How to Tell if a Dog has Fever: Tried and Tested Approach

We always say that we know our dog pretty well, but let’s face the facts, that’s not the case all the time. Fever is something that can be quite tricky to guess, especially if you’re a new dog parent. But don’t worry, we have compiled a list of pointers for you to keep in mind to know when your dog has started to come down with a fever. It very important you take care of your dogs over health.

Busting the Myth

A lot of us usually assume that dogs are immune to fever. Other infections, yes, but maybe not fever. But that statement is completely and utterly untrue. Dogs are just as susceptible to fever, like any human. As humans, for dogs too, rising the temperature of the body is their way of fighting some unknown infection in the body.

Some people believe that your dog’s nose is the best way to tell, it reveals whether it has a fever or not. Cold and wet means that all is good, but hot and dry means he needs special care and attention. That is not entirely true. Although checking the nose might give you a hint, however, it could also be a false alarm, and hence one must keep an eye out for some other symptoms as well.

What’s a dog’s Normal temperature?

Just like humans, dogs also have a normal body temperature. But the normal body temperature is different for different dogs as compared to humans. The normal body temperature for dogs varies from 100.4 to 102.5. One way of knowing what is normal for your dog could be noting down the temperature when your dog is not sick either yourself or by the trips to the vet.

Usually, body temperature for them tends to rise during a particular time of the day. For some dogs, it rises during the evening, but you would need to understand and note what is that time of the day it occurs before you worry yourself when something like this happens.

Temperature Check

Checking the temperature of the dog just by touch can be a little complicated as the fur often tends to misguide the “parents” about the actual temperature of the dog. The only full-proof way of checking the temperature is by a rectal thermometer. It might sound painful, but it is not. If you are careful, gentle, and apply some lubricant (like petroleum jelly or some other water-soluble lubricant) to ease the thermometer in, the dog will actually be quite co-operative with you in checking the temperature.

Once you have lubricated the tip of the thermometer, then gently lift the tail of your dog so that he doesn’t sit and slowly and gently insert the thermometer about ½ an inch to 1 inch into the rectum. The beeping of the thermometer should tell you that the temperature has been registered in it.

Picking up the Symptoms

As much as we would like it, the dogs cannot physically come and tell you that they aren’t feeling very well; therefore, it becomes your duty to understand your dog’s symptoms. Lethargy is one such symptom, but that could also be because your dog is sad.

Some of the common symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, shivering, coughing, nasal discharge, etc. While this list might give you an idea about what to look for, however, this is not an exhaustive list. We can only stress enough that check the temperature of your dog as soon as you start to notice the symptoms. Catching the symptoms sometimes is the only thing between the fever turning fatal for your dog.

Taking a trip to the Vet

Let us assume the worst has actually come true, and your dog has come down with fever. Now you would want to rush to the vet and give your dog the best care that he deserves. But just like you, going to the doctor can be scary and unnerving for them as well. And while it is important and intelligent to let the vet know about the condition of the dog or maybe even have a consultation over the video call, it is advisable that you take care of the dog at home first.

If the temperature has not risen beyond, let’s say, 103 degrees, then maybe a good idea would be to treat the dog with some medications at home. If the temperature is persistent and there is no change in his condition for more than 24 hours, or the temperature has risen to 106 or beyond, then the better thing to do would be to take your dog to the vet immediately. Such a high temperature can lead to multiple organ failure and hence prove to be fatal.

Taking care 

To start with, you can offer small amounts of water to your dog and consult your vet about your next steps when taking care of your dog. Some medications, like aspirin, can also help treat the fever while reducing the need to give any extra medications to the dog and putting him through any more pain than he’s already in.

For high temperatures that require you to take your doctor to the vet, the vet might give your dog some anti-inflammatory medications or some IV fluids. They may also draw some blood for some tests to determine the exact cause of the fever. Since there are numerous reasons causing discomfort and fever to your dog, it is almost impossible to zero it down to a single one. 

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge on how to go about if such a situation arises, we hope you are better prepared to handle your dog. Give all the love and attention that you can to your furry friend because they deserve that from their human. But more importantly, don’t stress your heart out too much without knowing the root cause. 

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