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Your dog’s heart rate will vary, depending on many factors.
A heart rate of between 70 and 120 beats per minute is normal for healthy dogs. Smaller breeds usually have a higher heart rate than the larger breeds.
Puppies also usually have higher rates, up to 180 beats per minute and this is considered normal even up to one year of age. Even dogs of the same age and breed can have different heart rates depending on their body condition and physical fitness.
A rapid heart rate can indicate a problem that needs veterinary attention.
Heart disease can cause an increase in heart rate. Because the failing heart isn’t as efficient at pumping blood around the body, it has to beat faster to meet the body’s demand for oxygen. A very high heart rate that stays high for a long period of time can lead to progressive failure of the heart muscle.
Conditions such as kidney disease, cancer and infection can lead to electrolyte imbalances and rapid heart rate.
Some poisons will affect the heart. For example, organophosphates that are found in some insecticides will cause a rapid heart rate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and it too causes a fast heartbeat.
Hot weather will cause panting and increase your dog’s heart rate.
Anxiety, stress and fear will all make your dog’s heart rate increase. In this respect, they are no different to us. Examples are dogs who are frightened during thunderstorms, or those who are nervous when visiting the veterinarian.
In overweight dogs, the heart will have to work harder even when the dog isn’t active, and any exercise at all will increase the heart rate even further.
Pain also results in an increased heart rate.
If you notice your dog’s heart rate is higher than you feel it should be, have a look at his environment and how he is feeling. Is he hot, or has he just been running around? Perhaps he is feeling anxious, and his heart rate will return to normal when he is more relaxed.
In Summary – You will notice other signs of disease if his heart rate is associated with illness such as infection, or heart failure. If your dog appears unwell, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up.
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