Healthy Paws: The At-Home Health Assessment

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. We’ve all likely had the experience of having a sick or injured pet and wondering whether emergency treatment is needed or if it is something that can wait until your primary veterinarian is open in the morning.

The first step in knowing if there is a problem is knowing what is normal for your pet. This is why we recommend regularly performing an at-home health assessment:

  • My pet is behaving normally, active and in good spirits
  • My pet’s appetite is normal with no difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • My pet breathes normally, without straining or effort
  • My pet urinates in the usual amounts and frequency, with no pain or difficulty when eliminating
  • My pet has normal appearing bowel movements, with no pain or difficulty when eliminating
  • My pet walks without stiffness, pain or difficulty
  • My pet’s feet look healthy and its nails are short
  • My pet’s coat is full, glossy and in good condition
  • My pet’s skin is free from dry flakes and not greasy
  • My pet has no fleas, ticks, lice or mites
  • My pet’s ears are clean and odor free
  • My pet’s eyes are bright, clear and free of matter
  • My pet’s nose is moist and free from discharge
  • My pet’s teeth are clean and his breath is not foul-smelling
  • My pet’s gums are glistening and pink
  • When I run my hands over my pet’s entire body, there are no lumps or bumps

While the answers to the above might not all be yes, especially in an elderly pet, or one with pre-existing conditions, if there’s a change from your pet’s norm then this is potential cause for concern. So, again, knowing what’s normal is key!   

Normal vital signs for cats & dogs:

  • Dogs and cats have a higher temperature than we do — normal is 99.5-102.5 F.  Because of this, they will usually feel “warm” to us, but this does not necessarily mean that they have a fever.   
  • The normal resting respiratory rate of a dog and cat should be less than 35.  Again, it is helpful to know what is normal for your pet, especially if they have underlying cardiac disease
  • The normal resting heart rate is a bit more difficult to assess and can be quite variable among cats and dogs.  
    • Large-breed dog (>50#) – 60-100 beats per minute (bmp)
    • Medium-breed dog (25-50#) – 80-120 bpm
    • Small-breed dog (<25#) – 80-140 bpm
    • Cat – 120-160bpm

In two weeks we’ll discuss what may constitute a pet emergency, and some key tips to keep in mind in those cases.

In the meantime, here are a few great online resources:

Please check out Clarendon Animal Care’s Calendar of Upcoming Events, including a Yappy Hour to benefit our local shelter, the AWLA Walk for the Animals, and Taste of Arlington!

Recent Stories

Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published 5 articles that were read a total of 14658 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today…

After a slight weather delay, the second leaf collection pass will start tomorrow (Tuesday). Arlington County initially posted the second vacuuming could start on Saturday, Dec. 3. Despite the delay,…

Enjoy the two day curated Local Holiday Bazaar to shop local and have gifts professionally wrapped December 17-18.

A 39-year-old man is in jail after police say he broke into a woman’s home and sexually assaulted her. The alleged incident happened Friday around 7 a.m. on the 400…

Hello Everyone — You are invited to the final meeting of NAACP Arlington Branch NAACP for 2022
When: Dec 12, 2022, 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: 2022 General Membership Meeting — NAACP Arlington Branch
Register in advance for this webinar

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

7:00 pm Meeting Opens.
7:30 pm Installation
8:00 pm Presentation/Q&A; by Dave Schutz on Ranked Choice Voting
8:30 pm Final Remarks and Comments by Newly Elected Members
9:00 pm Meeting Adjourns

Installation Official Robert N. Barnette, Jr. President, Virginia State Conference NAACP The President of the Virginia State Conference NAACP will serve as the Installation Official and provide remarks for our newly elected officers at the general membership.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Join us December 10 & 11 for our Annual Handmade Holiday Workshop Series. We have a myriad of fun and festive programs from linoleum block wrapping paper printing and buttonhole book making workshops led by Eliza Clifford to a meditative grid workshop and Calligraphy Card Making with Anjelika Deogirikar. Join these wonderful artists and get creative this holiday season!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Light Up Arlington – Clarendon Menorah Lighting

Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!

Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration

Experience the festival of lights!!

*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah

Read More

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist


Subscribe to our mailing list