It can be difficult to know for sure if your dog has a fever. Today, our Perry vets explain how to detect a fever in dogs, as well as symptoms of fever in dogs, causes, and what you should do if your dog has a fever.
What is a normal body temperature for dogs?
The normal body temperature of a dog is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much higher than a human's (The average human body temperature ranges from 97.6 to 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Your dog has a fever if his or her temperature rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog's temperature rises above 106 degrees Fahrenheit, he or she has a severe fever and is at risk of serious, potentially fatal complications.
How can I take my dog's temperature?
Fever detection in dogs can be hard because their body temperatures can rise when they are overly excited or stressed. A dog's temperature can also fluctuate throughout the day and sometimes at night. As a result, it is critical to understand your dog's healthy temperature. You can find out by taking your dog's temperature at different times of the day for several days.
Many people believe that if you feel your dog's nose and it's wet and cold, it means the dog's temperature is normal, and if it's hot and dry, it means the dog has a fever. This, however, is not a reliable indicator that your dog has a fever.
A digital thermometer for rectal use is the most accurate way to check your dog's temperature. Some pet stores sell thermometers designed specifically for pets. We recommend you keep a separate thermometer for your dog and keep it in the same location where you keep your dog's supplies.
Begin by lubricating the thermometer's tip with petroleum or a water-soluble lubricant. Then, carefully lift your dog's tail and insert the thermometer about 1 inch into your dog's rectum. Allow a second person to assist you by holding under the dog's hind legs to prevent your dog from sitting. After the thermometer has registered the temperature, carefully remove it.
What are the most common causes of fever in dogs?
Numerous conditions could cause your dog to develop a fever. Some of the most common are:
- A bacterial, fungal, or viral infection
- An ear infection
- An infected bite, scratch, or cut
- Tooth infection or abscess
- Urinary tract infection
- Ingestion of poisonous materials, such as toxic plants, human medications, or human foods that are toxic to dogs
In some cases, the cause of a dog's fever cannot be determined. This is known as a fever of unknown origin (FUO). A fever in these cases could be caused by underlying immune system disorders, bone marrow problems, or cancer.
What are the signs that my dog may have a fever?
If you notice a significant change in your dog's behavior, this is your first indication that he or she is ill. You should keep a close eye on your dog and record any symptoms. Any of the following symptoms should alert you to check your dog's temperature:
- Red or glassy-looking eyes
- Warm ears and/or nose
- Runny nose
- Decreased energy
- Loss of appetite
How can I help to reduce fever in my dog?
If your dog has a fever of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, they should see a veterinarian right away.
If your dog has a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you can help to cool his body by applying cool water with a soaked towel or cloth to his ears and paws and running a fan near him. When your dog's temperature falls below 103 degrees Fahrenheit, stop using the water. Continue to keep a close eye on your dog to ensure that the fever does not return.
Try to persuade your dog to drink small amounts of water to keep them hydrated, but don't force it.
Human medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, should never be given to your dog. These medications are toxic to dogs and can result in serious injury or death.
If your dog exhibits any other symptoms, such as shivering, panting, or vomiting, you should take him to the veterinarian.