How to Check your Dog's Pulse and other Dog Health Tips

Taking your Dog's Pulse - Locating the Femoral Artery

It's always a good idea to know how to check your dog's pulse, especially when
temperatures climb and you're inclined to take him out with you, for instance, when
you jog or run.

To check his heartbeat and make sure it falls within a healthy range then, you'll need
to locate his femoral artery.

While taking our own pulse is pretty easy, it's a little more challenging to do the same when it comes to your canine friend. That's because the femoral artery is found on the inside of either one of the back legs at the juncture where the leg and body meet. You'll locate the artery then by placing your index finger and middle fingers along the crease.

How to Calculate the Heart Rate

Knowing how to take your dog's pulse rate will help give you an idea of his resting heart rate as well as what his pulse reads after exercise. If you have trained your dog to lie down, it's generally easier to take his pulse by having him lie on his side rather than having him stand. Count the number of beats you detect per fifteen seconds. Then take that number and multiply it by four (15 x 4 = 60 minutes), so you can obtain the beats per minute. Or, if it's difficult for your to get the count for 15 seconds, take your pet's pulse for 20 seconds and multiply the beats you count for 20 seconds by 3 to get the per minute rate.

Smaller Dogs have Faster Pulses

An adult dog's pulse typically ranges from 70 to 120 beats per minute while a puppy's pulse is faster and spans from 120 beats to 160 peats per minute. Therefore, smaller dogs, whether they are younger or older, will usually have pulses that are faster. You'll also have to consider the weight of your pet and his age as well. Variances of five to ten beats should be allowed, depending on the dog's size and maturity.

Healthy Pulse Rates for Dogs

That being said, a healthy pulse rate for a small dog at rest is around 140 to 160 beats per minutes while the pulse for a medium-sized dog generally ranges from 120 to 140 beat per minute. Healthy pulse rates for larger dog breeds fall between 60 to 80 beats per minute.

Heartworm Prevention - Essential Too
(see Protecting Your Dog from Heartworm Disease for more information on heartworm disease)

Besides knowing how to take your dog's pulse, you should also familiarize yourself with the products used to to prevent heartworms, ticks, and fleas as well. Heartworm prevention is especially essential as the disease can be costly and complicated to treat. So, make sure regular heartworm checks are made by your vet on an annual basis and obtain his or her recommendation as to what to use in terms of a preventative.

Getting Rid of Fleas

In addition to heartworm prevention, it's important to combat fleas too. Typically, the pests will make themselves known around a dog's sleeping area as that's where they'll often deposit their larvae and eggs. Most dogs will encounter a problem with fleas sometime in their life, so, again, talk to your vet about what you should choose in the way of a preventative. While you're at it, talk to your Vet about a Tick Preventative as Well.

Ticks are also pests that can present health problems for dogs, and only rank second to mosquitoes with respect to the transmission of infectious disease. Therefore, once again, a tick preventative is essential to kill ticks and stop the problems that can result from contracting tick-related illness such as Lyme disease, Barbesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis.