dog parts

Nose to Tail Evaluation

You might have noticed when you take your pet to the vet what seems to be the vet petting and loving on your pet. What they are doing is a nose to tail evaluation. Knowing how to do a quick health evaluation of your pet can help to save their lives. It’s as simple as running your hands over your pet and only takes a couple of minutes.


Start at the nose and feel. You want to make sure it’s wet but not dripping wet. You also want to make sure it’s not dry and cracking.


Look into your pet’s eyes. No, you’re not gazing lovingly into their eyes. You are looking to see if there isn’t any discharge. Having discharge can be a sign of a scratch or infection. Look to see if your pet’s eyes are bright and not foggy. Foggy eyes can be a sign of cataracts or vision loss.


Look at your pet’s teeth. You want to make sure there is no heavy tarter. Tarter can get into your pet’s bloodstream causing them to become very ill. (look up causes of tarter)Next might be not pleasant but smell your pet’s breath. No pets breath is going to smell like roses but, if it’s worse than usual or about knocks you off your feet. It can be a sign there is a more significant problem and should be taken to your vet. Last lift up your pet’s lips and look at their gums. They should be pink. Push down on their gums and release. They should turn white for a couple of seconds then turn back pink. The gums going back to pink is called capillary refill. If your pets’ gums are white get them to a vet immediately.


You can easily find your pets pulse in the femoral artery. Put your hand on the inside of your pets thigh of one of the back legs. Count for six seconds and add a zero. Most adult dogs pulse rate should be between 70-160 beats per minute.  Small breed dogs tend to have a higher rate of 180-220 beats per minute. Cats pulse rate can be anywhere from 110-240 beats per minute. It’s best to take your pet’s pulse a few different times so you can get an average. That way if your pets pulse rate is higher or lower than average you can take them to the vet.


Here comes the fun part, you most likely have seen your vet take your pet’s temperature. Then you can guess where this is going. The most accurate way to take to your pets temp is from the rectum. Put a small amount of lubricant on the thermometer and insert it into the rectum. Be careful not to stick it in too far. It should be just past the tip. Temps can fluctuate between different breeds of cats and dogs. A typical range is between 100.4-102.5 Fahrenheit.  Just like with pulse rate you will want to take your pets temp a few different times to get a base reading.


Feel along your pets’ body for any abnormal bumps or lumps. If you find anything that wasn’t there before bring it up to your vet. Keep an eye on them to make sure there is no change.

Pet tech app you can enter all your pets info into the pet tech app, to help you to note any changes.