what is expressed here. Always consult with your veterinarian.

Breathing Problems

Treat all breathing concerns seriously. Some breathing issues are serious, while others are not. Since our pets can't speak, it's best to err on side of checking it out. 


  • If your pet's gums are white, very pale pink, or grayish blue, contact your vet immediately.
  • Panting can be healthy and normal for dogs, but is very concerning in cats. If your cat is panting, contact your vet immediately.
  • A resting breathing rate over 30 breaths per minute is concerning. Contact your vet immediately.


  • Count how often your pet takes a complete breath per minute in a calm environment. A complete breath = inhale + exhale. You can count 30 seconds and multiply by two. 15-30 breaths per minute is healthy. 
  • Observe the color of your pet's gums (see [Reading Vitals](/help/vitals)). Healthy gums should be pink or dark pink. 
  • If your pet is coughing, observe how often they cough and if the cough changes over time. If you are able, make a video or sound recording to share with your vet.
  • Reverse sneezing in dogs is completely healthy and normal, but often mistaken for something much more serious. If you are unfamiliar with reverse sneezing, search videos online to watch an example. 
  • Note any discharge or liquid running from their nose. Observe the color and consistency and whether it is present in one or both nostrils.