Monitoring respiratory rate

Did you know? – A useful thing that you can do at home to monitor your dog’s condition is to measure their resting respiratory rate (RRR). This will help to tell you if their condition is stable or deteriorating. Pick a time when your dog is relaxed or sleeping and count how many times their chest rises (one rise and fall is one breath).

Start this now and do it at regular intervals so that you are familiar with what is normal for your pet. Most dogs will have an RRR between 16-30 breaths per minute, anything over this you should consult your vet for advice.

Top tip – measure the number of breaths your dog does over 15 seconds and multiply it by four to get the number of breaths per minute! Let’s practice! Can you count the number of breaths in this animation?



Heart murmurs are often found incidentally as part of a routine health screen, so many dogs are asymptomatic. Most dogs with MMVD will go on to develop clinical signs which can include exercise intolerance, changes in breathing rate and effort, weight loss, coughing and collapse. A useful tool that you can use for free at home is measuring your pet’s resting respiratory rate (RRR). This will help you to see if your pet is normal, or whether there is any deterioration in their condition. This information can be helpful to tell the vet at your next appointment.

Key takeaway

Many dogs that are initially diagnosed with MMVD are asymptomatic, but over time can go on to develop clinical signs. A resting respiratory rate will help you keep track of your pet’s breathing.