Canine and Feline Vital Signs

KNOW YOUR COMPANION

Perform an at-home vital exam - BEFORE A PROBLEM OCCURS - and document your pet's normal vital signs. This allows you to get comfortable examining your pet and your pet to get comfortable being examined. It will be your baseline as to what is normal and what is not normal for your animal companion.
(None of these suggestions are intended to replace professional vet care. In the event of an emergency, get your animal companion to a vet ASAP!)

Canine Vital Signs:

Normal Resting Heart Rates

- Small Dogs: 90-120 beats/minute
- Medium Dogs: 70-110 beats/minute
- Large Dogs: 60-90 beats/minute

Checking the pulse - the easiest place to locate a pulse is in the femoral artery in the groin area. Place your fingers on the inside of the hind leg and slide your hand upward until the back of your fingers touch the abdomen. Gently move your fingers on the inside of the hind leg until you feel the pulsing blood. Count the number of pulses for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get the beats per minute.
The pulse should be strong, steady and fairly easy to locate.

Normal Temperature

- 100.5 F - 102.5 F (rectal temperature)

The most accurate way to take your dog's temperature is in the rectum. Ear thermometers can be used but require proper technique to obtain an accurate reading.
A temperature of 103.5 or higher indicates that your dog has a fever and may need a trip to your vet.

Normal Breathing

- 10-30 breaths per minute

A breath is the slight rise and fall of the chest and can be affected by activity, heat and other factors.

Gum Color

Familiarize yourself with the normal color of your dog's gums. The color varies from dog to dog so it is essential to know what is "normal" for your dog.

Feline Vital Signs:

Normal Resting Heart Rates

- 150-200 beats/minute

Checking the pulse - the easiest place to locate a pulse is in the femoral artery in the groin area. Place your fingers on the inside of the hind leg and slide your hand upward until the back of your fingers touch the abdomen. Gently move your fingers on the inside of the hind leg until you feel the pulsing blood. Count the number of pulses for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get the beats per minute.
The pulse should be strong, steady and fairly easy to locate.

Normal Temperature

- 100.5 F - 102.5 F (rectal temperature)

The most accurate way to take your cat's temperature is in the rectum.
A temperature of 103.5 or higher indicates that your cat has a fever and may need a trip to your vet.

Normal Breathing

- 20-30 breaths per minute

A breath is the slight rise and fall of the chest and can be affected by activity, heat and other factors.

Gum Color

Familiarize yourself with the normal color of your cat's gums. The color varies from cat to cat so it is essential to know what is "normal" for your cat.

     
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