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Dog's Vital Signs

Dog Vital Signs

To access how well your dog’s physical system is functioning, three vital signs that your veterinarian measures are heart rate, breathing rate and temperature.

Heart rate

Adult dogs over 30 pounds have a normal heart rate of 80-100 beats per minute.

There are four locations which can be used to measure your dog’s pulse or heart rate:

Dog Vital Signs
  • on the ribs right behind his left or right elbow
  • on the inside of the hind leg where the leg meets the rest of the body
  • on the underside of either front paw, slightly above where the middle paw pad ends
  • on the back of either of the dogs hind legs, just below the ankle

Hold your middle finger and index finger on the pulse point. Count how many beats or pulses you can measure during a 10 second period. Multiple that by 6 to get beats per minute.

Breathing rate

Normal resting rate for dogs is 10-30 breaths per minute. Observe the ribcage as it rises and falls during a 60 second period. Do not count panting (shallow breath).


Normal temperature is between 100-102.7. Use a rectal thermometer or pediatric digital thermometer. Lubricate tip with petroleum jelly. Keep dog in standing position and hold tail up. Carefully insert tip into rectum and leave for required time. Remove and read.

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This page was last updated on 3/27/2017