Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What is Your Pet’s Normal Heart Rate and Temperature?

Have you ever called the veterinarian worried about your pet, only to have the good doctor ask you if your pet is running a fever? Or what if he or she has an elevated heart rate? More than likely, you didn’t have an answer to that question, or you reached down and felt your dog’s nose to see if it was “cold and wet” like all the books say it should be. Well, here is the opportunity to bone up on a little Pet Med 101. The following information will help you come up with the correct answers for your veterinarian, and help you make a better informed decision on whether your pet needs immediate medical assistance or whether you’re just overreacting.
The Averages Temperature Heart Rate
Dog (30 lbs or less) 100.5 – 102.5 100-160 bpm
Dog (30 lbs +) 100.5 – 102.5 100-160 bpm
Puppy100.5 – 102.5 120-160 bpm
Cat 100.5 – 102.5 120-220 bpm

How to Check Your Pet’s Heart Rate
  1. Allow the animal to stand naturally, keeping pet calm by petting or talking to it. (A stressed animal’s heart rate will increase, creating a higher reading.)
  2. Place the stethoscope over the animal’s heart. If you have problems locating the heart rate, this is a simple way to find it:
    1. Ask the animal to lie on its right side.
    2. Gently bend the animals left front leg at the elbow, allowing it to touch their chest.
    3. The area where the elbow touches the chest is the place where you should place your hand or a stethoscope, as it is the best place to hear a strong heartbeat.
      1. Note: Make a mental note of this area and allow the animal to regain it’s feet and relax, as forcing it to lie down could create stress. Taking an animal’s heart rate while it is stressed will occur in an increased rate and a false reading.
  3. Count the beats that hear or feel for 15 seconds by watching a second hand on a clock or watch.
  4. Multiply the number of beats that you counted by 4.
  5. This is the BPM or Beats Per Minute.
  6. Using the chart above, you will be able to determine whether your pet’s heart rate is within normal range. If it is below or above the normal range, contact your veterinarian immediately for further instructions.

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