When your dog is sick, it is important to know if he has a fever because it can help you determine if he needs immediate veterinary care. Although you’ve heard that feeling your dog’s nose or ears is a good way to find out if he has a fever, it’s not perfect at all. You need to get his internal temperature, and the most reliable way to do this is with a stool thermometer.
What is a dog’s normal body temperature?
The body temperature of a dog is significantly higher than that of a human. The dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 99 degrees to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperatures higher or lower than this normal range — known as hyperthermia or hypothermia, respectively — can cause anxiety. Knowing how to assess your dog’s temperature can help you determine if there is a problem that requires veterinary attention.
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The normal body temperature of dog is
- 101.0 to 102.5 F (farenheit)
- 38.3 to 39.2 C (celcius)
Some people and some pets maintain a baseline temperature slightly above or below average, but if your pet’s temperature rises above 104 ° F (40.0 ° C) or below 99 ° F (37.2 C), consult your veterinarian.
How to take the temperature of dogs
The most accurate way to take a dog’s temperature is by gently inserting a thermometer into the dog’s rectum. Make sure you only do this with a thermometer that has never been used in a human patient! Pet-specific oral, ear and skin thermometers are also available, but these may be inaccurate.
If your dog’s temperature is not within the range of 99–102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consult your veterinarian for further advice. If the temperature change is significant your veterinarian may recommend bringing your dog for testing.
How to use a stool thermometer
Taking your dog’s temperature upright is not difficult, but it is something two people can do. Someone still hold the dog, someone who knows and loves the dog.
If help is not available, lay your dog down next to him and hold him as best you can while talking comfortably with him.
After shaking the thermometer and lubricating it well with petroleum jelly, lift his tail and gently push the thermometer with a twisting motion.
Insert a thermometer one to three inches depending on the size of your dog and keep it for at least two minutes.
After you remove the thermometer, wipe it clean and read the temperature by the silver column height of mercury on the thermometer scale. Temperatures of 100.5 to 102 F are normal.
Taking your dog’s temperature by ear
When used properly, ear thermometers are a reliable and less aggressive way to take your dog’s temperature. An ear thermometer works by measuring the infrared heat waves emitted from a dog’s ear area.
Be sure to place the thermometer deep in the horizontal ear canal to get an accurate reading.
The dog’s normal ear temperature is between 100 and 103 F. Note that ear thermometers are usually more expensive than stool thermometers and less accurate if not used properly.
What causes fever in dogs?
There are many causes of fever in dogs. The dog will have a mild elevation in body temperature if excited or exercised. This is most common in brachycephalic or short-nosed breeds such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs, as these breeds do not cool themselves like other dogs.
Dogs, like humans, get fever if they are sick. Fever is a non-specific symptom, meaning, it can occur as a result of a variety of illnesses.
Infections have the potential to cause fever.
Like humans, dogs with a fever are often lethargic and tremble, and lose appetite.
In hot weather, even a dog experiencing a heat stroke will have a rise in body temperature. This is an emergency because heatstroke develops rapidly and can lead to organ damage or death if left untreated.
What causes hypothermia in dogs?
Hypothermia is uncommon in healthy dogs under normal conditions. Dogs are less likely to be exposed to cold weather for long periods of time, especially in wet weather.
Young puppies and older dogs are more susceptible to cold temperatures than healthy adults, so special care should be taken with these individuals during the winter.
Hypothermia can also occur in patients undergoing anesthesia and surgery or in those exposed to certain infections or toxins.
What to do if your dog’s temperature is abnormal
Dogs are subject to fluctuations throughout the day depending on the level of activity and ambient temperature, but any variations outside the normal range should be assessed by your veterinarian. Your vet will do a full physical exam and may recommend additional tests to determine the root cause of your dog’s change in body temperature, thereby prescribing appropriate treatment.
In cases of heat stroke, studies have shown better results when refrigeration is started immediately before transporting the pet to a veterinary clinic.
Dipping your dog in cold water from a hose and placing him on a cooling bed while in the car will lower his temperature more quickly.
However, do not delay; If refrigeration options are not immediately available, focus on taking your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic as soon as possible.