Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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Health

How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
May 4 ·

There are many diseases that dogs can get that humans cannot. However, there are some common illnesses that dogs can get and humans. For example, dogs can catch a common cold and get a fever. Let’s talk about how to tell if your dog has a fever.

What’s Your Dog’s Normal Temperature?

When a dog has a fever, it’s usually a sign that they’re getting sick or that its body is trying to fight off something. This could be a virus, a bug bite, or something they ate that they shouldn’t have.

There’s an old tale that says if a dog’s nose is wet and cold, they’re healthy. However, if their nose is hot and dry, it’s a sign of a fever.

Feeling their nose isn’t enough to go on, though. The nose may be dry for other reasons rather than just a fever.

If you want to know if your dog has a fever, you need to take their temperature. You can buy pet thermometers at your local pet store.

Keep in mind that a dog’s temperature often runs higher than a human’s. So, a dog’s average temperature should be between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees F.

If your dog’s temperature is at least 103 degrees F, that’s considered a fever.

What Are The Signs Of A Fever In Dogs?

In most cases, you wouldn’t take your dog’s temperature unless you thought they had a fever and showed signs of illness.

So, here’s a list of the following symptoms your dog may show if they’re feeling under the weather:

  • Red eyes (or glassy eyes)
  • Lethargy
  • Runny nose
  • Warm, dry nose
  • Warm ears
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Panting

Should you nose any of these signs in your dog, you can take their temperature using a pet thermometer. These are often rectal use, so if you don’t have one or don’t feel comfortable taking your pup’s temperature, you can call the vet.

Let the vet know that you suspect your doggo has a fever and is coming down with something. They’ll take your dog’s temperature at the appointment and give your dog a good thorough exam. 

What Causes A Fever In Dogs?

Many illnesses can cause a fever in dogs. They could be fighting off a virus or infection either internally or externally, which may cause their temperature to spike.

For example, the list of issues below can cause fever in dogs:

  • A bite, cut, or scratch that’s been infected
  • Ear infection
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Infected tooth
  • Bacterial or viral disease
  • Organ infection (kidney, lungs, etc.)

In addition, a fever may occur if your dog ate something they weren’t supposed to. For instance, poisonous materials will cause your dog to get sick.

If you suspect your pup has consumed any of the following, then call the emergency vet or pet poison control right away:

  • Toxic plants
  • Human medication
  • Humans foods unsafe for dogs (such as xylitol, garlic, onions, etc.)

Vaccinations can be another cause of fever. In some cases, a dog may develop a fever within 24 to 48 hours of getting a vaccine. After that, it’s just a side effect, and the fever will go away within the next day.

Finally, there are cases when you can’t tell what the fever is from. For instance, if they didn’t eat anything suspicious, didn’t have any vaccinations, and didn’t have any other underlying internal or external infections. Then, the fever could be a warning of something else.

For example, the fever could be telling you that the dog is developing an immune disorder, cancer, or bone marrow problems.

How To Reduce Your Dog’s Fever

If you know or suspect your dog has a fever, you should bring them to the vet. For example, 103 degrees F is a fever for dogs, but if they get up to 106 degrees F, you should call your vet right away.

A high temperature can cause internal damage to your dog and may also be fatal.

If they have a slight fever, you can help reduce it by cooling off your pup. For example, you can place a cool towel on your dog’s paws and ears.

Periodically, recheck their temperature. Once it goes back to a normal rate, you can stop cooling your dog down.

Also, make sure that they keep drinking so that they stay hydrated. Your pup should always have fresh, cool water available to them at all times.

Finally, never try to give your dog human medications to reduce their fever. In some cases, this is okay, but you should always talk to your vet about it first.

If Your Dog Gets A Fever, They’ll Be Okay

Getting a fever isn’t the worst thing. It simply means your doggo is under the weather. However, if caught early enough, you can give your pup some TLC, and they’ll be good as new within the next day or two. 

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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