Vital Signs

So many of us don’t know what the baseline is for vital signs for our dogs.  The last time you want to discover this is when you are having an emergency and your vet asks what is their temperature reading? Believe me, knowing what the  temperature is for normal dogs pales in comparison to knowing that you now have to place a thermometer up your friends butt! Hoping your canine buddy will allow you to do this, it is not the way you want to find out in the last minute! In an emergency it is critical!

I ran across a time when I had to do this and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you have a dog who will let you do anything with them because they were very well conditioned as a puppy, and trust you to the end of  the earth, until now! Not only do you have to keep your state of calm, relaxed and in charge mindset, you are panicking inside at the possibility of your dog running away through the house with a thermometer hanging from their bum!

It is very important to practice taking your dog’s temperature when they are a baby. One of the few things most of us don’t do. Older dogs may need to have their vital signs checked regularly and I cannot stress the importance of this enough! If there is an emergency, the more you know the better it is for all involved.

Normal readings for a dog are as follows:

  • Temperature ranges between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees
  • Hydration scruff test: loose skin on the neck should immediately sring back when grabbed and released, a delay is dehydration
  • Blood circulation/pressure: capillary refill time is 1 to 2 seconds; firmly press the finger on the gums then release, and the time it takes for the pink color to return to the white shaped finger mark determines the refill time. A delay can mean dehydration, low blood pressure or shock.
  • Heart rate: small dogs are 70 to 180 beats per min; dogs over 20lbs are 60 to 140 beats per min.
  • Respiration: 10 to 30 breaths per minDownload the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

Arthritis in dogs and cancer in dogs is increasing at an alarming rate. There are dog tumors evolving much more than ever before. We need to know what is normal vital signs for our pet and how to go about checking for that if need be. Dehydration is another common issue with working dogs or aging dogs that tend to not drink enough water. I encourage you to check out my e-book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs, where I go into great detail about all the signs to watch for as your dog ages. I offer lots of tips on how to help your older dog without all the expenses usually involved. This is a topic we will explore further…


How are your dog’s vital signs? Share your comments below!

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2 Responses to Vital Signs

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks for the post on vital signs. I never knew some of these points and now have a guide to refer to. Your site has lots of great information!

  • helga says:

    You’re welcome! Keeping close to our companions is always the best way!

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