Keeping your pet healthy

    How to Keep Your Pet Healthy by Monitoring Their Vital Signs

    Keeping a close eye on your pet's vital signs is essential for their overall health and well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we'll not only explore the normal ranges for pulse rate, breathing rate, temperature, and mucous membrane colour, but we'll also cover how to check for dehydration, heat stroke, and worms.

    Keeping your pet healthy

    Pulse Rate and Breathing Rate:

    The pulse rate indicates the heart's rhythm and efficiency. To check your pet's pulse, follow these steps:

    • For dogs: Place your fingers gently on the inside of their hind leg, where the thigh meets the body.

    • For cats: Feel the femoral artery located on the inside of the hind leg, just below the groin area.

    • To check for their breathing: Observe your pet's chest or flank movement. Count the number of breaths (inhalations and exhalations) in one minute.

    Normal pulse rate and breathing rate:

    • Kittens and Puppies: Their pulse rate is usually higher, ranging from 160-220 beats per minute, while their breathing rate can be around 15-35 breaths per minute.

    • Small Dogs: The pulse rate for small dogs typically ranges from 90-120 beats per minute, with a breathing rate of about 15-30 breaths per minute.

    • Large Dogs: Large dogs usually have a pulse rate of 70-90 beats per minute, and their breathing rate falls within 10-30 breaths per minute.


    A pet's body temperature can indicate their overall health and potential fever. Follow these guidelines to measure their temperature:

    • Use a rectal thermometer specifically designed for pets.
    • Lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant.
    • Gently insert the thermometer about an inch into the rectum.

    Normal body temperature:

    • Kittens and Puppies: Their normal body temperature ranges from 35.6-37.8°C (96-100°F).

    • Small Dogs: The normal temperature for small dogs falls within 37.5-39.2°C (99.5-102.5°F).

    • Large Dogs: Large dogs typically have a normal body temperature of 37.5-39.2°C (99.5-102.5°F).

    Mucous Membrane Color:

    Examining your pet's mucous membrane colour provides insights into their circulation and oxygen levels. Here's how to check it:

    • Lift your pet's lip gently to reveal the gums.
    • Observe the colour of the gums.
    • Both dogs and cats generally have pink gums. Pale, blue, or yellow gums may indicate health concerns and require immediate veterinary attention.


    Checking for Dehydration:

    Gently lift your pet's skin on the back of their neck. If it takes longer than a few seconds to return to its original position, it may indicate dehydration. Other signs include dry gums and sunken eyes.


    Identifying Heat Stroke:

    Watch for symptoms like excessive panting, rapid pulse, drooling, weakness, and collapse. Move your pet to a cool area, apply cool towels, and seek immediate veterinary attention.


    Detecting Worms:

    Look for signs such as weight loss, poor appetite, diarrhoea, chewing & scratching at their bottom, and a pot-bellied appearance. Regular faecal examinations by your veterinarian can help identify and treat worm infestations.

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    By Dr. Jhupaka Shashank


    Driven by a lifelong love for animals, Dr. Shashank pursued a PhD in Veterinary Health. He firmly believes that every animal, regardless of size, deserves unparalleled love and care. He speaks English, Telugu, and Hindi, specialising in dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and tortoise.

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