How to Check Your Dog's Temperature

It can be difficult to know when your dog has a fever. There are many different symptoms. But aside from using a thermometer, there are other ways to find out if your pet is sick.
How to Check Your Dog's Temperature

Last update: 28 September, 2018

it’s sometimes difficult to detect the symptoms of a sick dog. One of the most common symptoms is a fever. But how do you check a dog’s temperature? If you don’t know, then this article will reveal a few tricks to make this all easier, both for you and your dog.

Can You Check Your Dog’s Temperature Without a Thermometer?

Yes, you can! However, you first need to remember that your dog’s body temperature will vary between 38 and 38.8°C. If you don’t have a thermometer at home, you can check your dog’s temperature manually by doing the following:

  • Checking their ears and legs. You can tell if your dog has a high temperature by touching either of these body parts. If both of them are hot, then your dog probably has a fever. To make sure, use your cheeks or another sensitive area of your skin to check if it’s not as warm than your dog’s ears or legs.
  • Their nose. A dog’s nose can also be used to detect a fever. To check your dog’s temperature by using his nose, simply put your hand over it. It should be warm and it will normally have a yellowish or greenish secretion. However, a dry nose is not normally a sign of a high temperature.
  • Groin and axillaeThese are very sensitive areas which are generally cool. If they’re hot, your dog probably has a fever.
  • The mouth. Just like humans, a dog will also have a dry mouth when having a fever. This could cause their gums to appear dry, dull, and pale.
Checking a dog's mouth for a fever

However, if you have a thermometer, then use it instead. The question is, how?

Checking Your Dog’s Temperature by Using a Thermometer

You can be quite sure that your dog won’t like you using a thermometer. So, in order to use it correctly, you need to bear a few things in mind.

Hide the Thermometer

Without a doubt, when you try to use a thermometer with your dog they will try to resist, and even if you manage to insert the thermometer inside a dog, he’ll probably manage to get rid of it. Even if you try to keep him calm, it will still be very difficult. How can you get around this obstacle?

The best thing to do is to use a quick-read thermometer made from a strong material. This way it’ll be easier to check your dog’s temperature because you won’t need to insert the thermometer inside him for too long.

Choose the Right Posture

The best posture for checking your dog’s temperature is to have your dog standing up on all fours because the most reliable temperature reading is through the rectum. Obviously, to do this, you need to insert the thermometer into their rectum. You’ll probably need help to keep your dog in this position. Likewise, don’t forget to disinfect it once you’ve taken your dog’s temperature.

Sick-looking dog with vet

Be Aware of Your Dog’s Health When Taking His Temperature

There are times when your dog’s body temperature will rise and it will have nothing to do with any fever or disease. For example, if there is a female dog in heat nearby, if you’ve just moved to a new place, if your dog has been traveling, or just done some exercise, any of these situations can cause a rise in your dog’s body temperature.

If you notice that your dog looks tired in one of these situations, don’t assume that they have a fever. Let them rest and keep a close eye on them to check that they return to normal. If so, you can relax.

Now you can see that with these practical tips, checking your dog’s temperature doesn’t need to be so difficult. It can be done a lot easier than you think.


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