The symptoms that come with a fever are also common symptoms among other conditions that affect our canine companions. Here, our vets in Cumming talk about dog fevers, as well as the signs and symptoms and how they can be treated.
What is the normal temperature for a dog?
A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101° to 102.5° Fahrenheit, which is significantly higher than humans whose body temperature ranges from 97.6° to 99.6° F.
A temperature of more than 103° F is considered a dog fever. When temperatures reach 106° F, serious and fatal complications can occur.
How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever Without a Thermometer
Fever in dogs can be a tricky thing to determine as your dog's temperature naturally fluctuates, especially if they get excited. Also, a dog’s temperature can vary throughout the day and sometimes at night. Therefore, it is important to understand your dog’s healthy temperature. You can determine this by noting your dog's temperature at various times of the day, for several days.
One of the most commonly believed myths is that a cold and wet nose means that your dog is healthy and free of fever. However, this is untrue.
The best way to check your dog’s temperature is to use a digital thermometer for rectal use, some pet stores carry thermometers made just for pets. It is recommended that you keep a separate thermometer just for your dog and store it where you keep your dog’s supplies.
Start by lubricating the tip of the thermometer with petroleum or water-soluble lubricant. Then lift your dog’s tail up and to the side and carefully insert the thermometer about 1 inch into your dog’s rectum. If possible, have a second person assist you by holding under the dog’s hind legs to prevent your dog from sitting. Once the thermometer temperature has registered you can carefully remove the thermometer.
What are the causes of fevers in dogs?
There is a large number of potential causes behind fever in dogs. Some of these conditions include:
- A bacterial, fungal, or viral infection
- An ear infection
- An infected bite, scratch, or cut
- Tooth infection or abscess
- Urinary tract infection
- Ingestion of poisonous materials, such as toxic plants, human medications, or human foods that are toxic to dogs
In some cases, a dog’s fever cannot be readily determined, this is often referred to as a fever of unknown origin or FUO. In these cases, a fever could be caused by underlying disorders of the immune system, bone marrow problems, or cancer.
Dog Fever Symptoms
Any sudden and noticeable change in the behavior of your dog should be an indication that something isn't quite right with your pup. You should keep a careful eye on your dog and take note of your dog's symptoms. Any combination of the following symptoms is a good indication that you should check your dog’s temperature.
Some of the most commonly seen signs of fever in dogs include:
- Red or glassy-looking eyes
- Warm ears and/or nose
- Runny nose
- Decreased energy
- Loss of appetite
How to Treat Fevers in Dogs
If your dog’s fever is 106° F or higher immediately take your dog to a local veterinary emergency clinic.
If your dog has a fever, of 103° F or more, you can help to cool your dog’s body temperature by applying cool water with a soaked towel or cloth to your dog's ears and paws and running a fan near your dog. Stop applying the water when your dog’s temperature drops below 103° F. Continue to monitor your dog closely to ensure that the fever doesn’t return.
While you should never make your dog drink, you should try to convince them to drink at least a small amount of water.
It is important to never give your dog human medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These human medications may be fatal for your dog even in the smallest doses.
If your dog exhibits any other symptoms, such as shivering, panting, and vomiting you should consider taking your dog to the vet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.