How do you take a dog’s temperature? The Ultimate Guide

What Is a Dog’s Normal Body Temperature?

The normal body temperature of dogs is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit plus or minus 1 degree. If your dogs temperature is outside of this range, you should contact your veterinarian.

Body temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit or under 99 degrees Fahrenheit indicates an emergency situation. Extremely high or low body temperatures can lead to death if not treated immediately.

What To Do If Your Dog’s Temperature is Abnormal

If your dogs temperature is dangerously high or low, go to the nearest open veterinarian immediately. If possible, contact them for advice on the way. Do not attempt to give medications to your dog at home without your vets advice.

Never give your dog over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen as these are highly toxic for dogs.

If your dog has hypothermia (low body temperature), you may wish to use hot water bottles to help warm him up. Only use electric heating pads on the lowest setting and do not leave them on for too long. Make sure to use blankets or towels in between the heat source and your dog to avoid burns. Make sure your dog can get away from them if they get too hot. Be sure someone is supervising your dog at all times.

If your dog has hyperthermia (high body temperature), offer him cool water to drink. Dont force your dog to drink if he is not interested. You can also use towels soaked with cool water over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region. Dont leave the soaked towels in place; letting cool air circulate around your dogs damp skin helps with cooling.

Never use ice as it can constrict blood vessels, causing the temperature to keep rising. Ice may also over-cool your dog, leading to hypothermia.

Any methods to cool or warm your dog do not necessarily resolve the cause of the abnormal body temperature. Be sure to still bring your dog to a vet for an examination.

What Are the Signs of Fever in Dogs?

Your dog can’t tell you when he has a fever, so you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms that can indicate its presence.

Here are the most common signs:

  • Red eyes
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Warm ears
  • Warm, dry nose
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
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    It can be a challenge to know for sure whether or not your dog has a fever. Here, our Johns Creek veterinary team explains to you how to detect a fever in your dog, what could be causing it, its associated symptoms and what to do if your dog has a fever.