While ultimately a visit to your vet is going to be your best option in determining whether or not your dog needs help, there are plenty of tips and information out there to help you reduce those visits. Today we’re going to talk about your dogs vital signs. If your dog seems to be in a fair amount of distress it will be helpful for you to be able to check on his vital signs. First off, it’ll give both you and your dog good practice by merely undergoing this exercise. Secondly if you know some common healthy vital sign numbers you’ll know whether or not further attention is needed for your dog. There are three main vital signs to check in your dog and here they are. P.S. Thanks to Dr. Rebecca Jackson for these tips
1. Heart Rate – a normal heart rate in a dog is anywhere from 60-140 beats per minute. That’s actually pretty close to the human average. The low end being when one is sleeping and the higher end when one is active. Though those rates can also mean danger if your dog is simply sitting around doing nothing. To determine your dog’s heart rate, put your hand to his chest and count how many pulses you feel in 15 seconds, then multiply by 4 to get the number of beats per minute.
2. Rate of Respiration – You’ll want to make sure you do this test as your dog is normally “resting” i.e. not after heavy exercise or right after sleep. A normal rate for a dog is anywhere from 12-24 breaths. To measure breathing rate, count the number of times the chest expands in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. You can do this either by watching your dog or resting your hand on the ribs. Normal respirations should not make any noise, and should require very little effort.
3. Body Temperature – this is the third and final important vital sign to test in your dog. A normal temperature in a dog is anywhere from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The best measure for your dog is to take it rectally. You might want to try distracting your dog while doing this.
After monitoring these signs you can keep a log book for your records. There are also great apps out there for keeping records. Knowing how to take your dog’s vital signs is an important key to monitoring and managing your pet’s health, it takes less than five minutes to do, and it is one more way you can become a better, more responsible pet owner.