Veterinarian Column: Things to remember! Pet vital signs done at home

by Alice's Dog & Catスタッフ

Pet vital signs fever

Vital signs is a medical term meaning signs of life, and specifically includes four basic signs: body temperature, heart rate (pulse), respiratory rate, and blood pressure. It is important to get used to checking vital signs on a regular basis. By knowing your vital signs when you are healthy, you can quickly notice when something is wrong.

This time, we will explain in detail how to check vital signs (body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate) at home, and the normal values ​​of vital signs in animals.

◎ Body temperature

How to measure your pet's vital signs and body temperature

·Normal value

Dogs 37-38℃ (higher for puppies and small dogs, lower for large dogs and elderly dogs)

Cats: 37.5-38.5℃ (higher for kittens, lower for older cats)

・How to measure

There are ways to measure from the ear or rectum. Animals often dislike the rectal measurement method, which requires two people to take measurements. The recommended method is to measure by ear. Use an animal ear thermometer.

If you don't have a thermometer, touch your ears, armpits, stomach, etc. If you feel warmer than usual, you may have a fever. It's a good idea to touch your baby's ears and armpits on a regular basis to get used to their normal body temperature.

·important point

After exercise, your body temperature rises.

・Causes of hyperthermia

Heatstroke, infectious diseases, tumors, immune diseases, hyperthyroidism, etc.

・Causes of hypothermia

Hypothermia: This can occur if your dog is a puppy, is old, or has a chronic illness and does not have normal body temperature regulation.

◎ Heart rate

Pet vital signs heart rate measurement

・Normal value (1 minute)

Dogs 60-140 times (small dogs 60-80 times, large dogs 40-50 times, puppies 220 times or less)

Cat 120-220 times

・How to measure

Measure while at rest. Place your palm or fingertips on the left side of your heart and count how many heartbeats you feel per minute. You can also count your heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply it by 4.

·important point

When your pet is excited, their heart rate will be faster, so hold them in your arms to calm them down before measuring again.

・Causes of fast heart rate

Heart disease, arrhythmia, anemia, fever, shock, poisoning, hyperthyroidism, excitement, anxiety, pain, etc.

・Causes of slow heart rate

Hypothyroidism, hypothermia, arrhythmias, brainstem lesions, severe metabolic diseases, etc.

◎Respiration rate

Pet vital signs heart massage

・Normal value (1 minute)

Small dog around 20 times

Large dog around 15 times

If it exceeds 30 times, it is an abnormal sign.

Cat 20-30 times

・How to measure

Measure while at rest. It is best to do this while sleeping or in a prone position. Count each breathing sound as one, or count the number of times your chest expands. Measure the number of times per minute or the number of times per 15 seconds multiplied by 4.

·important point

If your dog sticks out his tongue and huffs after exercising or when he gets excited, this behavior is called punting and is not a problem. Be sure to take measurements while at rest. Breathing rate is often a problem when it is fast. Be aware that if your breathing rate is rapid and you feel restless and in pain, you will need emergency treatment.

・Causes of rapid breathing

Heart failure, pleural effusion, lung disease (pneumonia, infection, aspiration, pulmonary edema), tracheal disease (infection, tracheal collapse), nasal obstruction (infection, tumor, brachycephalic tumor), etc.

You can easily check your vital signs at home, and by getting used to checking them on a regular basis, you can quickly notice signs of illness. Make sure to check your child's vital signs on a regular basis, especially for children with heart disease or elderly children.