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Fever in Dogs

Fever in Dogs

Detecting a fever in dogs can be difficult. Let us explain how to detect a fever in dogs, the causes, symptoms, and what you need to know to care for your pet.

What is a Normal Temperature for a Dog? 

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101° to 102.5° Fahrenheit.

A temperature of more than 103° F is considered a dog fever.

When temperatures reach 106° F, serious and fatal complications can occur. 

How Can I Diagnose a Fever in My Dog? 

A dog’s temperature can vary throughout the day and sometimes at night.  Therefore, you should try noting your dog's temperature at various times of the day, for several days.

Some people believe that if you feel your dog’s nose and if it’s wet and cold your dog’s temperature is fine, and if it is hot and dry it means a fever.  This is not an accurate indicator that your dog has a fever.  

The best way to check your dog’s temperature is to use a digital thermometer for rectal use.  It is recommended that you keep a separate thermometer just for your dog and store it where you keep your dog’s supplies. 

Start by lubricating the tip of the thermometer with petroleum or water-soluble lubricant. Then lift your dog’s tail up and to the side and carefully insert the thermometer about 1 inch into your dog’s rectum.  Once the thermometer temperature has registered you can carefully remove the thermometer.  

What Causes a Dog to Have a Fever?  

A variety of illnesses and conditions may cause a fever in your dog. These include:

  • 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 for dogs

In some cases, a dog’s fever cannot be readily determined, this is often referred to as a fever of unknown origin, or FUO. In these cases a fever could be caused by underlying disorders of the immune system, bone marrow problems, or cancer.

What are Symptoms of a Fever?  

If you notice a significant change in your dog’s behavior this will be your first sign that your dog is not well. Any combination of the following symptoms is a good indication that you should check your dog’s temperature.  

The most common symptoms of a fever in dogs are: 

  • Coughing 
  • Red or glassy-looking eyes
  • Warm ears and/or nose 
  • Shivering
  • Panting 
  • Runny nose 
  • Decreased energy 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

How to Care for a Dog with a Fever? 

If your dog’s fever is 106° F or higher take your dog to a local veterinary emergency clinic immediately

If your dog has a fever of 103° F or more, you can help to cool your dog’s body temperature by applying a cool wet cloth to your dogs ears and paws, and run a fan near your dog.  Stop using the cool wet cloth when your dog’s temperature drops below 103° F. Monitor your dog closely to ensure that the fever doesn’t return.  

Try to coax your dog to drink small amounts of water to stay hydrated, but don’t force your dog to drink. 

Never give your dog human medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  These medications can be poisonous to your dog and cause serious injury or death. 

If your dog exhibits any other symptoms, such as shivering, panting and vomiting you should consider taking your dog to the vet.  

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctors advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

If your dog requires urgent veterinary care, contact our emergency vets in Englewood immediately.

New Patients Welcome

VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Englewood is always accepting new patients! Our board-certified specialists and emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to Denver Metro area pets.

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