How to Measure a Resting Respiratory Rate in a Dog
How to Measure a Dog's Respiration Rate
Measuring your dog's respiration rate (breaths taken per minute) is an easy and simple task which can help catch medical problems before they become serious and hard to treat. Increased resting respiratory rates in dogs can be symptomatic of heart disease as well as a variety of other ailments. If your dog has experienced heart issues in the past, you might want to keep track of their resting respiratory rate.
Taking Your Dog’s Respiration Rate
Take your dog’s respiration rate when it is calm.In order to determine your dog’s respiration rate, make sure that it is calm. Dogs naturally increase their blood oxygen levels while at play or when anxious. This means that they breathe more in order to circulate more oxygen through their systems. Alternatively, if your dog has just finished playing and is hot, it will increase its breathing rate to exhale the heat in their bodies, in an effort to cool themselves down. Wait until your dog is sitting still or laying down to take its respiratory rate.
Count how many breaths your dog takes for one full minute.You don’t need to hold you hand in front of your dog’s nose, nor do you need to flip it over and feel for its lungs. These activities will only make your dog more nervous, which in turn will elevate its respiratory rate. Simply sit close enough to your dog to see its sides. Watch as its chest/torso expands and contracts. One breath is made up of one inhale and one exhale.
- The normal respiratory rate for a dog is between 15 and 30 breaths per minute. Excited and overheated dogs may exceed this number. Just watch their condition and make sure they return to the safe range if you are concerned.
Use a stopwatch.If you don’t have a stopwatch, use the second hand on your watch. For the first couple of times that you take your dog’s respiratory rate, be sure to count for a full minute. After you’ve done it several times and feel confident in your counting ability, you can reduce the time to 30 seconds. Then simply multiply your number by two to get your dog’s breaths per minute rate.
Keeping Track of Your Dog’s Respiratory Rate
Use a journal to record your dog’s respiratory rate.Make sure that the journal or piece of paper you use has a space for a date and time, respiratory rate number, and any other comments you might have. Record your dog’s respiratory rate every time you take it, even if you think your dog might be a little excited or hot still. Simply note your dog’s recent activity in the side bar. There are templates online for you to use as well.
Download the “Your Dog’s Heart” App.This app allows its users to count and record the resting respiratory rate of your dog. The application is free and easy to use. You can set reminders to take your pets breath rate. The app will record and chart how their respiratory rate changes overtime. You can even put in a veterinarian’s information and have results sent straight to him. If you have family members that are worried about your pet, you can even use the app to post the data to social media (e.g. Facebook or Twitter).
Knowing When to Visit the Vet
Visit the vet if your dog’s respiratory rate exceeds 30 breaths per minute.15 to 30 is the normal range. This could be a sign of any number of issues ranging from bacterial and viral infections to traumatic injury.
Call the vet immediately, if your dog seems to be gasping for air.Serious lung issues may present themselves in such a dramatic way. Punctured or deflated lungs can be caused by a variety of issues and will certainly affect your dog’s respiratory rate.Be sure to call your vet before you actually visit his offices, just in case your dog shouldn't be moved. If this is the case, your vet will either advise you on what to do or will come to you.
Take your dog to the vet if it has an increased respiratory rate combined with other symptoms of illness.Coughing or nasal discharge combined with an increased breathing rate often signal issues with the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
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