When our pets aren’t themselves, we wonder what is an emergency and what is OK to wait.
Over the next few months we will post some basic first aid tips.
The biggest tip we can give is to know what is normal for your pet, if you know what is normal you are more likely to notice when things aren’t normal. That being said there are some basic parameters that we check, and if you phone us we may ask you to check pulse rate, breathing rate, mucous membrane color and response time and possibly temperature!
So here is how we go about checking these things and getting to know our pets normals!
To check a pulse, the easiest to find is usually the femoral pulse. Position your fingertips on the inside of the upper thigh between the front and back thigh muscles, you are feeling for the groove where the blood vessels run against the femur (thigh bone). Once you are settled and can feel it, count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get the beats per minute.
Average beats per minute range from 60-100 for large dogs, 80-140 for med/small dogs and 110-220 for cats.
To check breathing rate, you are just going to count how many breaths your pet takes in 15 secs and again multiply by 4.
Average breathing rate can be anywhere from 8-40 breaths per minute.
To check mucous membranes, we are looking for 2 things; the color and the refill response time. The easiest place to check is the gum, so gently lift your pets lip and notice the color – they should be pink and moist. It is important here to know what is normal for your pet as color and pigment can vary within individuals. Once you have noted the color, gently press on the gums to “blanche” them (make them turn white) and release. The color should return within 2 seconds. If the gums are white, different from their normal color or the refill time is sluggish that is a concern.
To check temperature, if you are comfortable and it will not stress your pet you can obtain a rectal temperature.
Normal temperature is 38.5 C (+/- 1 C)
Please watch the attached video and stop by anytime and we can show you on your pet!