How To Take A Dog’s Pulse

Taking a dog’s pulse may seem like an intimidating task for many pet owners. However, it is a vital skill to have, especially in emergencies or when checking your furry friend’s overall health. Fortunately, taking a dog’s pulse is relatively easy once you know the steps and have a bit of practice.

Before delving into how to take a dog’s pulse, it’s essential to understand why this skill is necessary. A dog’s heart rate can provide important information about their health and wellbeing. For instance, if your dog’s heart rate is too high or too low, it could indicate an underlying health issue that needs attention. Additionally, knowing how to take your dog’s pulse can help you monitor their heart rate during exercise or stressful situations.

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of taking a dog’s pulse!

Step One: Find the Pulse

The first step in taking a dog’s pulse is locating their heartbeat. You can find your dog’s pulse by feeling for it on their femoral artery, which runs along the inside of their hind leg. To find this artery, place your hand on the inside of your dog’s thigh and move your fingers upward until you feel a firm but gentle pulsing sensation.

Alternatively, you can also find your dog’s pulse by feeling for it on their chest just behind their elbow joint. Place your hand over this area and feel for the heartbeat beneath your fingers.

Step Two: Count the Beats

Once you have located your dog’s heartbeat, count the number of beats that occur within 15 seconds. You can use either a stopwatch or simply count “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand” to keep track of time. After 15 seconds have passed, multiply the number of beats by four to get your dog’s heart rate per minute.

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Ideally, a healthy adult dog should have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Puppies and small breeds tend to have a faster heart rate than larger breeds, while senior dogs may have a slower heart rate.

Step Three: Practice Makes Perfect

Taking your dog’s pulse for the first time can be daunting, but with practice, it becomes easier. It’s essential to practice this skill regularly so that you become confident in your ability to do it quickly and accurately.

To get more practice, you can also ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to take your dog’s pulse during a routine check-up. They can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have.

Tips for Success

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when taking your dog’s pulse:

– Make sure your dog is relaxed before attempting to take their pulse. Talk soothingly to them or give them treats if necessary.
– Use two fingers (not your thumb) when feeling for your dog’s heartbeat. Your thumb has its own pulse, which could interfere with reading your dog’s heartbeat.
– If you’re having trouble finding your dog’s pulse on one side, try the other leg or chest.
– Don’t panic if you can’t find the pulse immediately ¨C it takes some practice!


Taking your dog’s pulse is an essential skill for any pet owner. By knowing how to do this simple task, you can monitor your furry friend’s overall health and wellbeing. Remember to practice regularly and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your veterinarian if needed.

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So, grab some treats, take a deep breath, and start practicing! With a bit of patience and persistence, you’ll soon be a pro at taking your dog’s pulse.