How to Take a Femoral Pulse in a Dog

Many factors can affect your dog's heart rate -- including shock, illness, anxiety, accident or blood loss -- which you can measure by palpating the dog's femoral pulse. Knowing how to take your dog's pulse is a handy tool to help you keep tabs of her vital signs.

Step 1

Lay your dog on the floor or a steady, stable surface.

Step 2

Look in the center of your dog's upper thigh for a depression where the femoral artery crosses the femur bone, which is the uppermost part of her rear leg.

Step 3

Place the ball of one or two fingers over this artery on the inside of your dog's thigh.

Step 4

Use a watch with a second hand and count the number of beats for 30 or 60 seconds. Jot down the number of beats within this time frame. Multiply the beats you count in the 30-second time span by two.

Step 5

Compare your dog's pulse rate against the normal rate for dogs. For small dogs, the rate is 90 to 140 beats per minute. For large dogs, the rate is 60 to 90 beats per minute.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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