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Does Your Dog Have a Fever?

3 minutes
Fever affects all of us and unfortunately our animals, as well. 
Does Your Dog Have a Fever?
Last update: 08 March, 2018

Because they can’t talk to tell us if they feel well or not, it’s necessary to pay attention to their behavior. It’s good to have some guidelines to be able to identify if there is a problem which must be remedied.

Normally a dog’s resting temperature should fluctuate between 38 and 38.8 degrees Celsius. When it spikes higher than this, it may be the result of infection or illness that we must treat with urgency.

This is why it’s very important to know our dog’s temperature at all times, so that you can act quickly. That said, how can we do this?

Know the signs of a dog’s fever

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One of the best ways to know if our dog has a fever or not is observing his behavior. It’s necessary to pick up any change that may be happening in his or her body. The most common signs are:

  • Hot and dry nose
  • Nervous and apathetic mood
  • Watery eyes
  • Shaking with high temperatures

If your dog has one or several of these signs, the best thing to do is use a rectal thermometer. This will not be pleasant for the dog, but it’s a way of knowing your animal’s body temperature without error.

Coat the tip of the thermometer with vaseline and have someone else hold the dog firmly. Remember that the most logical thing will be for the animal to move when it feels the pressure in the rectum.

Another very efficient thermometer is an ear thermometer.

What to do if my dog has a fever

Although the strongest recommendation is to turn to your veterinarian to determine the causes and treatment for your pet, there are things that you can do at home in the meantime.

We do want to stress, however, that if after two days, in spite of having used one or more of these remedies, your dog still has a fever, you should definitely take him to the vet.

These are some of the things that you can do at home:

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Author: Christine and David Schmitt
  • Cool down his legs and ears. Wet these regions of the body and put him in front of a fan so that he cools down. Continue taking his temperature consistently, because when it reaches 39 degrees you will have to remove the fan in order to avoid cold and flu, as well as temperature shock.
  • Keep him hydrated. Giving him a lot of water to drink is essential for the fever to go down. Nevertheless, be careful and don’t give him too much at a time, but rather little by little, as too much at once could be harmful.
  • Get a cold compress and put it on his belly. He may be reluctant to have it, but as soon as he sees the quick effects, he’ll leave it alone.
  • Don’t bathe him in cold water, because that could bring about a body temperature shock which would harm your animal instead of helping it.
  • Don’t give him human medications, nor animal medications if they haven’t been prescribed by the vet.
  • Never use ice, especially if you believe that the animal could be suffering from heat stroke rather than fever. Cold water is sufficient.

Seeking professional help

As we said at the beginning, our dog can’t tell us if he feels bad and it’s not realistic to follow him around with a thermometer all day to see if he has a fever. That’s why it’s necessary to pay attention to changes in his way of eating, walking, looking and behaving.

These changes can tell you if there is any anomaly, fever in this case, that you must treat as soon as possible.

Remember that home remedies are only to be used to gain some time, but the vet is the one who can truly tackle the problem.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.