How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever

Can dogs get fevers? Yes, they can. Whether you notice your dog is a little under the weather or acting unusual, you may be wondering if your dog is sick. Dogs can get fevers for a number of reasons. Usually they are fighting off an infection of some sort or they are having a bad reaction to something they ingested or came into contact with. Knowing the signs and symptoms as well as how to check your dog’s temperature are essential to ensure something very serious isn’t going on. Your dog can’t talk to let you know he’s sick but he can definitely show you. Whether you suspect your dog has a fever or you know something isn’t quite right, quick diagnosis and a call to your vet is important for a healthy recovery.

Dog Fever Symptoms

If you notice unusual behaviors in your dog that show he isn’t feeling well, then he may have a fever. There are a few signs that can alert you that your dog may have a fever. These symptoms may appear suddenly or over time.

  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Warm, dry nose or warm ears
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Shivering or panting
  • A decrease in or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these dog fever symptoms, you’ll want to check his temperature and give your vet a call.

How to Check Your Dog’s Temperature

A normal temperature for a dog is considered under 103 degrees. If your dog has a temperature of 103 degrees or higher, your poor pup has a fever. If his temperature is 106 degrees or higher, it’s important you get your dog to the vet or an animal emergency clinic as soon as possible as temps this high can be fatal. Quick diagnosis of your dog’s temperature and illness is essential to get him treated quickly and before any dangerous high temperatures.

To check your dog’s temperature you can use a digital thermometer specifically made for pets. There are rectal and ear thermometers available. While the rectal thermometers are the most accurate, they aren’t the most comfortable, so it is okay to use a quality digital ear thermometer specifically made for pets. You should keep one of these with your pet’s first aid kit, but if you don’t have one, you can check with nearby pet stores or grocery stores to see if they have any in stock. If you are unable to get a pet thermometer or are worried about any of your dog’s symptoms, give your vet a call or bring them into the clinic.

What to Do if Your Dog Has a Fever

If you know that your dog has a fever or you suspect that he might, the first thing you should do is quickly see if you can identify the source of the fever. If it’s related to something he ate that was poisonous or a reaction to a bite or infections, then quick diagnosis and treatment are essential. Fevers in dogs can be caused by the following:

  • A bite or cut that is infected
  • An infected tooth
  • Kidney or lung infections
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • A bacterial or viral disease
  • Ingestion of poisonous materials, including: toxic plants, antifreeze, human medications or food

Again, a quick diagnosis of what caused the fever can help your dog get the quick and right treatment he needs to recover. If you are unsure what caused the fever, your vet will run some tests to diagnose your dog’s symptoms. It’s important to note that if your dog has recently received a vaccination it is normal for him to experience a low fever.

Dog Fever Treatment

If you know that your dog has a fever and it’s between 103 and 106 degrees, then there are a few things you can do to try to lower his fever at home. To help reduce his fever, you can try wrapping wet towels around his paws and ears. It’s also important that he stays hydrated, so try to get him to take a few drinks of water if you can. Be sure to monitor him closely and If his temperature continues to rise or doesn’t lower, he’ll need to be brought in to be checked out. DO NOT give your dog any type of human medication as human medications can be harmful.

While you can try to lower your dog’s temperature at home, it’s still a good idea to give your vet a call to let them know of his symptoms to ensure he doesn’t need to be brought in. Be prepared to answer some questions about his current symptoms and an account of the last day to identify any potential causes for his fever.

At the Vet on Fourth we believe pet education is essential for every pet owner. Quick diagnosis and treatments can help your furry friends to recover more quickly and prevent them from getting more sick. Whether you have a question about your pet or are worried about his health, give us a call and we’ll help you decide what to do next.

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