How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever: Common Symptoms
Most pet owners know that a dog’s fever is a common sign of illness. However, identifying a fever in a dog can be tricky because the signs and symptoms of a fever in dogs are similar to those of other conditions. With a few observations and tests, pet owners can determine if their dog has a fever so they can take the necessary steps for treatment. In this guide, we’ll discuss common signs and symptoms of fever in dogs and share tips for monitoring your pet’s temperature.
How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever: Common Symptoms
- Rising Temperature: One of the most common symptoms of dog fever is an elevated body temperature reading. Typically, the normal body temperature of most dogs is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature reads above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, then your pup likely has a fever.
- Loss of Appetite: A dog fever can cause your pup to become uninterested in eating their meals. If they usually eat their food voraciously, then a decline in their appetite might be a sign that they are feeling under the weather.
- Lethargy and Weakness: A dog fever can cause them to become more lethargic than usual and their energy to drop significantly. If your pup is typically an active and energetic dog but they are now languid and not quite themselves, then they may be running a fever.
- Runny Nose and Watery Eyes: An upper respiratory infection is one of the most common underlying causes of fever in cats and dogs. As such, common symptoms of dog fever can also include runny noses and watery eyes.
- Shivering and Trembling: If your pup is feeling too hot from their fever, then they may start shivering and trembling as a means of trying to cool themselves down.
What Is a Dog Fever?
Dog fever is a high body temperature that occurs when a dog’s body is unable to naturally regulate its temperature. It is usually caused by infection or illness. If your dog has a fever, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Symptoms of fever in dogs include lethargy, panting, tremors, vomiting, loss of appetite, and inactivity.
What Causes a Fever in Dogs?
- Infection: Infection is the most common cause of fever in dogs, particularly bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. These infectious agents can be spread through direct or indirect contact and can include parasites, fleas, and mosquitoes. It’s important to note that even if your pet does not have any visible signs of infection, it still may be carrying a pathogen, such as the bacteria responsible for kennel cough.
- Stress: Stress can be a major factor in a dog’s fever, particularly if it is the result of being in a new environment or around unfamiliar people or animals. This type of stress can lead to a weakened immune system, which can in turn trigger a fever.
- Disease or Illness: Certain diseases and illnesses can cause a dog’s body temperature to rise. This might include conditions such as cancer, kidney or liver disease, pancreatitis, and other inflammatory diseases.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as steroids and antibiotics, can also be the cause of a fever in dogs. If you recently started a new medication for your pet, it may be a good idea to monitor their temperature for any sudden or unexpected changes.
How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever Without A Thermometer
If your dog appears to have a fever, look for signs such as a dry, warm nose, bright/glassy eyes, panting, lethargy/weakness, shivering, coughing or sneezing, loss of appetite, and/or drooling more than normal. You may also notice that your pet’s gums or tongue are more red than normal or have visible signs of inflammation. A feeling of warmth to the touch of your dog’s body could also be a good sign that it has a fever.
My Dog Feels Hot To Touch
If your dog feels hot to the touch, it could be running a fever and may need to see a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Signs of fever in dogs may include hot, dry skin, increased panting, rapid breathing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and malaise. Contact your veterinarian for further advice and to make an appointment.
How To Check Dog Temperature
- Start by laying your dog down on a safe, comfortable, and clean surface.
- Gently lift up her tail, exposing her rectum.
- Lubricate the end of a digital thermometer with a small amount of petroleum jelly.
- Insert the thermometer into the rectum and keep it there for about 1 minute or until you hear a beep.
- Remove the thermometer and read the temperature.
A healthy dog’s normal temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is either above or below this range, your dog may be ill and should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
How Should I Care for A Dog With a Fever?
If your dog is running a fever, it is important to take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will likely take his temperature and run blood work to determine the underlying cause. Depending on the diagnosis, the vet may prescribe antibiotics, fluids, and other treatments to help the dog recover from the fever.
At home, you should offer additional comfort such as a cool, damp cloth around the face, neck, and chest area. Monitor the temperature and keep him in a cool, quiet place. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water and snacks with high levels of electrolytes. Make sure to call the veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
How Do You Treat a Dog’s Fever?
When a dog has a fever, the first step is to make sure they are comfortable and keep them hydrated. If the fever does not go down with at-home treatments such as a cool bath or a cold compress, a veterinarian should be consulted for further treatment. Possible treatments your veterinarian might prescribe include antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, fluids may also be recommended to help promote circulation and acceptable hydration levels.
Dog Fever Medicine
Nuheart (Heartworm Treatment) is a commonly prescribed dog fever medication. It contains Ivermectin, a common drug used to prevent and treat heartworm infections in dogs and cats. This medication is typically administered once monthly. Nuheart is available at most pet stores and online.
Dog Fever Treatment at Home
- Make sure your Dog is Comfortable: If your dog has a fever, it is important to make sure that the dog is comfortable and in a safe environment. Create a cozy bed for the dog in a quiet, draft-free area of your home, use extra blankets or a heating pad to help your pup maintain its body temperature. Give the dog plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and provide easy access to food.
- Use Cold Towels or Ice Packs: A cool cloth placed on your dog’s body can help to regulate their temperature and lower their fever. Use regular cold water to soak a small towel and apply directly to the affected area. Be sure to monitor your pup’s temperature for any changes.
- Monitor Your Dog’s Temperature: Make sure to monitor the dog’s body temperature regularly, especially if the fever is high or accompanied by any other symptoms. It is important to note any changes or fluctuations in the dog’s temperature.
- Give Your Dog Medication: Depending on the cause of the fever, your Veterinarian may advise a specific type of medication. If your pup has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to help reduce the fever. Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications should be avoided.
- Use a Rectal thermometer: For the best accuracy while monitoring your pup’s body temperature, use a rectal thermometer specifically designed for dogs.
When Should You See A Vet About A Dog’s Fever?
It is important to take your dog to the veterinarian anytime they are running a fever (temperature greater than 103F). Additionally, fever is a symptom of an underlying condition, so you should seek veterinary attention even if the fever itself is not dangerously high.
SEE ALSO: How Often Do Dogs Need Rabies Shots?
Q. How do I know my dog has a fever?
A. The best way to know if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature using a pet thermometer. Normal temperatures vary slightly but generally range between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature is above 102.5 degrees, then they likely have a fever.
Q. How can I check my dog’s fever at home?
A. You can use an infrared thermometer to take your dog’s temperature by gently pressing the thermometer against your dog’s forehead. Alternatively, you can put a digital thermometer in your dog’s rectum for an accurate reading.
Q. Can you tell if your dog has a fever by feeling his head?
A. No, feeling your dog’s head alone is not an effective way to tell if they have a fever. The best way to determine if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature with a digital thermometer designed for dogs.
Q. How can you tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer?
A. You can tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer by feeling its nose or observing its behavior. If the nose is dry and warm to the touch it may indicate a fever. Other signs of fever include increased restlessness, loss of appetite, heavy panting, and lethargy.
Q. What Is a Dog’s Normal Temperature?
A. A dog’s normal temperature is between 100.5°F and 102.5°F.
Q. How long should your dog’s fever last?
A. A dog’s fever should last no longer than 1-2 days. If it persists longer than that, it is best to consult a veterinarian.
In conclusion, determining if a dog is feverish can be a difficult task. However, some common symptoms of fever in dogs include loss of appetite, fatigue, dehydration, and lethargy. If multiple of these symptoms are present, it is best to take the dog to the veterinarian for further evaluation. Fever can be a sign of serious underlying conditions, and it is important to address it as soon as possible.