Can Pets Have Blood Pressure Problems?

Humans aren’t the only creatures that can be plagued by high or low blood pressure. Dogs and cats, along with pretty much all other pets, can also be affected when their blood pressure deviates too far from the normal range. In this post, we’ll talk about what blood pressure is, why it is important, and how to spot blood pressure problems in your pets.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is simply a measure of the force required to circulate blood around the body, regardless of whether it’s a human body, dog body, cat body, or other body. Blood pressure is expressed with two numbers – the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure – and is written with the units mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Without getting too technical, just know that both of these numbers describe how well the heart is pumping blood around.

All living creatures with blood have a blood pressure range that is normal for their species. For dogs, normal blood pressure ranges from 110/60 to 160/90 mmHg. For cats, only systolic pressure is considered and should be between 120-130 mmHg.

Why is Blood Pressure Important?

We all know that our blood must circulate around our entire bodies for us to remain alive and healthy, but do you know why? Blood delivers vital nutrients taken into the body via breathing, drinking, and eating to the cells all over the body to help in the repair of damaged tissues and cell turnover. Blood also takes waste out of the cells and delivers it to the kidneys and liver for disposal by the body. Blood is a critical component in anybody, including pets.

The blood pressure shows how well the heart is pumping blood around the body. If the blood is pumping too slowly, cells will not receive the nutrients they need or be able to excrete waste fast enough, and health will decline. If the heart is pumping blood too fast, the blood vessels will swell, leak, and in severe cases, even burst, causing a true medical emergency. Maintaining safe and stable blood pressure is essential to life.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Unfortunately, animals are wired to conceal illness and disease (this is especially true of cats). It’s not that they’re trying to be difficult…it’s a survival trait that they’ve acquired via millennia of evolution. Injured or sick animals in the wild usually end up as prey, so it makes sense that animals aren’t so willing to show up when they’re not feeling well. For this reason, you may not notice anything going on with your pet until the condition is severe. 

However, these are the typical signs and symptoms to look for in dogs and cats with high blood pressure:


  • Excessive urination
  • Unusual swelling
  • Vision impairment
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Tilting the head
  • Turning in circles
  • Nosebleeds
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing (due to fluid buildup in lungs in severe cases)


Since cats are so good at hiding their illness, owners often do not notice any symptoms until the condition is far progressed. Symptoms are often first noticed in the eyes, including:

  • Vision impairment
  • Blood in the eye
  • Disorientation
  • Pupil changes
  • Pupil fixation

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Just like high blood pressure, low blood pressure can be very dangerous. If blood pressure falls low enough, blood will stop circulating around the body and life will simply stop. Look out for these symptoms of low blood pressure in your dogs and cats:

Dogs & Cats

  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Pale gums
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Excessive urination
  • Collapse

Blood Pressure Care in Tampa Bay

If you’re worried that your pet has high or low blood pressure and is showing any of the symptoms above, do not delay care. On evenings and weekends, trust the team at Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel to get your dog or cat back to normal. We offer urgent and emergent services at convenient hours, so you’re not left waiting until Monday morning for help. Contact us at (813) 279-6500 or stop by 27027 SR 56, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 to get care for your pet today.