How to Check Your Dog or Cat's Pulse Rate

Written by viola brown
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How to Check Your Dog or Cat's Pulse Rate
Learning how to check you animal's pulse is an essential pet first aid skill. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Learning how to check you cat or dog's pulse rate is a useful skill to have. If your animal seems to be in distress, checking its pulse and comparing it to its normal base pulse can help you determine how serious the condition may be. A dog's pulse should average between 70 to 180 beats per minute while a cat's pulse should average between 120-240 beats per minute. The smaller the animal the higher the pulse rate.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stop watch or clock

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  1. 1

    Locate the major artery -- the femoral artery -- in the groin area of the animal. It should be located between the thigh and abdomen.

  2. 2

    Place the fingertips of your index and middle fingers on the artery and locate the pulse. You should feel a steady beat when you find the pulse.

  3. 3

    Count the number of beats per 30 seconds. Multiply this number by two to calculate the pulse rate in beats per minute. Repeat this process three times to ensure an accurate reading.

Tips and warnings

  • If you find that your animal is showing an accelerated pulse rate -- and it has not recently undergone physical exercise or activity -- seek veterinary care immediately.

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