An increased body temperature in the dog indicates an inflammatory process that is in the body. Very high fever can be life-threatening for the four-legged friend, regardless of the underlying disease. If a dog has a fever above 41 degrees, it is a medical emergency. Therefore, critical vital signs should be recognized by the dog as quickly as possible. It is good if the owner knows the values and can react quickly. In the first step, the fever should be lowered, in the second step the dog must be taken to a veterinarian or veterinary clinic as soon as possible.
- Fever above 41 degrees can be life-threatening for dogs;
- Every owner should know and be able to recognize the vital signs of his dog;
- If you have a high fever, act quickly;
- Fever is evidence of an inflammatory process in the body.
What is Fever?
Fever is a defense mechanism of the immune system. At the same time, a large number of defense activities are running at full speed in the body. The goal of the immune system is to fight the existing pathogens that are present in the body. First of all, a fever is positive: It means that there is a functioning and still active immune defense. However, if it lasts too long or is too high, if the dog no longer likes to eat or drink and if it becomes weaker and weaker, the fever itself can be a life-threatening hazard for the dog.
When is a Fever Life Threatening?
If a dog suffers from a greatly increased body temperature, a veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible to measure the dog’s temperature. He can professionally clarify the causes of the fever. If the fever persists or rises above 41 degrees, the dog’s life is in acute danger. Act quickly before it’s too late. If the dog has a fever that can be felt in mere physical contact, because his ears are very hot, or he is panting excessively and drinks much more than usual, the alarm bells should ring for humans. Even if the general condition seems to be bad, it is advisable to check the temperature and, if in doubt, take the dog to a veterinarian.
The normal temperature in adult dogs is between 37.5 and 39 degrees Celsius, in puppies, it is 39.5 degrees.
In dogs, fever cannot be measured in the ear, unlike in humans. This does not work even with a special ear thermometer, as even a small amount of hair in the dog’s ear canal can falsify the result. If the thermometer shows 39.8 degrees, but the dog is actually almost 42 degrees, in the worst case this can mean life or death. Measuring a fever in a dog is only possible using rectal measurement. A digital clinical thermometer with a flexible measuring tip from the pharmacy should be used for this purpose. Electronic thermometers that briefly display the result with a beep are ideal. It is best to have a veterinarian show you how to measure a dog’s fever. In this way, you can intervene quickly in an emergency. The thermometer must be disinfected after each measurement. It should also be labeled so that it is only used for the dog.
How Can a Fever Be Determined?
The vital signs are important indicators for a fever. Often the breathing is faster, the heartbeat is faster, the dog shows signs of dehydration. The lymph nodes are swollen. It is not easy for owners to recognize or check all these signs. It is therefore advisable to visit the vet more than once rather than too little.
An elevated temperature has some side effects that can but do not have to, occur. They can help owners identify the fever more easily than the vital signs. These include hot ears, a dry nose, excessive panting, unwillingness to eat, listlessness, or even apathy. In areas with less fur, such as the inside of the thighs, armpits, and stomach, the dog feels very warm.
However, a fever can really only be reliably determined by taking a rectal measurement.
What Should You Watch Out For If You Have a Fever?
- It is important that dogs drink a lot if they have a fever (cold water). They shouldn’t be forced but should be animated if they don’t want to drink on their own.
- If the fever is very high, the dog may get chills.
- If the dog has a fever of over 40 degrees, it not only suffers from the underlying disease, but also from the fever itself.
- The dog should be presented to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Once an owner is unsure whether their dog has a high fever, a thermometer should be used. If you can’t or don’t dare to do that, you should visit a veterinarian too much. With a high fever, the dog suffers, regardless of its underlying disease. Fever can be life-threatening in dogs, so it is important to act quickly here. When in doubt, a veterinarian should always be consulted. He can diagnose the disease and treat it accordingly.