How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever: A Pet Owner’s Guide

As a responsible pet owner, it is important to know how to identify if your dog has a fever. Dogs can experience fever due to various reasons, such as infections, illnesses or allergies. A fever is the body’s natural response to fight off any foreign body or the immune system’s way of producing more white blood cells to fight off diseases. In this article, we will discuss how to identify if your dog has a fever and what to do to help your pet feel better.

What is a Dog’s Normal Temperature?

The normal body temperature of dogs is around 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can vary slightly amongst different breeds and can also fluctuate throughout the day. It is essential to understand this baseline temperature so that you can easily identify when your dog is experiencing a fever.

How to Check for a Fever in Dogs?

There are several different ways to check your dog’s body temperature. Here are a few methods:

Using a Digital Thermometer:

The easiest and most accurate way to check your dog’s temperature is by using a digital thermometer. Here is how you can do it:

  • Apply a lubricant such as petroleum jelly on the thermometer.
  • Lift your dog’s tail, and gently insert the thermometer into the anus up to an inch deep.
  • Hold the thermometer in place for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the thermometer and check the temperature reading.

The normal body temperature of dogs ranges from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature is above 103 degrees or below 100 degrees, it is a sign of fever.

Checking Ear Temperature:

You can also use an ear thermometer to check your dog’s temperature. Follow these steps to take your dog’s temperature with an ear thermometer:

  • Insert the thermometer probe in your dog’s ear canal.
  • Hold the thermometer in place for a few seconds.
  • Remove the thermometer and check the temperature reading.

Measuring your dog’s ear temperature can be less accurate, and the thermometer needs to be positioned in the correct position to get an accurate reading.

What are the Signs of Fever in Dogs?

If you have doubts about your dog’s fever, here are some common signs of fever in dogs:

  • Lethargy and lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite and thirst
  • Dry nose and eyes
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Hot ears, feet or body

Not all dogs show all these signs, so it’s best to check your dog’s temperature to confirm whether it’s running a fever or not.

What to Do if Your Dog Has a Fever?

Take these steps if you suspect that your dog has a fever:

Consult with Your Vet:

If you have confirmed that your dog has a fever, the first step is to contact your vet. Your vet may recommend checking your dog’s temperature regularly and monitoring its behavior. They may also recommend different treatment options based on the underlying causes of fever.

Provide Plenty of Water:

Make sure that your dog is drinking enough water to prevent dehydration. If your dog is avoiding water, try offering lukewarm broth, or adding ice cubes to its water. You can also try feeding your dog wet food to increase its fluid intake.

Provide Comfort and Rest:

Make sure that your dog is resting and provide a comfortable environment. Keep your dog in a cool and quiet area, and make sure that your dog is not exposed to extreme temperatures such as cold or heat.

Administer Medications:

Your vet may recommend administering medications such as antibiotics, pain relievers, or other medicines to treat the underlying cause of fever. However, never give any medication without consulting with your vet, as some medications can be toxic to dogs and cause dangerous side effects.

Conclusion

Fever in dogs is a common occurrence, and as a pet owner, you need to know how to identify the signs and symptoms of fever. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can check your dog’s temperature and take the necessary steps to help it feel better. Always consult with your vet for the best course of action, and monitor your dog’s behavior to ensure that it is recovering successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What causes fever in dogs?
  • A: Fever in dogs can be caused by several reasons such as infections, diseases, or allergies.
  • Q: What is the typical body temperature for dogs?
  • A: The normal body temperature for dogs is around 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Q: How to check if my dog has a fever?
  • A: You can check your dog’s body temperature by using a thermometer, checking its ears or looking for signs of fever.
  • Q: Can a dog’s fever be dangerous?
  • A: Yes, a fever can be dangerous, and it is essential to consult with your vet as soon as possible to treat the underlying cause of fever.
  • Q: What should I do if my dog has a fever?
  • A: You should consult with your vet, make sure your dog is drinking enough water, resting comfortably, and administer medications as recommended by your vet.

References:

  • Bendixen, L., & Lundgren, K. (2021). The Basics of Canine Fever in Dogs. Veterinary Hub.
  • Murray, S. M., & Pattersen-Kane, E. (2018). Canine Fever. Veterinary Partner.

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