Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

When looking at any animal to assess whether they are with normal parameters we need to look at three main things their temperature, their respiration rate and their heart rate.

The next problem is knowing what is normal and this is not easy either as the rates will vary depending on the breed, their age and size.

With dogs and cats, lets first look at temperature. The average temperature of a dog 38.5 degree Celsius and with a normal range of 38 to 39.1-degree Celsius. Where the body temperature is above this, a trip to the vet is advised. Puppies and kittens can have a lower temperature range of 34.4 to 36.1 celsius until they are about one month old.

If an animal is cold it may show signs of chills by shivering or laying in a warm spot to warm up by a heater or in the sun. Dogs and cats regulate their temperature by panting only which is not a very efficient method of temperature control so in hot weather limit exercise especially in short-faced dog breeds like pugs or bulldogs.

The coat also helps to regulate temperature by insulating the body in cold weather and protecting them from the heat in hot weather but with short coated animals this may not be as effective.

An animal who has a temperature of less than 37.5 degrees Celsius is getting hypothermic and a temperature of over 39.2 is hyperthermic and they can be entering into heat stroke and fever temperature ranges. A dogs nose is not a good indicator of temperature but hot ears can be an indication of fever.

With pulse rates, these vary a lot with dogs depending on their age and breed. Puppies have heart rates of between 160 to 200 beats per minute and larger dogs between 60 to 140 beats per minute. Generally, a larger breed dog has a slower heart rate and a smaller breed dog has a faster heartbeat. Toy breeds of dogs can have a pulse of 180 beats per minute. The important thing you need to do is to find out what is an average resting pulse for your dog, then you will know if they are unwell. The pulse will increase with exercise so we always look at a resting pulse.

With respiration rates, these are measured in breaths per minute. Normal for dogs that are not panting is 10 to 34 breaths per minute. With puppies and toy breeds, their rate is between 15 and 40 breaths per minute. It is important when working out what is normal to have a resting respiratory rate, not when they are panting. A panting dog can have a respiration rate of up to 200 breaths per minute.

With cats, it is a little different. Pulse rates average 110 to 130 beats per minute. Respiration rates with cats are 10 to 30 breaths per minute and when they pant it can increase to 300 pants per minute. Cats do not usually pant unless they are stressed, frightened or in hot weather and they should not pant for more than a few minutes at a time.