Vital Signs

In order to know what is an abnormal temperature, respiratory rate or heart rate for your Clumber Spaniel, you need to be aware of what their normal readings are! You do not want to be in an emergency situation with your dog with no idea how to see if they have a pulse.

Normal ranges for a dog are:

  • Heart Rate - 60-140 beats per minute
  • Respiratory Rate - 10-35 times per minute
  • Temperature - 37.8-39.1 degrees celsius

Heart Rate

This should be taken whilst your dog is at rest. With your dog laying on their right side, you can feel over the heart, on their chest, just behind the front leg, or you can feel gently inside the top of either back leg for a pulse.

You should count the pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply this amount by four for their heart rate per minute. A large dog will have a slower rate than a puppy, small dog or unfit dog. A Clumber Spaniel is more likely to have a resting heart rate of between 60-100.

There are many causes for fast heart rate from physical exercise, pain or anxiety to circulatory problems, where the heart has to work harder to get the blood around the body. A vet should be consulted in order to investigate any abnormalities.

Respiratory Rate

Again, this should be taken at rest. Set a timer for 15 seconds and sit by your dog and watch their chest raise and lower with thier breath. You should multiply this amount by four to obtain their respiratory rate per minute.

Reasons for a high respiratory rate include cooling down, stress and pain.


If your dog is frantically panting and is glassy-eyed, overheating is a medical emergency. You should:

  • Move your dog away from the source of heat - into the shade or inside, wet them with a hose, if available.
  • Offer them water to drink
  • Call your vet and ask for guidance


This is easier with a digital rectal thermometer. It should be lubricated with a water based lubricant and inserted 1-2 inches into your dogs rectum. It may be easier to have someone hold your dogs muzzle whilst you do this.

General signs to look for:

  • 37.2 celcius or below (hypothermia) - may be lethargic and less alert. They may shiver or tremble. It may be the thermometer was not inserted high enough into the rectum
  • 39.4 celcius or above (hyperthermia) - may also be lethargic. They often pant to dissipate excess body heat and their gums may become dark red.


Vet Street - Dr. Marty Becker DVM

Pet MD

VCA Animal Hospital

How did we do?

Powered by HelpDocs (opens in a new tab)

Powered by HelpDocs (opens in a new tab)