Heart Rate and Pulse

The heartbeat of a dog or cat can be felt at about the point where the left elbow touches the chest (about the fifth rib). 

 1.    Lay our pet down on the right side. 
 

 2.    Gently bend the left-front leg at the elbow. 

 3.    Bring the elbow back to where it touches the chest. 
 

 4.    Place your hand or a stethoscope (available at most pharmacies) over this area to feel or hear and count heartbeats. 
 

Pulses can also be felt with a light touch using your middle and index finger at three additional locations: 
   

The inner thigh.  This is the easiest of the three locations at which to feel the pulse. 

 1.    Lay your pet down, on either side. 
 2.    Gently lift the upper back leg away from the lower back leg. 
 3.    Place your two fingers as high up as possible on the inside of either leg, just where the leg meets the body wall.  A light touch should be used; if you press too hard you will not feel the
pulse.
 4.    Feel for a pulse.  The pulse can be felt in the middle of the leg approximately halfway between the front and back of the leg, where you can feel a recess in the leg; this recess is where the blood vessels run.    


Just below the wrist (carpus). 
 
1.  The animal may either sit or lie down. 
 2.    Locate the area just above the middle pad on the underside of either front paw. 
 3.    Lightly place your middle and index finger at this point. 
 4.    Feel for a pulse. 


Just below the ankle (hock). 

 1.    The animal may either sit or lie down. 
 2.    Locate the area just above the middle pad on the underside of either hind paw. 
 3.    Lightly place your middle and index finger at this point. 
 4.    Feel for a pulse. 

Practice on your pet before an emergency occurs!

Normal Heart and Pulse Rates

Dog
    * Small, miniature or toy breed (30 pounds or less):  100-160 beats per minute. 
    * Medium to large breed (over 30 pounds):  60-100 beats per minute. 
    *Puppy (until one year old):  120-160 beats per minute. 

Cat
   
*160-220 beats per minute.