Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is an emerging technique that has a great potential for preclinical whole-body imaging. To date, most whole-body PAT systems require multiple laser shots to generate one cross-sectional image, yielding a frame rate of <1 Hz . Because a mouse breathes at up to 3 Hz, without proper gating mechanisms, acquired images are susceptible to motion artifacts. Here, we introduce, for the first time to our knowledge, retrospective respiratory gating for whole-body photoacoustic computed tomography. This new method involves simultaneous capturing of the animal’s respiratory waveform during photoacoustic data acquisition. The recorded photoacoustic signals are sorted and clustered according to the respiratory phase, and an image of the animal at each respiratory phase is reconstructed subsequently from the corresponding cluster. The new method was tested in a ring-shaped confocal photoacoustic computed tomography system with a hardware-limited frame rate of 0.625 Hz. After respiratory gating, we observed sharper vascular and anatomical images at different positions of the animal body. The entire breathing cycle can also be visualized at 20 frames/cycle .