If you’re a first-time pet parent, consider the following questions…

  • Do you know the normal heartrate for your dog?
  • Are you aware when he feels too hot or too cold?
  • Does your furball seem to be panting more heavily than usual?

The more you know about your furry friend’s vital signs, the more readily you can stay on top of his welfare, and today’s guide shows you all you need to know. Let’s get started with some basics on canine heartrate.

What is a Dog’s Heart Rate?

Your dog’s heart rate is otherwise known as his pulse when it is measured at other points on the body.

Canine heartrate expresses how many times the heart will beat in one minute. Heartrate in dogs, like in humans, is expressed in terms of BPM (beats per minute).

Your dog’s heart pumps blood through his body. You can monitor your dog’s heartrate by placing your hand over their heart. Your dog’s heart is located along the wall of his chest, just behind his left armpit. If your dog is lean, you should easily feel his heartbeats. To obtain an accurate heartrate, feel for beats during a 60-second period. Although some people count beats for 15 seconds and multiply the result by four, this may result in a less accurate reading.

If a vet monitors canine heartrate, they might use a stethoscope to get this information. Alternatively, they may feel one of the leg arteries of the dog for a pulse.

What is a Normal Canine Heartrate?


A normal canine heartrate will vary depending on the size of the breed. As a general rule, smaller breeds will have faster heartbeats than larger breeds.

Additionally, canine heartrate varies according to the age of the dog in question. A younger dog’s heart will beat more rapidly than the heart of a senior dog.

You may also find that canine heartrate decreases after your dog has taken a nap. Similarly, a dog’s heart rate is liable to rise immediately following a bout of vigorous exercise.

According to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), these are normal heartrates for dogs:

  • Small breeds: 90 to 120 BPM
  • Medium breeds: 70 to 110 BPM
  • Large breeds: 60 to 90 BPM

During the first year of life, a puppy’s heart may beat as quickly as 180 BPM.

Your dog’s overall health will also impact his heartrate. Healthy dogs tend to have lower heartrates than dogs that suffer from health complications. If you suspect that your dog’s heartrate falls outside the average ranges outlined above, consult your vet. If heartrate increases or decreases significantly, this can indicate an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Heart disease

Serious Complications Associated with Abnormal Canine Heart Rate

If you determine that your dog’s heart is not beating quickly enough, this can prevent sufficient blood from traveling throughout his body. Untreated, this can trigger potentially life-threatening organ failure. The most common reasons for a low canine heartrate include:

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Issues with blood pressure
  • Extreme cold
  • Hormone problems
  • Drugs
  • Toxins

Perhaps you discover that your dog’s heart appears to be beating too rapidly. This can also lead to an insufficiency of circulating blood. The chambers of the heart will not have time to refill between contractions of the heart. High canine heart rate can occur for many reasons, such as:

  • Fear
  • High body temperature
  • PainExcitement
  • Primary heart problems
  • Hormone problems
  • Blood loss
  • Dehydration
  • Drugs
  • Toxins

What is a Normal Canine Breathing Rate?


Activity can impact canine breathing rate as noticeably as it does heartrate. The other factors that affect a dog’s breathing rate are:

  • Temperature
  • Diseases
  • Pollution
  • Anxiety

ASPCA reports that most dogs average 12 to 24 breaths per minute. Breed specifics and overall health status may influence breathing rate in the same way as heartrate.

What is a Normal Canine Temperature?

According to ASPCA, a dog’s normal temperature range is 100.5F to 102.5F. If your dog’s temperature falls outside this band, take him to the vet or animal emergency room for an examination.

  • If a dog’s temperature goes below 100.5F, this could indicate hypothermia.
  • If a dog’s temperature goes above 102.5F, this could indicate fever, circulatory issues, or heat stroke requiring veterinary intervention as well as treatment.


Discovering as much as you can about your furball’s vital signs can help you to ensure that he stays happy and healthy. You should also now have a clear idea about when you need to take action and consult your dog’s vet and when you have nothing to worry about.

We have a busy content calendar for the approaching summer season here at Rabies Challenge Fund. Take a moment to bookmark our site before you leave, and pop back very soon for more informative guides on all aspects of pet parenting. See you soon!

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