Heart rate changes in relation to the size of a pet. In general, the larger they are, the slower the heart rate and if very young, their heart rates will also be much faster than an adult of the same species and breed. It’s also worth thinking about what your pet is busy doing, has just been doing or is anticipating doing… i.e. is he fast asleep (slower), just been running wildly in the park (faster) or about to get his favourite treat (faster).

Resting heart rates (i.e. quiet, calm and relaxed) for adult cats are usually around 120 -140 beats per minute. Adult dogs will usually be between 70 – 120 beats per minute.

To take your pet’s heart rate you can feel the femoral artery on the mid-section the inside of the hind leg. Count the number of beats you feel in 15 seconds and multiply by four.

A marked increase, decrease or irregular pattern in your dog’s heart rate can indicate a serious condition like dehydration, fever, heart disease or shock. Knowing how to take your pet’s pulse can be a useful tool for assessing how your pet is doing in an emergency situation. The next time you see your vet, ask her to demonstrate how to find your pet’s pulse and what is normal for your pet in particular.