How do I know if my dog has a fever? Symptoms and what to do

Find out how to tell if your dog has a fever, what symptoms to look for and how to act.

How to know if my dog has a fever and what to do to treat it

How do I know if my dog has a fever? Surely there is no person who lives with a dog who has not asked himself that question at some point, since fever is a relatively common problem for these animals, as it is for us, and its meaning is the same.

It is important to be clear that fever or pyrexia, although it can be very annoying and disabling, is not really a disease, but a symptom that indicates that the body has some kind of problem or is fighting against some pathogen.

That’s why it’s so important to know how to measure a dog’s fever: it will help us find out if he has any health problems.


The easiest way to find out if a dog has a fever is, of course, to use a thermometer, but not everyone is clear on how to do it with a dog. What’s more, you may suspect your dog’s fever may have risen at one point, but you don’t have any thermometers on hand. What to do in those cases?

In this article you have a complete guide on fever in dogs: we will tell you what is considered fever in the body of these animals, how to detect it both with a thermometer and without it, what are the most likely causes and what you can do to help your furry.


How to tell if a dog has a fever with and without a thermometer

When is a dog considered to have a fever?

The first thing to keep in mind is that, although fever is a symptom common to many animals, what is considered a normal body temperature can vary significantly from one to another.

In the case of dogs, their body temperature is in fact higher than ours.


healthy adult dog will have a body temperature of 38 – 39°C, which may vary slightly from animal to animal and temporarily rise or fall due to various circumstances (environmental temperature, exercise, etc.).

Thus, we would talk about feverish state whenever a dog exceeds 39 ° C.

From 41 ° C it is considered that the dog has a very high fever that could put his life at risk. If at any time your dog reaches those temperatures, do not hesitate: take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

(By the way: if you have a feline, don’t miss this article on how to measure a cat’s body temperature.)


How to know if my dog has a fever WITH thermometer

We already said at the beginning that, if you wonder how to know if my dog has a fever, the simplest and most direct way is to use a digital thermometer

Measurements with these devices should always be performed rectally in the case of males, and rectal or vaginal in the case of females. So the readings will be accurate.

As they are delicate areas, it is likely that your dog will not be too happy that you use the thermometer. Therefore, we recommend you choose models with fast reading and flexible or unbreakable tip, which will be especially useful and will help you avoid accidents or that you hurt your furry unintentionally.

How to tell if my dog has a fever

To take a dog’s temperature with a thermometer, choose a time when the dog is resting and not having eaten recently and follow these steps:

  1. Keep the dog standing throughout the measurement.
  2. Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or a similar product to make it as unpleasant as possible for him.
  3. Place your dog on a solid surface and use positive reinforcement at all times: trinkets, caresses, etc.
  4. Insert the thermometer into your rectum or vagina to a depth of at least 2 cm.
  5. Remove the thermometer after 1 or 2 minutes (many models beep when the measurement has been made) and disinfect it with alcohol before storing.


How to know if my dog has a fever if I do NOT have a thermometer

Using a thermometer is the only way to know for sure if a dog has a fever or not, but if you don’t have one on hand, you can also find out by looking at the symptoms and examining certain areas of his body.

Of course, it will not be an accurate measurement: if you do not have a thermometer, you can only get a rough idea of your dog’s body temperature and you will have to go to a veterinarian to confirm your suspicions.


The most common signs of fever in dogs are the following:

  • Dry and hot nose.
  • Lethargy.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Chills.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Drowsiness and apathy.
  • Nasal and ocular secretions.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Discomfort.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Gasps.


Regarding the areas of the dog’s body that you could examine to check its temperature, they are the following:

  • English.
  • Armpits.
  • Inside the ears.
  • Belly.
  • Pads.

All these areas have a high density of blood vessels near the skin, so it will be easier to notice if the temperature is excessive.

It should be noted that it will be easier for you to detect fever in your dog if you know his body temperature approximately under normal circumstances.


Why does my dog have a fever?

There are many health problems and ailments of all kinds that can cause a dog to have a fever, so the only way to know what’s wrong with your best friend will be to take him to the vet.

Some of the most common causes of fever in dogs (but not the only ones) are the following:

  • Infections of any kind.
  • Internal or external parasites.
  • Hormonal problems.
  • Medications.
  • Sunstroke and heat stroke (see our guide on how to tell if a dog is hot).
  • Intoxication.
  • Poisoning.
  • Reaction to vaccines.


If your dog has a fever, it is recommended that you look at the other symptoms he has to get an idea of what is happening to him.

Anyway, and as we say, it is best to take it to the vet and in no case try to diagnose it on your own.


How to lower a dog’s fever?

Now that you’re clear on how to tell if my dog has a fever, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help.

The truth is that there is no home remedy for fever in dogs, In addition, and as we always remind you, in no case should you give your furry human medication, as you could seriously intoxicate it without any positive effect. You should also avoid giving him dog medications that you may have at home before going through the vet.


As we have mentioned several times throughout this article, fever is not a problem, but a symptom. For this reason, we insist that the most important thing is to take the dog to the veterinarian so that he can identify the true cause of the temperature rise and determine which is the best treatment.

Thus, the way to address fever will depend entirely on its origin and may consist of antibiotics, fluid therapy …

The only thing you can do at home is to keep your dog well hydrated and, from time to time, refresh with a wet towel (but not cold) the areas of his body that we have talked about in previous sections: groin, armpits, etc.

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By Lee Chun Hei