Dog's heartbeat and heart rate - Toutoupourlechien

Is your dog's heart beating too fast compared to normal? What is the normal value for a dog's heart rate?

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The normal heartbeat in a dog

Rhythm and heart rate: what's the difference?

We often tend to equate rhythm and heart rate, yet it's not quite the same thing.

The heart rate is a qualitative notion that defines the way in which the heartbeats are linked (for example: two close beats followed by a beat further away in time). The normal heartbeat is regular.

Heart rate refers to the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually for one minute.It is a quantitative concept. It normally varies according to the activity and the emotions felt by the animal. For example, the heart rate temporarily increases normally when the dog is exercising or experiencing a strong emotion. It returns to lower values when the dog is at rest or recovers a neutral emotional state.

Normal heart rate values in dogs

Normal heart rate in adult dogs is on average in the range of 70 to 180 beats per minute (bpm).

However, a dog's normal heart rate may depend on the breed it belongs to (and therefore its size). Thus, the adult dog's heart rate which belongs to:

  • to large race or giant race can be between 60 and 140 bpm,
  • at an average race is between 70 and 160 bpm,
  • to a small breed or dwarf breed is above 180 bpm.

Did you know?

The younger the dog, the faster his heart beats! A puppy's heart rate at birth averages between 210 and 240 bpm.

Heart rhythm disorders in dogs

In dogs, it happens that the heart rate and/or the regularity of the heart rhythm are abnormally modified.

These disorders can manifest as:

  • tachycardia, an abnormal increase in heart rate,
  • bradycardia, an abnormal decrease in heart rate,
  • arrhythmia, irregular heartbeat.

They can then be a sign of various ailments of the dog, cardiac as well as more general or of intoxication of the animal.

They can be accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, the onset of discomfort/syncope, exercise intolerance, but this is not systematic.

How do you assess the heart rate in a dog?

Heart rate and heart rate can be assessed during an examination of the animal by a veterinarian, especially when listening to the sounds of the heart using a stethoscope.

It is also possible for an owner to perceive his dog's rhythm and heart rate by taking his pulse. With each heartbeat, blood is pumped to the organs, causing a "pulsating wave" in the arteries that can be felt by palpation and is called the pulse.

In dogs, the easiest way is to take their animal's pulse by feeling their carotid artery. It is then necessary to place two fingers at the level of the lower third of the animal's neck near its thorax in a small gutter present at this place.Once the heartbeats are felt, simply count them over a minute to assess the dog's heart rate and assess their regularity, i.e. whether the time interval between two beats is the same (caution , it is not necessarily easy to determine if the dog's heart rate is high), to judge the dog's heart rate.

More simply, it is also possible to simply measure the number of heartbeats per minute of the dog by looking for the shock of the heart against the dog's thorax by placing the palm of the hand near the dog's sternum.

However, if you suspect a disease and/or the slightest anomaly in your dog, you will then have to consult your veterinarian without delay and this, whether or not you have detected by yourself a rhythm anomaly and/or your pet's heart rate. Nothing replaces a proper auscultation by your veterinarian!

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