Pet Expressway for Dogs

How To Check Your Dog For A Normal Pulse

How To Check Your Dog For A Normal Pulse

One of the ways to check if your dog is sick is to check for a normal pulse. The pulse of a dog is the rate at which its heart beats. The heartbeat is the number of times their heart contracts in a minute and it’s more commonly known as BPM.


Dog’s Healthy Pulse Rate

For a dog, a healthy pulse is between 60 to 140 BPM in a ‘resting dog’. To break it down with more exactitude,

  • For a small, mini, or toy dog, less than 30 pounds, a normal pulse rate is 100 to 160 Beats Per Minute (BPM)
  • Medium and large dogs, dogs over 30 pounds, a normal pulse rate would be 60 to 100 BPM.
  • For puppies or dogs up to 1-year-old, a normal pulse rate would be 120 to 160 BPM.

Some reasons your dog may have an abnormal pulse include things as simple as the heart’s reaction to pain and stress to neurological, respiratory, or gastrointestinal illnesses. Whatever the case may be, knowing how to check your dog’s pulse is a basic skill required in order to determine if your dog is sick.


Video on How to Check Your Dog’s Pulse

YouTube video

Where On The Body Can You Check Your Dog’s Pulse?

There are several areas on your dog’s body where you would be able to check his pulse.

  1. The Inner Thigh
  2. Just below the Wrist (called the Carpus)
  3. Just below the Ankle (called the Hock)
  4. At the actual Heartbeat.


1. Checking Your Dog’s Pulse at the Inner Thigh

This is the easiest of the three pulse point areas to check the pulse.

  • Have your dog lie on his back or side so that his belly is exposed and legs open.
  • Softly place your middle and index finger on the inner thigh where the dog’s leg meets his body.
  • Feel and count the pulse beats for 1 minute

2. Checking Your Dog’s Pulse at the Wrist (Carpus)

  • Have your dog sit or lie down.
  • Underneath the dog’s paw, find the spot above the inner pad.
  • Lightly place your middle and index finger at this point.
  • Feel and count the pulse beats for 1 minute.

3. Checking the Pulse Below the Ankle (Hock)

  • Have your dog sit or lie down.
  • Underneath the dog’s hind paw, find the spot above the middle pad.
  • Lightly place your middle and index finger at this point.
  • Feel and count the pulse beats for 1 minute

4. The Heartbeat

The heartbeat can be felt at the point where the left elbow touches the chest (5 th rib) .

  • Lay your dog on his right side.
  • Simply raise the elbow back where it touches the chest.
  • Softly place your hand, using your four fingers and palm, over this area to feel and count the heartbeats in one minute.

Whichever method you choose to check for pulse/heartbeat, remember you are looking for beats per minute.


Tips When Checking A Dog’s Pulse

  • You can set your cell phone timer or have a second person with you time the procedure.
  • If you are on your own with your dog then check second hand on your watch or clock and count to 15 while taking the pulse and multiply that number by 4.
  • Always remember to place your middle and index fingers “gently ” on the ‘pulse point”. Too much pressure may block the pulse.
  • Also never take the dog’s pulse using your thumb as your thumb actually has a pulse!
  • Another valuable tip would be to know what is normal for your dog. Refer to the heart rate and pulse rate measure above for dogs of different ages and sizes. Remember the general guide is 60 to 140 BPM in a resting dog. But age and size can cause differences in pulse.
  • Remember to practice taking your dog’s pulse often and well in advance of needing to. Both you and your dog need to be comfortable with the procedure. You want to make sure you can locate your dog’s pulse point effortlessly. This will help ensure you obtain accurate results.
  • It’s recommended that you learn at least two of these four methods to take a pulse. We recommend the heartbeat directly, since you may need that for pet CPR. And we aslo recommend the inner thigh method of taking a pulse as most dogs dislike having their paws touched.


For Further Information

For a complete, encyclopedic survival guide to all aspects of dog health, from preventative care to choosing a vet to doggie First Aid (even the canine Heimlich maneuver!), you should take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.

It’s a survival guide for knowledgeable, effective, and life-saving dog care. This manual keeps your dog’s health and well-being firmly within your control – which is exactly where you want it to be.

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Keith Byrne

Keith Byrne

From an early age Keith has been around dogs. He has been involved in dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting and dog showing as well as voluntary work in animal shelters. His aim is to help all dog owners especially newbies learn about dogs and care for them in a loving, caring and fun way.


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