Learn to Read Your Puppy’s Vital Signs

Puppy owners should know to read their canine companion’s vitals so they can seek medical help before the situation goes out of hand during distressing health situations.

Knowing what to read and how to read is essential regardless of your furry baby’s age, health, and breed. While learning to read the parameters is one part of the job, doing it quickly and accurately is another.

It is equally important to have a record of your puppy’s vitals when it is relaxed and healthy. Those numbers can serve as a benchmark to compare during poor health days.

While learning to read and measure critical health parameters, consider being equipped with pet health insurance simultaneously. Pet insurance for dogs allows you to provide quality health care during unplanned vet visits and medical emergencies with little economic hassle.

Contemplate purchasing a policy so unexpected medical bills need not be financially overwhelming. Meanwhile, read this article to learn how to measure your puppy’s vitals.

1.Respiration rate

Puppies typically take 24 breaths/minute on average when restive. However, note that smaller pups breathe more quickly and larger dogs more slowly. Bearing this in mind, we can say that the breaths/minute can range from 10 to 35.


Start a stopwatch or watch a clock with the second hand and check the frequency of your puppy’s chest rising and falling in 30 seconds. One rise and one fall are counted as one breath. If the rise/fall isn’t visible, consider placing your hand on its chest, so counting is easier. Do it three times for an accurate reading. In the end, double the number to arrive at breaths/minute.

Expect a quiet breath unless your pup belongs to a brachycephalic breed. If the breathing rate is unreasonably high, there could be a health problem, and your pet likely needs a vet examination.

2.Heart rate

Similar to breathing rate, heart rate varies by dog size. A small dog may have a heart rate between 90 and 160 beats/minute, while a larger dog may have between 65 and 90 beats/minute. But the key lies in learning what is normal for your pup.


Place one hand over your pet’s left side immediately behind its foreleg. Should you have any trouble, try on the inside and place your hand on the top of its hindleg by the femoral artery to feel the pulse.

Use a stopwatch/clock to count heartbeats over 30 seconds, like in the earlier case. Take three readings for accuracy. Double the number for heart rate in “Bpm” (beats/minute). Excitement and exhaustion due to exercise and other activities will show a higher heart rate. For best results, measure the parameter after your puppy rests for a while and not soon after a heavy workout or training.


A healthy pup’s typical body temperature lies between 38⁰C to 39⁰C. A spike/drop in temperature is indicative of a health issue.


Place an infrared digital thermometer inside your puppy’s ear for an accurate temperature reading within seconds. Should you use a rectal thermometer, apply petroleum jelly to its tip and introduce it into the puppy’s rectum (about 0.5 to 2 inches), keep your pet standing for about two minutes, and then record the reading.

Temperature spike indicates overheating, and drop indicates hypothermia; meet your vet asap if your pet is dealing with any of them persistently. At the same time, consider being equipped with pet health insurance to tackle unexpected pet expenses more effectively. Pet insurance for dogs can help lower your financial stress during testing times of health like this and many others, which is why you must contemplate purchasing a policy.

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