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Normal vitals for a dog

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

What are the normal vitals for a dog?

Marie L.


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Great question. I'm glad you asked this. We have a great article on the site – I'll include information from that article for you here. Normal vital signs for dogs are:

Body Temperature - Body temperature in animals is taken rectally. The normal body temperature for a dog is 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pet has a temperature less than 99 or over 104, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Mucous Membrane Color - The most commonly examined mucous membranes are the gums. The color of the gums is a good indicator of blood perfusion and oxygenation. The normal gum color is pink. If your pet has pigmented gums, lowering the eyelid can also give you an indicator of mucous membrane color. Pale, white, blue or yellow gums are cause for concern and you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Heart Rate - You can feel your pet's heartbeat on the left side of the chest at the area where a raised elbow will touch the chest. Your pet should be calm and quiet. Place your hand over this area of the chest and feel for a heartbeat. You can also use a stethoscope if you have one. Count the number of heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4. Be aware that a dog's heartbeat will normally slow down and speed up with each breath. This is not an abnormal heart rhythm and does not require veterinary care.
For dogs, a normal heartbeat varies on size: Small dogs and puppies normally have heart rates of 120 to 160 beats per minute. Dogs over 30 pounds have heart rates of 60 to 120. The larger the dog, the slower the normal heart rate. If your pet has a heart rate outside the normal range, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Respiratory Rate - Counting the number of breaths per minute and determining the breathing pattern can be very important in an emergency. Learn the normal breathing rate and pattern for your pet. Count the number of breaths your pet takes in one minute. Avoid counting when your pet is panting. A good time to count the normal breathing rate is when your pet is asleep. Normal respiratory rates: -For dogs: 10 to 30 breaths per minute. Dogs can also pant normally up to 200 pants per minute.


Best of luck!


Dr. Debra




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