How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Fever: A Quick Guide
If you’re a dog owner, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of a fever in your furry friend. Just like humans, dogs can develop fevers as a result of an infection, illness, or other underlying health issue. But how do you know if your dog has a fever?
The most accurate way to determine if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature with a digital thermometer. A dog’s normal body temperature is typically between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and a temperature of 103 degrees or higher is considered a fever. However, there are other signs and symptoms that can indicate a fever in dogs, such as lethargy, decreased appetite, shivering, and a warm or dry nose.
In this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of fever in dogs, as well as how to take your dog’s temperature and what to do if you suspect your dog has a fever. By learning how to recognize the signs of a fever in your dog, you can help ensure that they receive prompt and appropriate veterinary care when needed.
Normal Temperature Range for Dogs
Knowing the normal temperature range for dogs is essential in determining if your dog has a fever. The average body temperature for dogs is around 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). However, this can vary depending on the breed, age, and size of your dog. Puppies, for example, tend to have a higher body temperature than adult dogs.
It’s important to note that a dog’s temperature can also fluctuate throughout the day. It may be slightly higher in the morning and lower in the evening. Additionally, factors such as exercise, stress, and excitement can also affect a dog’s body temperature.
One way to determine your dog’s normal body temperature is to take their temperature when they are relaxed and at rest. This can be done using a rectal thermometer specifically designed for dogs. Make sure to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant before inserting it into your dog’s rectum. The thermometer should be inserted about an inch to an inch and a half into the rectum and held in place for about a minute.
It’s important to note that taking your dog’s temperature can be uncomfortable for your pet, so it’s best to have a second person hold your dog still while you take their temperature. Additionally, if you are unsure about how to take your dog’s temperature or are uncomfortable doing so, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.
Signs and Symptoms of Fever in Dogs
As a dog owner, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of fever in your furry friend. Here are some of the most common signs that your dog may have a fever:
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Shivering or shaking
- Coughing or sneezing
- Runny nose or eyes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Red or glassy-looking eyes
- Warm ears and/or nose
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to take their temperature to determine if they have a fever.
The normal body temperature for dogs is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. If your dog’s temperature is above 102.5°F, they may have a fever. However, it’s important to note that some dogs may have a higher or lower normal body temperature, so it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine what is normal for your specific dog.
If your dog has a fever, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can determine the underlying cause of the fever and provide appropriate treatment to help your dog feel better.
How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature
If you suspect that your dog has a fever, the best way to confirm it is by taking their temperature. Here are the steps to take your dog’s temperature:
- Step 1: Get a digital thermometer made for rectal use.
- Step 2: Lubricate the end of the thermometer with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant.
- Step 3: Have someone hold your dog still or secure them in a comfortable position.
- Step 4: Lift your dog’s tail and gently insert the thermometer about one inch into the rectum.
- Step 5: Hold the thermometer in place until it beeps or for about one minute.
- Step 6: Remove the thermometer and read the temperature.
Normal temperature for dogs is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. If your dog’s temperature is above 103°F, they have a fever and you should contact your veterinarian.
It’s important to handle your dog gently during the process to avoid injuring them. If your dog is uncomfortable or resists, stop and try again later or seek help from your veterinarian.
What to Do If Your Dog Has a Fever
If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it’s important to take action. Here are some steps you can take:
- Take your dog’s temperature: The most accurate way to determine if your dog has a fever is to take their rectal temperature with a digital thermometer. The normal temperature for a dog is between 100.5°F and 102.5°F. If your dog’s temperature is above 103°F, they have a fever.
- Consult your veterinarian: If your dog has a fever, it’s important to consult your veterinarian. They can help you determine the underlying cause of the fever and recommend appropriate treatment.
- Provide supportive care: While you wait for your appointment with the vet, you can provide supportive care to your dog. Keep them hydrated by providing plenty of water and offer them a bland diet. You can also use a cool, damp cloth to help bring down their temperature.
- Follow your vet’s instructions: Your vet may recommend medication or other treatments to help bring down your dog’s fever. It’s important to follow their instructions carefully and monitor your dog’s temperature closely.
If your dog’s fever is caused by an underlying condition, such as an infection, your vet may recommend additional treatment. With prompt and appropriate care, most dogs recover from fevers without any long-term effects.
When to Call the Vet
If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it’s important to monitor their symptoms closely. In some cases, a fever may be a sign of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate medical attention. Here are some signs that you should call your vet:
- If your dog’s temperature is over 103°F
- If your dog is lethargic and not eating or drinking
- If your dog has difficulty breathing or is coughing
- If your dog has a seizure or loses consciousness
- If your dog has a rash or skin irritation
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. Your vet can perform a physical exam, run diagnostic tests, and provide treatment to help your dog recover.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friend’s health. By staying vigilant and seeking prompt veterinary care, you can help ensure that your dog stays happy and healthy for years to come.