Pulse Rates

pulse

Pulse Rates

Pulse Rates – Whenever your dog is sick, we always suggest that you take his pulse to get an idea of how sick he really may be. There are 2 things about this that are worth mentioning:

Firstly, do you know WHERE to find your dog’s pulse? The easiest place is directly over the heart, but you can also find it in the groove just above the wrist joint in the front leg and in the groin along the femoral artery.

Secondly, do you know what is the NORMAL pulse rate for YOUR dog? Average doggy pulse rates range from 60-120 beats per minute, usually depending on the size, age, health and breed of the dog (the smaller breeds beating more quickly – my RR’s beat at about 75 per minute)

Please don’t wait until your dog is ill to a) discover you don’t know how/where to locate a pulse and b) don’t know what is normal for your dog.

When he’s all chilled out watching the telly with you this evening, just have a little go at trying to find it so you will know what is NORMAL for him so that if he ever becomes ill, you are aware of the difference and will know that he is genuinely poorly.

Finding the Heartbeat

When checking the heart, remember that a dog’s heart, like ours, is on the left side so lay them on their right side.  The heart will be easy to feel beating away.  Take your dog’s front leg and bend it back so that his elbow touches his ribcage at about the 4th to 6th rib.  Just put your hand, lightly over those 3 ribs and you should be able to find it without too much trouble.

People don’t often listen to their dog’s heart beat and it doesn’t beat like they’d expect.  Young, healthy dogs often have an irregular rhythm which speeds up and slows down in time with their breathing.  Although it may seem irregular to you, there will be a predictable alteration to the pattern which will repeat itself. Provided the pattern repeats, all is well.

Finding the Femoral Artery

The femoral pulse is the big pounding artery that runs down the inner thigh of humans and dogs and is easiest to track down in the groin area.  It pumps a lot of blood through to the legs at very high pressure so every time the heart beats, you can feel a throb as the blood travels through it.

You can find it easily with him standing or lying, and its detectable on either side.  Hold him around his back leg at the knee so that your thumb is on the furry outside of his leg and all 4 of your fingers are on the warm, inside bit of his thigh.  Gently slide your fingers along his inner thigh until they reach the crease in his skin where his leg meets his tummy.  Now slide the flat of your fingers from side to side, across his inner thigh until you can feel a ridge beneath your fingers.  This ridge or chord type structure is the femoral artery.  With your fingers over this ridge you should be able to detect the rhythmic beat of the pulse.  Don’t squeeze too tightly or your big clumsy fingers will prevent the blood from travelling along under your finger tips.  Practice makes paw-fect!

Finding the pulse below the Wrist

The third place to look is even trickier, so I’d practice the other two first to get a bit of confidence before you start trying to find this one.  With him sitting or lying, run your middle and index finger down inside the groove between the tendons, just below the stopper pad.  With a very delicate touch, patience and practice, you should soon be able to strike gold here too.  It’s the same place that you see nurses checking on patients in hospital when they pick up the patient’s wrist.  Have a go on yourself in the groove of your wrist just above your hand and you’ll know what to look for in Fido.

Check for 10 seconds.  Count how many beats you feel in that 10 second period and multiply by 6 to get the heart rate / beats per minute

eg:        15   (beats in 10 seconds)

X6

=      90   (beats per minute)

Secondly, do you know what is the NORMAL pulse rate for YOUR dog?  Average doggy pulse rates range from 60-120 beats per minute, usually depending on the size, age, health and breed of the dog (the smaller breeds beating more quickly – my RR’s beat at about 75 per minute)

Please don’t wait until your dog is ill to a) discover you don’t know how/where to locate a pulse and b) don’t know what is normal for your dog.

When he’s all chilled out watching the telly with you this evening, just have a little go at trying to find it so you will know what is NORMAL for him so that if he ever becomes ill, you are aware of the difference and will know that he is genuinely poorly.

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