Pets’ Vital Signs & Normal Values

Vital Signs and Normal Values:

It is important to know what is normal so we can learn to recognize later on what is abnormal. Some general observations are mostly true. The smaller the pet, the faster the heart rate is. In the hospital, techs will usually perform TPR and take your pet’s weight even before you see the doctor. This routine is a good sign that your vet’s offices do not cut corners and the staff are highly trained and empowered. They are not replacing your vet but simply augmenting his capabilities.

TPR and their respective normal values are:

• Temperature for dogs: 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit; for cats: 100 to 102.

• Pulse or heart rate: large dogs: beats per minute; small dogs: ; cats: 100 to 140.

• Respiratory rate: 16 to 40 breaths per minute for dogs and cats.

Other things you can check at home are the gums. Pink and moist is what you want to see. Dry and tacky might mean dehydration or illness. Eyes should not be bloodshot or yellow. A dry nose, contrary to popular belief, might not mean a pet is ill. On the same note, a wet nose does not guarantee wellness.

Age Comparison

Seven years! We all grew up knowing that. Pretty close!

Choosing a Pet

Ask yourself these questions:

• What role does a pet play in your life?

• How much time do you have for your pet?

• What about cost overall?

• Pet personalities and matching that with yourself?

• How about your human family members? Their ages? Their attitudes?

Dog breeds and Cat breeds

What makes a breed special? Everyone has something to say about this. Let us not forget the specialness of the mixed breed pet. Call her a mutt; call him a Heinz; nobody enjoys “hybrid vigor” as much as these pets. This vitality comes from getting back what was removed by mankind from centuries of seeking perfection. However, mixed breed dogs can get sick too. And most of the time, these diseases can be those that afflict the breed most predominant in that pet. The Dingo of Australia or the Carolina Dogs of the USA might be the closest examples of the dog returning to its natural state. Give up the expectation of uniformity of looks and predictability of certain traits so that you can be happy with a mutt. “Mongrel” could be a derogatory term for someone of mixed origin or character but I feel nothing but pride for these wonderful pets.

Exotics and Pocket Pets

Special pets require special personalities. Walk into your local library or pet supply store and you will see books devoted to care of every little creature that crawl, slither, fly, or swim. The store might even have some free brochures that outline care from A to Z. When my daughter picked up some hermit crabs from Corpus Christie, the nice shop keeper spent much more time going through the instruction sheet than the sale. Some people like to keep pets that make your skin crawl. There is also the extreme enthusiast. They keep potentially dangerous predators. There has been plenty of speculation on why certain personalities seek the rush or find comfort in sitting at the fringe or beyond.