Vital Signs in Dogs and Cats

Sleeping Dog

It’s very important for pet people to know the normal vital signs of their pets. In case of illness or emergency, the more information you have, the better able your veterinarian will be to treat your pet.


  • The normal heart rate for dogs is between 70-160 beat per minute.
  • Respiration for dogs is 10-30 breaths per minute.
  • Normal temperature for dogs is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8-39.2 degrees centigrade).


  • The normal heart rate for cats is between 160-240 beats per minute.
  • Respiration for cats is 20-30 breaths per minute.
  • Normal temperature for cats is 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.1-39.2 degrees centigrade).

To check your pet’s heart rate, hold your hand over the heart, you can feel the beats. Count them for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. That will give you the heart rate.

Respiration can be determined by observing the flank or placing a mirror close to the nostrils. Do this for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to check respiration.

Temperature can be checked using a rectal thermometer or any one of the new types of thermometers. Temperature above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit or below 99 degrees Fahrenheit, the vet should be called.

It’s a good idea to practice taking your pet’s vital signs so that you learn to do it properly.

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