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Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 19, 2016
Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment

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Fever as we know it is not unique to humans, dogs can also experience it and we should be alert to its warning symptoms. Temperatures that are lower or higher than usual for a dog may be an indicator of fever.

Remember that it can not communicate what is happening or when something is wrong, you must monitor its health. It is a situation that, if not corrected, can lead to fatal consequences for the animal.

Find out in this AnimalWised about the symptoms and treatment of fever in dogs. In addition, we offer you advice about its normal temperature, how to take it or the age-related differences that may occur through life.

You may also be interested in: Fever in Cats

A dog's normal temperature

Fever is an excellent defense mechanism of the body. By increasing body temperature the immune system seeks to destroy the pathogen. Therefore we must conclude that it is a reaction of the immune system that is very beneficial for the dog when faced with a disease.

The normal temperature of an adult dog is between 38.5ºC and 38.9ºC (101ºF and 102ºF), this may vary depending on the dog's circumstances. From 39ºC (102.2ºF) we can start talking about fever. It is important to know that from 41ºC (105ºF) the dog's health condition is really serious and can even cause death. However, the temperature of the dogs is not always the same, in other periods it may be lower:

We must also take into account dogs that are not adults such as puppies, young dogs, bitches that are pregnant or breastfeeding and even elderly dogs. These dogs may suffer irregularities in their usual temperature as their body may be weak or developing and unable to properly regulate heat.

Some of the causes that can cause an increase in temperature are:

  • Infections
  • Parasites
  • Reaction to vaccine
  • Poisoning
  • Heatstroke
  • Sunstroke
  • Other diseases

Remember that these are not the only causes of fever in dogs. It is important to see your veterinarian to rule out any serious problems and receive a proper diagnosis.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - A dog's normal temperature

Symptoms of fever in dogs

There are several ways to take a dogs temperature. If you suspect your dog may have fever you should verify it using a thermometer in the rectal area. You can also use other tricks with less reliability such as palpation of the armpits.

You can draw upon checking the symptoms common for fever in dog:

  • Hot nose
  • Dry nose
  • Apathy
  • Sadness
  • Tremors
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Discomfort
  • Aggressiveness
  • Sleepiness

These are some of the indications of fever in dogs, however these may be a sign that something is not working properly and that there is a more serious underlying disease. Keep reading to know how to react to this situation.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Symptoms of fever in dogs

How to properly take a dog's temperature

The most accurate and successful method to take a dog's temperature is using a thermometer and putting it in its rectal area. But before you begin you must be clear on certain points:

  • The thermometer that you use must be of a material that is safe for use on a dog. On the market you can find plastic thermometers that will avoid further problems should it break. It's very important to keep in mind that the dog may move and shake when feeling uncomfortable, for that reason it is fundamental that you choose a suitable measuring tool.
  • Choose an appropriate time to take your dog's the temperature. For example when it is lying in its bed. Get help from someone to avoid it getting nervous or trying to escape from the situation.
  • You can smear the thermometer with some kind of lubricant to make this less uncomfortable for your dog.
  • You must insert it at least 2 cm (0.7 in) inward.
  • Wait for the time set out on the thermometer. If there is no timer wait at least a couple of minutes before removing. Try to be very quiet so your dog does not become agitated.
  • Once removed and the temperature has been taken wash the thermometer with ethyl alcohol to disinfect it properly.

After taking your dog's temperature you will know if it has a fever or if it was just a feeling you had. Do not forget that from 41ºC (104ºF) your dog may suffer immediate death. Take action on the matter and call the emergency vet service out to see you.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - How to properly take a dog's temperature

Is a low temperature a symptom of fever?

As happens to us humans when suffering a disease, we may suffer high or very low temperatures. Even if your dog does not seem feverish, if after taking its temperature you find that it is very low you must still evaluate whether it may be suffering from some kind of illness.

Observe your dog's behavior and identify the symptoms it is experiencing to give details to the specialist when you talk to him or her.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Is a low temperature a symptom of fever?

Treating fever in dogs

If you are not a vet do not try to treat the dog's fever yourself. Unwittingly, you could generate hypothermia or a situation of shock for the animal in your attempt to lower its temperature. In addition, fever is an indication that something is wrong and a check up will be necessary.

In some cases it may be nothing, a simple dog cold, but we run the risk of being faced with a major problem that needs treatment and medication.

Through tests the veterinarian will carry out a correct diagnosis that will explain why your dog has a fever (infection, heat stroke etc.) and thereafter apply pharmacological treatment as necessary. Infections should be treated with antibiotics while other situations may require no further action.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Treating fever in dogs

Tricks and home remedies for fever

If you are faced with an emergency and you can not go to the vet the best you can do is help your pet and try to treat it yourself at home. Do not guide yourself only with the warmth felt by your hand, you must take its temperature as we have indicated above. Remember that you should then go to the vet because it can be a symptom of an infection or severe viral illness such as the parvovirus, incurable if not detected early.

Some tips to reduce fever in your dog:

  • Throughout the process look and see if it has other symptoms in addition to the rise in temperature.
  • If it is a low temperature (above 39 ° C or 102 º F) you can simply try to cool it using a sponge with warm water around areas of the abdomen, armpits and groin. Of course, you should dry your dog immediately to avoid hypothermia.
  • Also, in the case of low fever you can wet a towel with warm water and cover the whole dog for a few minutes. Then you must thoroughly dry the dog to avoid a cold.
  • If your dog starts to develop a high fever (above 41 ° C) you can bathe it in warm water (never cold, as it could trigger a state of shock), put it in a cool place and moisten its the head, legs and abdomen.
  • It is not advisable for your dog to remain damp or wet for a long time. Keep towels and a dryer to hand to avoid a sudden cooling.
  • For any type of fever is essential to keep well hydrated, do not force it to drink but make sure that it is continuously taking water, even if in small quantities. Help yourself with a needless syringe if necessary. You can also use unsalted broth.
  • After 24 hours, if your dog continues having a fever, go to your veterinarian urgently.

Take care of it and give it affection throughout the fever process, physical contact and words of encouragement can help it accelerate the condition and feel better.

Avoid giving your dog aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen or other medicine intended for human use, it is strongly discouraged except in cases where the vet has advised a specific drug. An overdose can have very serious consequences, even cause death.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Tricks and home remedies for fever

Prevention of fever

There is no better cure than prevention. As your dog has suffered from fever you should consider some tips to prevent this happening again. These tips and tricks will help you ensure that it does not happen again:

  • Go to the vet every 7- 12 months: Many diseases can be prevented and treated more effectively if they are detected early. We know that not all people lack the economic resources, but sometimes the cheaper options can turn out to be more expensive. Look for a cost effective veterinarian.
  • Vaccination: It is essential to follow the vaccine schedule set by your veterinarian. Without these your dog could be susceptible to contracting diseases. Although not all countries sell the same drugs most are common in all countries.
  • Deworm regularly: Though surprising to some, ticks and fleas can cause fever, malaise and disease in our dog. Deworm it internally and externally every month. You can use what makes the dog feel more comfortable: pipettes, necklaces or pills.
  • Toxicity: Identify plants that are toxic for your dog as well as the foods that are toxic for your dog, it will be essential to avoid possible poisoning. Get informed and if unsure only offer your dog dry feed.
  • Cold and heat: Environmental temperature is very important for dogs, it will ensure the dog does not suffer from heatstroke, cold or hypothermia. Try to avoid these situations using dog clothes, offering sprays in summer etc.

Constant care and affection of an owner are the best remedy to avoid a cold or the occurrence of any disease. Even so, on occasions it will be inevitable that our dog falls sick but following these tips we can minimize the risk.

Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment - Prevention of fever

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Fever in Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Infectious diseases category.

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Manjinder singh
High temperature 107°

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