Normal Parameters

You don't customarily take blood pressure on dogs, but you do check temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and urination/defecation routines. Dogs have normal ranges for these measures, just as humans do, so get to know your Yorkie's regular rates.

Heart Rate

The normal heart rate for a toy dog at rest ranges from 90 to 160 beats per minute. Exercise, fear, and high temperatures all tend to elevate heart rate. Puppies' heart rates are generally higher than those of adults. To take your Yorkie's heart rate, press your fingers against the left side of the rib cage where the front leg joins the body. Count beats for fifteen seconds, and then multiply the number of beats by four.

Respiratory Rate

Average respiration ranges from ten to thirty breaths per minute. This is normal breathing, not exercise- or temperature-induced panting. Count your dog's respiration when he is in a normal, calm state — not panting.

Dogs do not sweat through the skin as we do. They open their mouths, stick out their tongues, and pant. This evaporates water from the mouth, releasing hot air from the body and bringing cooler air into the lungs. The only place dogs can sweat is through the pads of their feet.

To determine respiratory rate, watch your Yorkie's chest rise and fall. Count the breaths for fifteen seconds, and then multiply the number of breaths by four.

Temperature

The average canine temperature ranges from 100° to 102.5°F. Don't panic if your dog's temperature is over 100 — it could be normal. When her temperature rises above 103°F, however, you know there's a problem.

Have someone help you take your dog's temperature, if possible. If the dog were to sit down suddenly, it could break the thermometer and create a veterinary emergency. Hold your Yorkie still, and keep him standing while his temperature is being taken.

To take a dog's temperature, you use a rectal thermometer. Coat it with a little petroleum jelly, lift the tail, and insert the thermometer a couple of inches into the anus. Leave it there the recommended amount of time (digital thermometers register more quickly than bulb thermometers), then take it out and read it.

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