How Do You Know If a Dog Has a Fever?

103 degrees is considered a fever for dogs. Apply cold water directly onto their fur, and encourage small sips. If you suspect something serious may be going on with your pup’s health, take immediate steps. Seek advice from a vet.

Before taking your dog’s temperature, use petroleum or water-soluble lubricant to lubricate the tip of a thermometer with. Rectal thermometers or ear thermometers designed for dogs are the preferred methods.

Check Their Temperature

Many people have been told that you can tell if someone has a fever by touching their nose–if cool and wet it indicates health, while hot and dry could signal fever. Unfortunately this method doesn’t apply well when dealing with dogs as their fur can absorb heat causing their body temperature to fluctuate more than just a few degrees. Therefore it is wise to have a thermometer available and learn its use beforehand to keep your pet safe and healthy.

Most often, your dog’s fever is due to an infection from bacteria or viruses; such infections require treatment from your veterinarian and could require antibiotics, fluid therapy and/or pain medication depending on its severity. They may also recommend bloodwork or urine tests in order to diagnose its source.

Therefore, if your dog appears to have a fever it is wise to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible in order to provide timely treatment and avoid further complications. Even if it seems minor they can provide appropriate medication and care to keep things under control and help ensure any further issues don’t arise.

Establish a baseline of your dog’s normal body temperature so you can detect when their temperature has changed significantly, taking multiple readings throughout the day and night to gauge this change. For this purpose, take readings several times throughout the day and night – taking several different temperatures at various intervals can be helpful!

Utilizing a rectal thermometer is the optimal method for taking your dog’s temperature, although this may be uncomfortable at first. To make things easier for both yourself and your pup, lubricate its tip with petroleum jelly or another suitable lubricant to increase comfort levels and ensure accurate results.

Your can also take their temperature in their ears, though this method is less precise than using their rectum. Be wary when taking their temperature when they are excited, agitated or lying down as this can give inaccurate readings. Therefore it would be useful to take their temperature before and after exercise as well as at the beginning and end of their day to get an understanding of how activity impacts their body temperature.

Check for Pain

Similar to humans, dogs may experience fever due to a range of medical conditions and illnesses. Common examples include an infected wound or abscess, viral infections, urinary tract and ear infections as well as pneumonia that all may result in fevers in your pet. Other infections might be easier to identify such as broken bones or an ear infection while others might require further testing, like kidney infections or cancerous tumors.

First step to diagnosing your dog’s fever is taking their temperature. For optimal results, use an ear thermometer or rectal thermometer designed specifically for pets; otherwise if using a human digital thermometer make sure you use petroleum jelly or water-soluble wax on its probe before inserting it in their ears or rectum.

Once your dog has developed a fever, their vet will need to know about all their symptoms and when they began appearing. He or she may conduct a physical exam as well as conduct routine laboratory tests such as urinalysis or blood count to help identify what’s causing their fever.

Sometimes dogs don’t know why their fever started and will be diagnosed as having “Fever of Unknown Origin”, or FUO. This could be because a virus or bacteria has stimulated their immune systems into producing fever-inducing antibodies but their source has yet to be discovered. Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can also trigger similar responses within their bodies but do not always act as the catalyst behind disease onset.

If your pup seems lethargic, doesn’t eat or drink well, is experiencing pain while walking or standing up, is drinking more water than usual and appears thirsty or is frequently licking their lips, they could have a fever. As human medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may help to lower fevers temporarily but these substances can actually be toxic for dogs causing internal organ damage and even death.

Check for Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration is a symptom of many different illnesses; when coupled with fever, dehydration is especially dangerous and must be considered an urgent medical situation.

First and foremost, be wary if your dog seems disinterested in drinking as usual – particularly if they appear lethargic and disengaged from water consumption – especially during hot conditions. This is a telltale sign of dehydration, made worse by fever – to combat this get them drinking some water or offer low sodium chicken broth as soon as possible.

Another effective way of checking dehydration in dogs is by gently touching their skin, such as the back of their neck or shoulder. Well-hydrated pups will have flexible skin that immediately snaps back into place; in contrast, dehydrated canines may exhibit skin that feels tight and tented – an indicator of severe dehydration which should be seen by a vet immediately.

If your dog seems weak and disinterested in eating, and they show signs of being cold or shivering, they could be severely dehydrated and require immediate medical treatment from a veterinarian; depending on the severity of symptoms they could require hospitalization as well.

Make sure your dog drinks enough water, but make sure it is not too cold. Never give human medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever relief as these could prove fatal for canines. Instead, ask your veterinarian about products similar to children’s Pedialyte which will rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes.

A thermometer should be your go-to method of diagnosing canine fever. You can either use one you already own at home, or purchase a dedicated pet thermometer; both work equally well; for maximum accuracy it’s best to lubricate its tip with some water-soluble lubricant before inserting it. If your pup won’t allow you to take their temperature then look out for other signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea as possible indicators of illness.

Check for Signs of Infection

When your dog develops a fever, their immune system is trying to combat an infection. If successful in defeating this threat, their fever should go away quickly; otherwise bacteria could enter their bloodstream and lead to sepsis, potentially becoming fatal.

Fever may be an early symptom of infection, but you should also look out for other telltale signs. They could include runny nose, watery eyes, or coughing and sneezing fits; lethargic or reluctant movement and loss of appetite might also indicate illness; plus painful abdomens with swollen glands or even visible abscesses may indicate serious illness.

If your dog is feverish, make an appointment with their vet as soon as possible. They will want a detailed medical history including past illnesses, vaccinations, surgeries, medications and allergies that might have had an effect on them. They will perform a physical exam by looking at skin and joints for signs of infection or other problems and performing laboratory tests such as blood counts/biochemistry profiles as well as possible urinalysiss for detection of potential infections.

Your vet may not be able to identify the source of a fever, particularly if it has persisted over an extended period. This condition is known as a fever of unknown origin and could be related to bone marrow disorders, undiagnosed infections, or cancer.

Vets can often tell if your dog has a fever by feeling their hairless parts such as their belly and armpits. While this method is inaccurate as dogs always feel hot to the touch, it can help determine whether or not a vet visit is necessary. For a more precise reading, rectal thermometers provide accurate readings; make sure to lubricate its tip with petroleum jelly prior to inserting into their anus for best results – this should only take minutes!

Lisa Thompson
 

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