How To Use A Thermometer With Your Dog

How To Use A Thermometer With Your Dog

Last update: 04 May, 2018

If you suspect that your dog may have a fever, the only reliable way to make sure is by taking its temperature rectally. And while this is far from a comfortable situation, for the dog as well as for the owner, it’s likely you’ll have to do this at least once during your time as a dog owner. That’s why, here, we lay out the steps you should take to take your dog’s temperature using a thermometer in the least traumatic way possible.

Things to keep in mind when you suspect your dog has a fever

In order to be able to take the dog’s body temperature, you will need a quick-reading thermometer made of unbreakable material. Make sure you always have one of these on hand.

Since it’s likely your furry friend will not collaborate to make the process simple, it may be necessary to ask for someone else’s help, who will be able to distract or pamper the dog, or just give him or her some moral support.

So be patient, and remember that as long as you have good intentions, everything will work out in the end.

Most importantly, remember to disinfect the thermometer before inserting it into your pet’s anus.

Using a thermometer to check your dog’s temperature is a task that’s not easy, and even less fun. Here, we’ll teach you some easy steps to do it successfully and without too much hassle.

Steps to follow to use a thermometer on your dog

Follow these tips in order to take your pet’s temperature:

  • Before starting the process, get your dog to stay still. This way you will avoid injuring it.
  • Lift the dog’s tail and slowly and gently insert the tip of the thermometer into the anus – then hold it there for about 30 seconds.
  • To make the process smoother, you can use a little Vaseline or some other lubricant designed specifically for dogs. Consult the veterinarian about possible options.
  • Once the process is finished, remember to reward your pet with a treat or some of its favorite food, in order to create positive associations with the experience.

Some facts about fever in dogs

Keep in mind, too, the following information relating to dogs and fever:

  • An adult dog in good health who is well-fed has an average temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. In puppies, this can reach 39.
  • The dog’s temperature may vary throughout the day. It is always better to try and find out if your dog has a fever before it eats or exercises, to avoid masking the results.
  • After taking your furry friend’s temperature, be sure to disinfect the thermometer with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol and put it back in your medicine cabinet. Afterwards, remember to use that thermometer only on your dog.

Signs that your dog has a fever

Bear in mind that a fever is like a defense mechanism that the body uses to defend itself from “attacks” by foreign agents that, in general, are infectious.

The increase in body temperature that is one of the central symptoms of fever is one of the ways that the immune system reacts to the infection.

But apart from the incontrovertible proof provided by the thermometer, there are a number of other signs that your dog may be suffering from a fever. Pay attention if the animal is presenting, among other things:

  • Dry and / or hot nose.
  • Runny nose.
  • Apathy.
  • Low mood.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting

What’s more, a pet with a fever is very likely to sleep for much longer than usual.

What to do if your dog has a fever

If you are sure that your dog has a fever, it’s time to consult the vet, who will be able to diagnose exactly what’s up with your furry friend. They’ll also show you the best course of treatment to follow to sort out the problem as soon as possible.

Under no circumstances should you give your four-legged friend medication that is meant for humans in an attempt to lower its fever. In fact, don’t give the dog anything without first consulting a qualified vet – doing so could risk bringing about serious health problems in your pet. 

Make sure that you take good care of your pet so that, if he or she has a fever and has to go through the ordeal of a temperature check, you at least know how to handle the thermometer skillfully.

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