Is your dog sick and feeling warmer than usual? Our vets in Babcock Ranch vets share some of the symptoms of fever in dogs, what the common causes are, and how to help your dog feel better.
What temperature indicates a fever in dogs?
When your dog is healthy, their normal body temperature is around 101° to 102.5° Fahrenheit, which is significantly higher than humans, whose body temperature ranges from 97.6° to 99.6° F.
A temperature of more than 103° F is considered a dog fever. A high fever in dogs is a temperature of 106° F or higher, which could result in serious and fatal complications.
How do I take my dog's temperature?
Determining if your dog has a fever can be a bit tricky. Their body temperature can fluctuate depending on their level of excitement and activity. Did you know that their internal temperature also changes depending on the time of day? Therefore, it is important to understand your dog's healthy temperature. You can determine this by noting your dog's temperature at various times of the day for several days.
Some people think a dog's nose can tell if they have a fever, but that's not accurate. While many people are under the understanding that a dog's nose is key to determining whether or not your dog has a fever, this is not an accurate indicator that your dog has a fever.
A rectal thermometer is the only surefire way to tell if your dog is warmer than they should be. Some pet stores carry thermometers made just for pets. 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. Lift your dog's tail up and to the side, then gently insert the thermother about an inch into their rectum. If possible, have a second person assist you by holding under the dog's hind legs to prevent your dog from sitting. Once the thermometer temperature has registered, you can carefully remove the thermometer.
What are some of the reasons behind fevers in dogs?
There is an exhaustive list of reasons why a dog may develop a fever, but some of the most common reasons 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 substances
Sometimes, you will just not be able to determine the cause of the fever. 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 the symptoms of a fever in dogs?
Chances are that you will notice unusual behavior before you notice a change in your dog's temperature. You should keep a careful eye on your dog and take note of your dog's symptoms. Any combination of the following symptoms is a good indication that you should check your dog's temperature.
The typical symptoms of fever in dogs include:
- Red or glassy-looking eyes
- Warm ears and/or nose
- Runny nose
- Decreased energy
- Loss of appetite
How To Reduce a Fever in Dogs
If your dog's fever is 106° F or higher, immediately take your dog to a local veterinary emergency clinic.
If your dog has temperature is 103°F or higher, you can help lower it by gently applying a cool, damp cloth to their ear and paws. Also, use a fan nearby. Stop applying the water when your dog's temperature drops below 103° F. Continue to 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 medication like 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 veterinarian for urgent care.
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 doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.
Have you noticed that your dog is showing signs of a fever? Contact our Animal Hospital at Babcock vets for urgent veterinary care.