How to Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever?

Dog has fever

We all know how painful it when we got a fever. The health of your dog is something you may everyday worry about. Seeing your dog sick or knowing that your dog has a fever must be no less than a nightmare. Today I thought to come up with some information regarding how to tell if your dog has a fever.

How many times have you been told that the wet nose of your dog indicates healthy and a dry, warm nose is an indication that it has a fever?

How about if I tell you that it is just a myth. Yep using dog’s nose appearance to identify whether he has a fever or not is the stupidest thing that you can try in case identify a fever is not that easy.

A dog fever often goes unnoticed because of certain factors, and to be more precise about if a dog has a fever or not, we need to study dog fever in detail.

Fever in Dogs

Having a body temperature higher than usual is commonly referred to as having a fever in humans. The same applies to dogs. However, it is important to know the average body temperature of your dog as it will help you to know if your dog has a fever or not.

The reason why dog fever goes unrecognized most of the time is that dogs have a normal body temperature higher than humans. It is their normal body temperature. So your little friend might fool you with its higher body temperature. Thus, it is essential to know what temperature range your pet should be in to stay fever-free.

What Is The Normal Body Temperature Of A Dog?

Now the question arises, what is the normal body temperature for a dog?

We have a healthy body temperature range of 97.6 – 99.6 F. Dogs have a higher body temperature range of 101 – 102.5 F. So if your dog has a temperature higher than or equal to 103F, it is more likely that your dog has a fever.

However, emotions like excitement and stress can also increase the body temperature of your dog up to 103F instantly. If it is the case, you do not need to worry too much because it will be temporary.

Heatstroke in Dogs

When a dog is exposed to a high temperature or an imprudent and immoderate physical activity or exercise, it can result in heatstroke.

If the temperature exceeds or reaches 106 F, also known as hyperthermia, it is very concerning as such a high temperature can be fatal for your dog. A temperature this high can easily damage the internal organs of your pet, even resulting in death.

What Are the Signs of Fever in Dogs?

Dog has fever and cold
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Another reason for the neglected or unnoticed dog fever is that not many specific signs and symptoms exist to identify if your ​dog has a fever ​or not accurately.

However, some basic symptoms are.

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Runny, warm nose
  • Shivering
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Red eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Warm ears

But like I said earlier, none of these symptoms may exactly indicate a fever in your dog. But at least you can have a clue than nothing. Knowing the exact body temperature of your dog is very important to know how healthy he is, and a thermometer can help you with that. I prefer a digital thermometer as it is quicker and more accurately show the temperature.

How Do You Take A Dog’s Temperature With A Thermometer?

The only technique that exists so far to take the temperature of your pet’s body precisely is, using a specialized thermometer.

Two basic types of thermometers are available in the market to check the temperature of your pet.
If you think your dog has a fever, you need to get your hands on one of these thermometers.

Rectal Thermometer :

Rectal thermometer
Photo by Dony Wardhana on Unsplash

The idea of using a rectal thermometer is to take your pet’s body temperature through the anus. This idea might not be so flattering but can help you to take the exact measurements of your pet’s body temperature and is reliable.

Cover the rectal thermometer with a small amount of gell or oil to lubricate it and pass it about an inch into your pet’s anus. This method will give you the required readings of your pet’s internal temperature in just 60 seconds.

Ear Thermometer :

Dog ear thermometer
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This is also known as the auricular thermometer and is more reliable, comfortable for your pet, and a less meddling thermometer. It is a bit expensive, but your little friend will be much grateful to you for spending some extra dimes on his health.

This thermometer works by measuring the intensity of infrared emission from the eardrum area of your pet’s ear. You need to place the thermometer deep into the ear canal of your pet to get the perfect reading.What Causes A Dog To Have A Fever?

What Causes A Dog To Have A Fever?

Now we know the symptoms of a dog fever. Now we must understand what causes it too. Several factors contribute to making your dog sick and causing illness. Observing all of them closely will help you keep your dog safe and healthy. A few of these are as follows.

Infections :

Infections of all types, namely fungal, bacterial, or viral, can cause fever in your dog. These infections may cause inflammation in the targeted area.

Some common infections are,

Above are some commonly known infections that are the causes of fever in both humans and dogs. The severity of the illness may highly depend on the target area of the infections.

Vaccination :

Dog vaccination
Photo by Pranidchakan Boonrom from Pexels

It is not very uncommon for people as well as the pet’s to suffer a mild fever after vaccination. If your little friend catches a slight fever after a vaccination, do not panic. Because that can be a possible reaction between the treatment and the immune system of your pet.

Toxins :

If your pet accidentally ate poisonous food or any toxic substance, it will also cause fever in his body.

Not only that even human medication such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and certain antidepressants can be harmful to them too.
So you have to pay close attention to your pup about what he puts in its mouth as it can be one of the reasons why your dog has a fever in the first place.

An insect bite, an untreated scratch, can also result in fever.

Fever of Unknown Origin in Dogs (FUO)

When your dog suffers a fever, and the cause remains unknown, such an illness is called FUO or fever of unknown origin.

Such a fever can be even more concerning as it may be an indicator of bigger health issues such as a bone marrow problem, cancer, an untreated infection, or even some disease of the immune system. So, it is essential to carefully observe the symptoms your pet shows and even more important to know the exact cause behind these symptoms.

When to Bring Your Dog to the Vet?

You can visit a veterinarian whenever you feel that’s something is not right. However, going for regular checkups to a veterinarian is much preferred over visiting a vet only when some symptom or disease appears.

It is essential to take out time no matter how hectic your routine gets and to make regular visits to a vet a part of your busy schedule. When you visit your vet, you should carry all the vaccine records, medical records of your pet with you. If you have a pet first aid kit, you can take it with you. If you don’t have one, I wrote an article regarding How to Make a Pet First Aid Kit? You should read it too.

Not only will this help you to keep a check on the health of your pet, but it will also nourish and boost your affection, love, and bond for your lovely partner. Moreover, for a little sacrifice from your end can save your little buddy from any painful situations. It is worth it.

Precautionary Measures And Home Care For Dog

Providing care and affection to your dog at home will help monitor the basic temperature changes in their body thus will help you to take emergency precautions just at the right time.

Again I am saying that any temperature above 103F is an alarm for you to visit your vet. And if the temperature rises to or above 106F, its a critical situation.

You can lower your dog’s temperature at home by applying cold water to its fur and especially the feet and ear area. You can use a fan to cool the damp fur further. You have to pay your attention to the rectal or auricular temperature as well.

Moreover, provide your dog with the right amount of water to ensure that his body remains hydrated and cool as it will help to lower the fever. Another important thing to remember is that you and your dog are different creations. So food or a drug that seems effective and right for you may have a horrible reaction on your pet. So if you don’t know something for sure don’t do such experiments. Because if something goes wrong, it can be very hazardous to your pet’s health.


Knowing this information is useful and can help you take care of your beloved dog in a much better way, but that still doesn’t mean to start considering your self as a veterinarian. It has been said that a half doctor is a danger to life. The importance of professionals can never be challenged. So, keep a close check on your dog’s lifestyle but do visit a vet because they know better.

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One Comment on “How to Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever?”

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