Ella with flower

With each purchase of Dr. Bill's Dog First Aid Kit $2 will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society.

Assess Capillary Refill Time

  • Checking the capillary refill is a quick and effective means to assess the pet’s circulation which can provide an overview of how efficiently blood is being circulated. This can be valuable in terms of assessing possible dehydration or shock. To perform the capillary refill just lift the pet’s upper lip to expose gum tissue that is not pigmented.
  • How to assess capillary refill time
  • At this point notice the color of the gum tissue. Normally it should be pink. If it is not pink make note of the color, for example it may be, pale to white, blue colored or bright red. Next press your finger against the gum and quickly remove it. The area under your finger will immediately blanch or turn white as the blood is squeezed out. Make note of how long it takes for the blanched area to turn back pink again (as the blood is refilling the capillaries). This will provide a measurement of capillary refill. The normal capillary refill time should be 1 to 2 seconds. If it takes longer, e.g. 2 to 4 seconds, then there might be beginning stages of shock or dehydration. At this point it would be best to seek veterinary medical attention.