First Aid - Vital Signs / Transporting

      Contributed by David Candline

      This document is copyrighted and publication in whole or part is prohibited except by permission of the author.

      Vital Signs:

      Dog's vital signs vary within "normal" ranges. It would be useful to become familiar with your pet's vitals so that you can tell a vet of any change from its ordinary levels.

      Heart / Pulse 80 - 120 beats per minute

      Respiration 10 - 30 breaths per minute

      Temperature 38-39 Degrees Centigrade / 100 - 102 Farenheit

      Mucous Membranes warm, pink, and moist Capillary refill time less than 1.5 secs. ( Capillary refill time is a gross indicator of blood pressure) It can be observed by holding a dog's lip open and firmly pressing down on the pink flesh inside the lip until you see a white spot around the pressure point. The white spot is caused by your having blocked the capillary blood vessels. The time taken for the white spot to return to its ordinary pink color is the Capillary refill time.

      Transporting a dog to the vet:

      In an emergency, you will be no use to your dog if you are killed or injured trying to get to the vet. If you are transporting a sick or paralyzed or poisoned dog you would be well to put it into a crate to minimize movement or interference with your being able to drive. If you are transporting an injured, or unconscious dog that may have suffered fractures or internal injury - muzzle it first. Then transfer it to a small board or blanket for carrying it to the car. If possible consider taping the dog to a board to minimize movement. If limb fractures are suspected try to move the dog with the injured limb hanging free. Do not splint !

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