Category Archives: Cats

Weight Management In Cats

Did you know that obesity is the most common nutritional disorder seen in domestic cats? Many of us don’t even realise that our pet has become overweight as it often takes place gradually over time, yet we know that in some countries up to 40% of all adult cats are obese.

As much as we love to spoil our cats with a few extra biscuits in the morning or it can be tempting to give into their hungry yowls in the afternoon, the excess weight can have serious and detrimental effects on the health. Obese cats have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, arthritis and degeneration of joints, urinary problems and stones to name a few.

Not only does carrying excess weight have a negative impact on your cats general health, happiness and overall quality of life, it can also significantly shorten their life expectancy compared to a healthy-weight cat.

WHAT CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN?

Weight gain is the result of an increase in body fat. This is usually caused by an imbalance between the energy your cat is consuming and the energy your cat is using. Overfeeding, a decrease in exercise, high calorie foods and frequent treats or extras are often contributing factors. Other factors can include age, desexing status and medical conditions.

SO WHAT CAN I DO?

Accepting that there is a problem and committing to getting your pet back to a healthy weight is step one. To understand your pets current condition, their goal weight and how to get there, we recommend booking an appointment with your vet. Weight loss should be gradual and steady in order to be safe. Once you know your pet’s goal weight, there are a number of methods you can implement to help them get there.

  • DIET – Proper nutrition plays a very important role in treating an overweight cat. There are scientifically formulated diets to help with healthy and safe weight reduction in cats such as Hills Metabolic and Royal Canin Satiety, you can speak to your vet about the best weight management diet for your pet. Use the correct feeding guide and measure out your pets daily meals with scales or a measuring cup. Make sure to account for any treats, dental chews etc. in their total daily feed.
  • EXERCISE & ACTIVITIES – Promoting regular exercise will not only assist you in decreasing your pets weight, it will also increase their overall happiness and quality of life. Promoting regular exercise for cats means providing ample opportunity for them to climb and play. Utilising cat trees and scratching posts can help to get them climbing and toys like laser pointers and teasers can encourage the use of their natural hunting instincts.
  • WEIGH INS – Regular weight checks will let you know whether you’re on the right path, allow you to adjust feeding amounts and also help to keep you motivated by showing you how far you and your pet have come. Give us a call to find a time to come and use our cat scales.
  • TIPS AND TRICKS – Move your pets food bowls further away from where they tend to spend their time to encourage them to get moving when they want to go to eat/drink. Rather than letting your cat inhale their biscuits straight from a bowl, disperse their food over a large area or use a treat ball to make them work for it! Swap your cats regular treats for weight loss friendly treats like Hills Feline Metabolic Treats and don’t feed more than the recommended daily limit.

If you’re unsure if you pet is a healthy weight or you’d like more information on weight management, please give u a call on (02) 6230 2223.

Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

Unfortunately, most veterinarians will tell you that Christmas is typically a very busy time of year at any emergency veterinary hospital. So with Christmas upon us again, here are some tips for keeping your pets safe (and out of your local emergency waiting room) as they join in the festivities.


Here are a few of the common Christmas hazards, posing a threat to your pets health:

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are dangerous to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and cooked bones.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.


Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is no safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. If you suspect your pet has ingested any alcohol please contact your vet. Symptoms can range from vomiting, depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and can even progress to coma and death in some extreme cases.

Overindulgence and Pancreatitis
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! Although it’s nice to give your pet a special treat occasionally, we must remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something outside of their normal diet, especially if high in fat, is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis (which often requires days of treatment in hospital, and can be fatal). It’s best to avoid the risk at all by asking all guests not to share human food with your pets, despite their best puppy dog eyes.

Don’t underestimate your clever scavenger pup, barbecues should not be left unattended and leftovers/scraps should be removed from the table as soon as the meal is finished.

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety. Nobody knows your pet better than you do, always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action. Pet’s who suffer from noise or storm anxiety will often become destructive and dig under or jump over fences in order to escape the perceived threat. Not only can this result in your dog becoming lost, they could also sustain injuries whilst escaping, or worse, be hit by a car.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from medication to help them cope through this period, more details here -> https://www.hallvet.com.au/2020/11/storm-phobia/


The Christmas Tree
Though seemingly harmless, the Christmas tree is the cause for a few common Christmas Emergency Vet visits, including:
• Tummy upsets after chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
• Obstruction or injury to the bowel after tinsel, baubles, ornaments, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.
• Electrocution is a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call either:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services in Gungahlin on: 6225 7257 or,
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra in Fyshwick on: 62806344.

We wish you and your furry family a safe and happy holidays!

August Pet Dental Health Month

Pet Dental Health Month is here!

Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 suffer from some form of dental disease?

Dental disease that is left untreated is not only painful for your pet, but can also lead to other serious health problems including infections in the kidneys, liver and heart.

At Hall Vet Surgery we are passionate about your pets dental health so for the month of August we are offering:
🦷 15% off all dental home care products
🦷 Free dental check-ups for new and existing clients
🦷 Free dental home care starter packs for dental procedure patients

Providing your pet with good oral care is essential for them to enjoy a happy, healthy and pain-free life.

Call us on 6230 2223 for more information.

Preventing Heatstroke this Summer

Just like us, our pets can suffer from heatstroke.
The difference? Our pets are not able to sweat, are covered in fur and rarely sit in an air conditioned office during the day.
This means that our pets can’t cool themselves like we can and makes them very susceptible to heatstroke.

Heatstroke is extremely dangerous, causing irreversible damage to your pet’s internal organs including their liver, kidneys, brain and heart.
Heatstroke can be fatal if not recognized and treated quickly.

Watch this video for the symptoms, prevention measures and treatment methods that we think all pet owners should know!

Patient Spotlight – Crookshanks the Cat

Warning: this blog post contains graphic surgical images 

Crookshanks is a lovely cat that came in to see us as she had been losing weight and her owners had noticed blood in her urine.  After running blood and urine tests we then performed an abdominal ultrasound. 

The ultrasound highlighted that Crookshanks had a stone in her ureter – the ureter is the tube through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder.  The diagram below shows the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

diagram source: Merck Vet Manual

When the ureter becomes blocked the kidney fills with urine and cannot empty.  This was also the cause of the blood Crookshanks’ owner noticed in her urine. 

On ultrasound a normal kidney is bean shaped, it has a light grey outer shell, and a darker middle area.  In the images below the kidney outline is circled in red. 

Here is an example of a normal ultrasound, the kidney is circled in red. Source: JSFM ultrasound of the feline kidney .

Below are ultrasound images of Crookshanks’ kidney.  Again, the outline of the kidney is highlighted in red.  The centre of the kidney is black, this is the urine that is building up because her ureter is blocked.  Her ureter is widened and full of urine.  The ureter is outlined in blue in this image.

Ultrasound image of Crookshanks’ Kidney and Ureter. Kidney is outlined in red and full of urine, the ureter is outlined in blue and is dilated, indicating blockage of flow through to the bladder.
The same image without outlines.

We followed the widened ureter down towards the bladder wih the ultrasound probe.  This is when we found the stones that were causing the blockage.  The ureter is outlined in blue, and there is a green arrow pointing towards the stones.

Crookshanks’ ureter is outlined in blue, the green arrow is pointing to the stone that was causing the blockage.

Crookshanks’ went into surgery with Dr Vickie Saye to have the stone removed.  The ureter is very tiny, only a few millimeters thick, so it was a very intricate and delicate surgery.  You can see in the photo below, the ureter is so small that you can only fit a very fine piece of suture material through it.  The photo was taken during Crookshanks’ surgery and the suture material was passed through the ureter to ensure that all stones had been removed and the ureter was blockage free.

The fine blue string like material is the suture material used to pass through the ureter and ensure there were no more stones blocking urine from travelling through to the bladder.

Two stones were removed from Crookshanks’ ureters.  They were very small only 1-2mm in size, amazing that something so small can cause such big problems.


Here are the two stones surgically removed from Crookshanks’ ureter. There were TINY, about 1mm in size.

Crookshanks required intensive care and monitoring after her surgery.  She was in hospital for several days. 

Crookshanks resting in hospital on intravenous fluids and pain relief in a nice cozy bed.

She is now much brighter and happier than she was before the surgery, as she is not in pain anymore.  She is even starting to put on weight.  She enjoys being able to join her sister McGonagall for walks on lead around the suburb. She will be on a special prescription diet for the rest of her life to help prevent the stones from reoccurring. 

Exercising the body and the brain, Crookshanks loves being well enough to join her sister for walks!

Casper, the kitty who didn’t learn his lesson..

Casper the confident kitty

Casper is a sweet, outgoing and confident 9 month old cat who loves to explore and play. Ever since he was a tiny kitten his family always thought he was more like a dog then a cat, his human brother and sister have even taught him to sit and wait for his meals just like a dog. Casper’s family live on a farm and he loves exploring through the paddocks.

Casper’s first non-routine visit with us was in November of 2018, after he refused to eat both breakfast and dinner (which was unusual for typically ravenous Casper) and then vomited too. On physical examination Dr Lesa found that he was painful when she palpated his abdomen, which hinted at the possibility of a foreign object in his tummy.

Casper was admitted to hospital to have an x-ray of his abdomen for further investigation.

Circled in red is a plug shaped radio-opaque foreign body

Another view of the plug shaped foreign body

As you can see above, Capser’s x-rays revealed a plug shaped foreign body in his abdomen. The safest thing to do for Casper was to perform an urgent exploratory laparotomy (ex-lap) to remove the foreign body. Dr Jenny performed his surgery the same day and removed a small green rubber plug-like object. Casper recovered well and returned home to his family the following day. The only mystery remaining, what on earth was the plug-like object that Capser ingested and where did he find it? His family searched and searched but couldn’t figure out where the object came from, they disposed of the object and life returned to normal.

Fast forward 2 months to the 30th of January. Casper began showing the same symptoms at home as he did back in November, vomiting and some loss of appetite. His owners, who are now well versed in the possible causes of vomiting and armed with the knowledge that he is known to eat things he shouldn’t, brought Casper back in for another check up.

Due to his history, Dr Gillian recommended that we repeat his abdominal x-rays.

Casper’s second lot of x-rays were almost an exact replica of his first, showing another plug-shaped object in his abdomen

You wouldn’t believe it but Casper’s new x-ray was almost an exact replica of the x-rays taken back in November.
Here are the two images side by side:

The whole Hall Vet Surgery team was shocked to see that it seemed that Casper had ingested something of the exact same shape, size and material as the first time.

Casper then underwent his second urgent surgery to remove a foreign body from his abdomen. Another successful surgery later and his owners were on a mission to find out where the mysterious objects were coming from.

Caspers whole family were out scouring the paddock from top to bottom to find any trace of the rubber plugs when they came across these..

They were toy bullets from Capser’s human brother’s Nerf Gun. It seems that Casper had been finding the bullets, chewing on the styrofoam section and accidentally ingesting the rubber plug from the end of the bullets.

We are thankful that Casper’s family has found the source of the foreign bodies and we now urge anyone with children and pets to be cautious of Nerf Bullets and the risks they pose to your animals if ingested. It is safe to say that Nerf Guns have been banned in Casper’s household!

Casper is back to his normal happy self thanks to his quick acting owners

If your pet loses their appetite, vomits or becomes lethargic it is always worth coming in for a check up. Casper’s quick acting owners may have just saved his life, twice!

Tips to keep dogs safe at Christmas

Safety tips for Christmas time!

As we head into the festive season and look forward to relaxing with family and friends, it’s a good time to give some thought to keeping our pets safe as they join us in the fun festivities!

 

Here are some potential dangers to watch out for:

 

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.

 

Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is NO safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. Effects will range from depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and even possibly loss of life.

 

Overindulgence
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! We love to treat our pets but we need to remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something different or high in fat is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can trigger stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and even pancreatitis (which can be fatal). Feeding cooked bones should always be avoided as these can cause bowel obstructions and constipation requiring intervention.

Don’t risk your dog getting treats from the BBQ or scavenging from finished plates. If you can’t ensure your guests will resist your dog’s pleading eyes, then you are better off to have your dog safely out of their way!

You need to take control here on behalf of your pooch, because they are not going say no!

 

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety.
Nobody knows your pet better than you do. Always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from judicious medication to get through this time unscathed. Please call us if you would like to discuss.

The Christmas Tree!
Now, we’re not saying don’t have one! We like the festive fun as much as anyone, but here are a few things to consider if you do.

  • Tummy upsets after chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
  • Electrocution is a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.
  • Obstruction or injury to the bowel can occur if tinsel, other decorations, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.

So to make things easy, here’s a checklist on how to make your Christmas tree dog-friendly this year.

  1. Cover or box around the tree stand.
  2. Plastic cover the electric cord for the lights.
  3. Plastic or non-breakable decorations (no glass)
  4. Decorations secured in place.
  5. Tinsel up high out of reach (or none at all)
  6. Secure the tree so that it can’t easily fall.

 

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

 

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services on: 62257257
Or
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra on: 62806344

We wish you and your furry family happy and safe holidays!

 

Reference to an article by Dr Claire Jenkins  Co-founder of Vetchat.

From Tabby to Tiger – the Wild Side of our Domestic Cats

Taking a look at the wild side of your kitty cat

That relaxed moggy purring on our lap is closer to its wild ancestors than you might think. Pet cats may be domestic animals, but they are much less domesticated than our pet dogs.  The following evolutionary quirks show that there is much in common between our domestic cats and their wild cousins.

Cats need to eat meat. All felids from tabby to tiger require high levels of animal protein in their diet. This provides certain amino acids like taurine that other mammals (including ourselves) do not need in their diet. Essential hormones for breeding and vitamins like thiamine are more easily extracted from meat than plants.

Cats have lost their ability to taste sugars as they don’t need to detect ripening fruit, however their taste buds are much more discerning when it comes to distinguishing different flavours of meat, making some family felines frustratingly fussy at times.

Genetically, domestic cats are very similar to wildcats. They only emerged as a separate subspecies around 10,000 years ago. Studies are underway to pinpoint the differences in DNA sequencing that makes it possible for domestic cats to socialise with us, something that wildcats are unable to do.

Most wild cats lead solitary lives in order to effectively hunt small prey. The main exception being lions who live together in prides and hunt prey large enough to feed many members of their social group.

Whilst male domestic cats living in the wild are solitary, related females will often live in social groups when food is abundant and share the raising of their kittens. Pet cats show affection for us in the same way that related cats show social behaviour to each other, raising their tails upright and attempting to groom us. It is less common for unrelated pet cats that have not grown up together to develop these strong social bonds. They are more likely to live their separate lives within the home and require separate access to key resources like food, water, litter, scratching poles and resting places to fulfil their needs.

Most smaller felids, including domestic cats are nocturnal in the wild. Those beautiful big eyes allow them to gather enough light to see at night. A domestic cat’s eyes are almost as big as ours. Their retina is about six times more sensitive than ours and their brain is wired to pick up small movements. All felids have a reflective layer behind their retina to increase night vision. This produces their distinctive green reflection in a torch beam at night.

For cats, play is hunting behaviour. Whether they are pouncing and grasping small toys in the teeth, or holding a larger toy with all four sets of claws, this resembles the way they catch a meal in the wild. Domestic cats were originally kept to control pests like rats and mice. Inside their heads they are still hunters and will rip up small toys more intensely on an empty stomach in pursuit of a meal.

As stalking hunters, cats are designed to lay motionless in wait for prey and then leap into action at the crucial moment. This ‘kindle’ reflex can be seen in pet cats, when, in what seems like a nanosecond they can be triggered into an aroused state which can take many hours to abate.

As solitary hunters, domestic cats tend to hunt in separate territories and rarely see or hear each other. To avoid confrontation that could cause life threatening wounds, they communicate by smell. Just like lions and tigers, domestic felids deposit urine around their territories and rub their cheeks on prominent landmarks to leave a scent from skin glands. All cats possess a second ‘nose’, the vomeronasal organ, situated between the palate and nose for processing the messages left by other cats.  Lions and tigers curl their top lip in a ‘Flehmen’ response when using this sense. Domestic cats will seem to go into a brief trance as they use subtle muscles around this organ to draw the chemical message or pheromone into the gland and gain information about the identity of its owner.

Our feline friends bring so much joy into our lives. It is helpful to have some understanding of their close ties to ancestral behaviours and how that affects the way they see the world. This reminds us to keep them away from native wildlife, helps us to accommodate their needs in a domestic household and to interact with them in a way that builds a mutual bond.

Reference: John Bradshaw, BBC Science Focus online magazine 18 Jan 2018

Cuddling Kitty – On Their Terms

Have you ever been grabbed for a well meant cuddle when you just weren’t in the mood? Imagine how your cat feels.

 

Being picked up and hugged can be a stressful for cats. Cats are skilled predators, but they’re also prey animals and being restrained can feel threatening. Next time you’re hankering to cuddle your cat, think about how they might feel about it. Cats are naturally cautious, and they like to keep all four paws on a solid surface, in case they need to leap away.

Understanding this is key to living happily with a cat. In fact, the more you let your cat decide when, where, and how affection will happen, the more they’ll trust you and enjoy the interaction. Cats are more likely to approach us for affection, and to hang around longer, when we let them make the first move.

“Ask” First

Like us, cats prefer that we ask if it’s okay before we touch. Felines who are friends greet each other by touching noses. A human head is too big and potentially intimidating to offer. Try gently offering a fingertip at their nose level, a few inches away, as a way to ask politely, “May I pet you?”

Some cats will say no by walking away. Some may approach but then sit down with a bit of space between you. This is their way of saying, “I’m fine over here, but no touching yet.” No matter how adorable the cat, we need to respect those limits. Many cats will walk up and sniff your finger, and may even rub into it. That’s the invitation for petting.

Watch And Learn

Where you pet a cat matters a great deal to them. If you were visiting a country with a totally unfamiliar culture, you’d watch where and how the people touch each other to figure out what is and is not considered polite. When watching a friendly feline greeting, we find that they lick and touch each other around the cheeks, forehead, back of the neck, and shoulders. They always follow the grain of the fur in friendly interactions. There’s no rubbing the fur up the wrong way.

A couple of studies have found that cats showed more positive responses to their humans,  such as purring, blinking, and kneading their paws, when they were petted on the forehead area and the cheeks. Respect and follow this feline etiquette.

What about that spot at the base of the tail, the one that causes some cats to lift their butt in the air? The petting studies suggest that’s actually not a favourite spot for many cats. Cats who do like it show you very clearly by lifting their behind. If your cat is not raising his butt for more, he’s one of the many who don’t care for that sort of thing.

Even when a cat says okay to touch, we’ve all had that experience where we’re petting a cat and it’s bliss, bliss, bliss—and then suddenly swat! It seems like it all changed in a nanosecond. Cats do have issues when it comes to being touched, and they get overloaded pretty quickly. But not as quickly as we might think. That swat is usually preceded by more subtle signals that we have missed.

How a cat communicates that they have had enough varies for each individual. Signs of over stimulation include the following:

  • Skin over the shoulders stiffens or ripples
  • Whiskers come forward
  • Ears flick back, sideways, or flat
  • Tail flicks or lashes
  • Skin twitches
  • Pupils dilate
  • Claws come out
  • A paw is raised
  • Vocalization (other than purring)

If you see any one of those signs, stop petting. If your cat chooses to remain beside you (because you have been so polite), wait a few minutes before you start petting again or better still, just keep your hands to yourself until they seek affection in their own time.

Of course, every cat is an individual with his own preferences. The best way to pet your cat is just the way they like it. Pay close attention to your cat’s body language, observe the feline rules of politeness, and you’ll both be enjoying more cuddle time.

How to check your pet’s Resting Respiratory Rate (RRR)

Measuring a resting respiratory rate, or sleeping breathing rate, is an important way that you can help monitor your pet at home.  It is an invaluable way that you can help us care for your pet.

What is a resting respiratory rate?

A resting respiratory rate is a count of the number of breaths taken per minute.  In dogs and cats with heart disease, it can be one of the first signs that heart failure is starting to develop.  Early detection of this change can help prevent severe breathing problems.

When do I need to take one?

For dogs and cats with heart disease, we will often ask you to measure the resting respiratory rate a few times over 2-3 days and record each score. Your vet may be interested in an average of the scores, or the lowest score you found so please keep a record each time.
After this, we will recommend monitoring this rate 2-3 times a week ongoing.

What is normal?

Normal dogs and cats will have a breathing rate in the high teens to early twenties.  We become concerned when we are getting resting respiratory rates that are over 30.  If you notice this it is important to contact us immediately so that we can help.

How do I count my pet’s resting respiratory rate?

It is important to take this measurement when you pet is sound asleep and not dreaming.  When you are watching your pet you will notice that the chest rises and falls as they take a breath.  This is what we need to count.  As the chest moves out and then in, this is counted as one breath.

Use your phone or a kitchen timer and count the number of breaths in 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4 to get the final reading.
Alternatively, you can count the total number of breaths in 60 seconds.  It helps to keep a diary/record of your pet’s resting respiratory rate so that you can see any changes over time.   You can even download some apps to input your readings into.

Have a go at counting a resting respiratory rate – the video below goes for 15 seconds.  Notice how the dog is sound asleep.  Count the number of breaths in that time, and then multiply it by 4.  Did you get 40?