Updated by Sheryl on Sep 7, 2021
Dog’s normal body temperature is significantly higher than humans. We cannot touch and tell if they have a fever. You might be familiar with the old tried and tested method: feel your dog’s nose- wet and cold- it’s normal. Dry and hot, it’s a fever.
Though there’s nothing wrong with feeling in a dog’s nose, relying on the nose alone can never give an accurate temperature reading. And more often than not, dog fever goes undiagnosed and untreated.
A temperature higher than 103 degrees F is considered dog fever. If the temperature reaches 106 degrees F, it’s a serious dog fever that can be fatal and cause many health complications.
The term ‘fever’ in any animal means elevated body temperatures, a reaction to an infection or inflammation. In dogs, it’s 103 degrees F, although it can reach up to 103 degrees F if a dog feels extremely anxious or excited.
Normal temperature for dogs lies between 101 to 102.5 degrees F. It’s much higher as compared to humans, which range anywhere between 97.6 to 99.6. It means you may feel your dog has a fever when it’s his normal body temperature.
You can take your dog’s temperature using a rectal or ear thermometer. Your dog will not like the experience, but using a rectal thermometer will help you assess accurate temperature. It will take around 60 seconds to show the results. Also, there are digital thermometers available in the market made for just pets.
Ear thermometers work by measuring the infrared heat waves emitting from the eardrums. They are less invasive, and they give accurate readings. Infrared or ear thermometers are also more expensive than digital thermometers.
Since he cannot tell you when he feels feverish, you need to know the possible dog fever symptoms.
If your dog’s body temperature is above 103 degrees F, you can comfort him by placing cool soaked towels around his paws and ears. You can fan the damp fur to reduce the temperature. Keep monitoring his temperature as you do this, and stop this process when it reaches 103 F.
See if you can persuade him to drink some water or fresh fruit juice, but don’t force him.
Never give human fever medicines to your dog like ibuprofen, acetaminophen. These can be poisonous for dogs. The repercussions can be fatal or cause serious health issues.
If you could reduce his temperature, you should still keep monitoring his temperature to make sure the fever doesn’t return. Always remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If the dog fever reaches 106 degrees F or any higher, rush to the nearest veterinary clinic. It can become fatal if you wait any longer.
If your dog is showing symptoms like shivering, coughing, vomiting, or diarrhoea, you should consider taking your dog to the vet. There might be an underlying disease that needs to be diagnosed.
An infection, inflammation, or an underlying disease can cause fever in dogs. Sometimes dogs have a fever after a vaccination.
Your dog might have a fever from:
There’s nothing to worry about if your dog has a fever after vaccination. Just monitor his condition.
In some cases, the cause behind the elevated body temperature in dogs cannot be rightly identified; it happened because “fever of unknown origin” is also called “FUO”. It requires physical tests to diagnose the problem. In the majority of the cases, it happens due to certain immune disorders, undiagnosed infections, bone marrow disease, and cancer.
It’s best to use a digital thermometer rectally on a dog. It’s affordable, easy to use and gives accurate results. If the fever persists for more than two days, visit the vet. If the fever reaches 106 degrees F or any higher, rush to the nearest vet emergency clinic. It can cause critical health problems, even death.
If you have reduced the dog’s body temperature, keep monitoring his temperature and make sure the fever doesn’t reappear.