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How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever

Do you think your dog might have a fever?

Dogs get fevers because, like us, their body can use temperature fluctuations to fight bacteria and viruses that make them sick.

Sometimes, though, a fever can go on for too long, or it can be too high, which can lead to organ damage.

When your dog is sick, taking their temperature is the best way to find out if they have a fever, and if so, whether or not they might need immediate medical attention.

When Your Dog Might Have A Fever
You should take your dog’s temperature any time they seem unwell. Symptoms like lethargy, anorexia (not eating), vomiting, and diarrhea may accompany a fever. A fever may be a symptom of an infection, poisoning, or a vaccine reaction.

How To Take Your Dog’s Temperature With A Thermometer
In a pinch, you can use just about any “human” thermometer to take your dog’s temperature. However, to get an accurate reading, you will need to insert it rectally.

To take your dog’s temperature with a glass or digital “human” thermometer, cover it with a disposable probe shield or wipe the end with rubbing alcohol. Then, coat with a lubricant such as baby oil or petroleum jelly.

Your dog can stand or lie on their side while you take their temperature. Insert the tip of the thermometer about an inch or so into your dog’s rectum, depending on the size of the dog. A glass thermometer may take up to 3 minutes to show a reading, while a digital thermometer takes 30-60 seconds and will usually beep once the reading is complete.

It’s best to purchase a pet ear thermometer to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet before you need it. Naturally, it’ll be easier to take your dog’s temperature via their ear canal, and you won’t have to worry about cross contamination.

What Temperature Is Normal For Dogs?
A healthy dog’s body temperature will be between 101 and 102.5 degrees F. It’s a good idea to take your dog’s temperature while they’re healthy so you know exactly what is normal for them.

If your dog’s temperature is 103 or higher, they have a fever. Call your veterinarian, and they will let you know if your dog needs to go to the clinic.

If your dog’s temperature reaches 106 degrees, they’re at risk for organ damage, and their condition may even be life-threatening. Seek emergency veterinary care.