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High Fever in Dogs & What to Do

It can be difficult to determine for certain whether your dog has a fever. Today, our Fremont veterinarians discuss how to detect a dog's fever, what might be causing it, associated symptoms, and what to do.

Normal Temperature VS Fever in Dogs

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is significantly higher than yours or mine. (Human body temperature ranges from 97.6 to 99.6 F). 

If your puppy's temperature exceeds 103 degrees Fahrenheit, he or she has a fever. If your puppy's temperature exceeds 106 degrees Fahrenheit, he or she has a severe case of fever and is at risk of serious, possibly fatal complications.

Taking Your Dog's Temperature 

Fever detection in dogs can be difficult because their body temperatures can rise significantly when they are excited or stressed. Additionally, a dog's temperature can fluctuate throughout the day and occasionally at night. As a result, it is critical to understand your dog's normal body temperature. This can be determined by keeping track of your dog's temperature throughout the day for several days.

Many people believe that if you feel your dog's nose and it is moist and cold, the temperature is normal, but if it is hot and dry, the dog has a fever. This is not, however, a reliable indicator that your dog has a fever.

The most accurate way to check your dog's temperature is with a digital rectal thermometer; some pet stores sell thermometers designed specifically for pets. It is recommended that you keep a separate thermometer for your dog and keep it in the same location as the rest of his supplies.

To begin, lubricate the thermometer's tip with petroleum or a water-soluble lubricant. Then, carefully lift your dog's tail up and to the side and insert the thermometer approximately 1 inch into his rectum. If possible, enlist the assistance of a second person to prevent your dog from sitting. Once the thermometer has registered the temperature, carefully remove it.  

Causes of Fever in Dogs

Countless conditions could cause your dog to develop a fever. Some of the most common 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

When the cause of a dog's fever is unknown, this is frequently referred to as a fever of unknown origin or FUO. Fever may be caused in these cases by underlying immune system disorders, bone marrow problems, or cancer.

Signs That Your Dog May Have a Fever

If you notice a noticeable change in your dog's behavior, this is your first indication that he or she is ill. You should keep a close eye on your dog and pay attention to his or her symptoms. Any combination of the following symptoms is cause for concern and should prompt you to take your dog's temperature.

The most common symptoms of a fever in dogs are: 

  • Red or glassy-looking eyes
  • Warm ears and/or nose 
  • Shivering
  • Panting 
  • Runny nose 
  • Decreased energy 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing 
  • Vomiting

How to Reduce Fever in Dogs 

If your dog’s fever is 106 F or higher they need to see a vet immediately. Contact the emergency veterinarian nearest you right away

If your dog has a fever of 103 F or higher, you can assist in lowering his body temperature by applying cool water to his ears and paws with a soaked towel or cloth and running a fan near him. When your dog's temperature falls below 103 F, stop applying water. Maintain a close eye on your dog to ensure the fever does not recur.

Coax your dog into drinking small amounts of water to stay hydrated, but avoid forcing your dog to drink.

It is critical to never administer human medications to your dogs, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These medications are toxic to dogs and can result in serious injury or death.

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 pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you think that your dog may have a fever contact our vets at Newark Pet Clinic to book an appointment for your pooch.

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Newark Pet Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fremont companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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