In the study of blood pressure measurements in greyhounds, while their blood pressure did not decrease with repeated hospital visits, their heart rates did. It’s an important point. Many people assume that a decreased heart rate automatically goes hand in hand with a decrease in blood pressure and vice versa. But just because the heart rate slows once the feeling of stress dissipates doesn’t mean the blood vessel walls respond with the same alacrity. Blood pressure can still be readjusting even if the person — or dog — already feels much calmer.
“It can be very hard to assess how nervous a dog feels in the hospital,” says Tufts veterinarian Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM. “Some dogs appear outwardly unfazed — for example, they have normal heart rates — but are uncomfortable nonetheless and could be experiencing a blood pressure spike.”