Pet CPR + First Aid Certification Manual: Normal Vital Signs

Pet First Aid: Normal Vital Signs
Breathing
  • Dogs - unlabored 10-30 breaths per minute with no more than 200 pants
  • Cats - unlabored 20-30 breaths per minute
Pulse
  • Take the pulse at the inside of the upper hind leg or where the elbow meets the chest (at the 5th rib)
  • Cats should be between 160-220 beats per minute (bpm)
  • Dog heart rates can vary by size and age between 60-100 bpm for large dogs, 100-140 bpm for small dogs and 120-160 bpm for puppies
Capillary Refill Time (CRT) & Mucous Membrane
  • Press against mucous membrane (gums) and then release tension
  • CRT should take 1-2 seconds to return to normal color
  • The mucous membrane should be pink and wet
  • Slower than normal CRT can indicate a circulation problem
Temperature
  • Temperature should be taken rectally with a thermometer 
  • Dogs and cats should have a temperature between 99.5-102.5 degrees
Dehydration
  • Pull the skin between the shoulder blades and then release
  • The skin should return quickly if the animal is hydrated