What is the Body Temperature of a Dog?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a dog has a fever. Unlike humans, dogs cannot say they are not feeling well. And even if you know something is wrong, figuring out why your pet is uncomfortable can be a guessing game.


How to Know if Dogs Have a Fever

The most important step in figuring out if your dog has a fever is knowing his normal temperature. The normal body temperature of a dog can fluctuate depending on the breed and age of the dog. The older the dog is, the lower its normal body temperature is. For small breeds, this indicator fluctuates around 38.5⁰C – 39.0⁰C. Mediums – 37.5⁰C – 39.0⁰C. And in large ones, the temperature is even lower: 37.4⁰С – 38.3⁰С.

To find out what is the normal temperature for your dog, take the temperature when he is feeling well.

Pulse and respiratory rate are also tools for detecting temperature in dogs. The higher these indicators, the higher the temperature.

Causes of High Temperature

A temperature rise in a dog can be caused by various reasons. The most common ones include:

  • Infections. They can be absolutely any: bacterial, fungal and viral diseases. The infection can be anywhere in the body, such as the lungs (pneumonia), the kidneys (pyelonephritis), the brain (encephalitis), or even the skin. The symptoms you see will depend on where the infection is located and its cause. Some infections, such as fungal infections, can affect several areas of the body at the same time.
  • Vaccination. Fever within 24 to 48 hours after vaccination is not uncommon and is the result of an interaction between the injection and the dog’s immune system.
  • Poisoning. Consuming substances that are toxic to dogs, including macadamia nuts and some antidepressants, can lead to an increase in body temperature.
  • Overheat. This is especially true if the dog has been in the hot sun for a long time or in a small room under the sun. For example, a pet was left locked in a car.

There are times when the cause of a dog’s high fever cannot be determined. Among veterinarians, this condition is called “fever of unknown origin.”

Watch for Symptoms

A change in your dog’s behavior will be the first sign that something is wrong. For example, if the dog is always mobile and does not get up from the bed, this may be an indicator that he has a temperature. Also note if the dog has tremors, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss of appetite. Any combination of these symptoms means it’s time to get your thermometer.

Temperature Measurement

Buy a separate rectal thermometer for your dog and store it in the packaging outside of your home medicine cabinet. Here are some tips on how to measure temperature:

  • Always treat the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly;
  • Measure the temperature of the dog while lying down;
  • Insert the thermometer shallow. As a rule, such models have a special mark;
  • Take out the thermometer carefully after the beep.

If your pet’s temperature is higher than normal, it may be time to see your veterinarian.

What to Do if Your Dog has a Fever

A dog’s temperature rises for the same reasons as in humans: overheating, poisoning or infection. Overheating is easy to exclude. The same with poisoning: the main signal is vomiting or gastrointestinal upset.

If overheating and poisoning are excluded, inflammation and infection must be fought. An infected wound, virus, urinary tract infection, pneumonia are just a few of the many conditions that can cause fever. How to proceed further?

Firstly, if the high temperature lasts more than a day, you need to contact your veterinarian. If this is not done, then the internal organs of the dog may be damaged, which will lead to death. This is a very serious condition that must be closely monitored.

Refrain from giving your dog food, especially medication, without a doctor’s prescription. Offer your dog a drink – the water should be clean, at room temperature. You can also use cool water to cool the fur and skin around the ears and feet to reduce fever. This is a kind of analog of a compress.

Never give animal-human medicine to lower the temperature. For example, plain aspirin is toxic to your pet. Give all medicines strictly according to the doctor’s prescription.

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