A dog’s fever can be a sign of infection or illness, and it’s important to ensure that your pet is healthy and receiving proper medical attention. Knowing the common symptoms of fever will help you to determine if your pup is ill and in need of veterinary care. It’s also important to note that a fever is usually an indication that something is wrong and you should always contact your vet immediately if your pet is exhibiting any signs of a fever.
How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever: Common Symptoms
- Excessively hot or dry nose: An excessively hot or dry nose can be an indication that a dog has a fever. As the body temperature rises, the moisture of the nose can evaporate, causing the nose to become dry. A dog’s nose is usually cool and moist, so any significant temperature change can be a sign of a fever. Additionally, a dog’s temperature can be taken by touching the nose or the region of the front paw between the toes, which can also help to gauge whether the nose is hot or dry due to a fever.
- Dry, uncoordinated gait: A dry, uncoordinated gait can be indicative of fever in dogs. When a dog has a fever, it may have difficulty regulating its body temperature and can exhibit unsteady movement in the limbs. This is often accompanied by trembling and lethargy. The dog may walk more slowly than normal, have difficulty balancing, and may be unable to navigate obstacles due to the lack of coordination. Furthermore, the dog might lose their appetite and appear more fatigued than usual.
- Lethargy and loss of energy: Lethargy and loss of energy are two classic signs of fever in dogs. Dogs with a fever may become less active and choose to sleep far more than normal. They may struggle to keep up with normal activities or become disinterested in them. Additionally, if your dog is experiencing severe lethargy or loss of energy accompanied by other fever symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it’s best to contact your veterinarian right away.
- Loss of appetite: Loss of appetite is a common sign of illness in dogs and can indicate that the animal is not feeling well, which can be a sign of a fever. As their body temperature rises, dogs may become lethargic and refuse to eat. This might be accompanied by visible signs like trembling, panting, and excessive drinking. If you suspect your dog has a fever, check their temperature and contact your vet if it’s above 103°F.
- Fever with a temperature greater than 103-106°F: Fever in dogs is typically defined as a temperature higher than 103-106°F. Dogs can react differently to a fever, just like humans, but some signs of fever in dogs include panting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration. A fever of this magnitude requires prompt veterinary attention, as it can indicate a serious underlying illness and must be taken seriously. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, a high fever can quickly progress to a severe, life-threatening condition.
- Increased thirst: Increased thirst is an indicator of fever in dogs because it is a sign of an inability of the body to regulate its temperature, resulting in dehydration. When a dog has a raised body temperature, it will begin to drink more than normal, since it needs additional hydration to bring its body temperature back to normal. In addition, increased thirst can also be a sign of an infection, which is often a cause of fever in dogs. Therefore, if a dog is exhibiting signs of increased thirst, it is usually a good indication that it may have a fever and should be taken to the vet as soon as possible.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea: Vomiting and/or diarrhea can be a sign of fever in a dog. A dog with a fever may experience an upset stomach and diarrhea or vomiting due to their weakened immune system. As the body increases in temperature, the gastrointestinal tract can become inflamed, causing nausea, abdominal pain, and an inability to keep food down. Additionally, dehydration caused by illness or fever can worsen upset stomach and vomiting. If your dog is vomiting and/or has diarrhea and they seem lethargic or are showing other signs of sickness, they should be taken to the vet for a full examination.
- Discharge from the eyes and/or nose: Discharge from the eyes and nose can often indicate a fever in dogs. Thick and/or yellow/green colored discharge, minimal to no blinking, and gummy eyes or crusting at the corners of the eyes can be early signs of a possible fever. Additionally, clear or white discharge from the nose or excessive sneezing can be an indication that the dog’s temperature is beginning to rise. If a dog shows any of these symptoms, it should be taken to a veterinarian for further examination and treatment.
- Coughing: Coughing can be a sign of fever in dogs, although it is not always an indication of one. Fever is a sign of an infection in the body, and coughing may be a symptom of the infection. A fever is usually indicated when a dog’s temperature rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, if a dog is coughing and has a fever, it is likely that it has an infection and should be seen by a veterinarian.
- Rapid panting or difficulty breathing: Rapid panting or difficulty breathing can be a sign of several health issues, including a fever. When a dog’s body temperature rises, it may start to breathe more rapidly or heavily than usual in an effort to cool down. This rapid breathing could indicate that they are experiencing a fever and potentially other accompanying signs, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and dehydration. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is best to contact your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
What Is a Dog Fever?
Dog fever, also known as pyrexia, is a generic term used to describe an elevation in body temperature, which can be caused by a variety of infectious and non-infectious causes. In dogs, fever is generally defined as a body temperature higher than 103.5°F.
What Causes a Fever in Dogs?
- Infections: These are the most common cause of fever in dogs. Infections can be viral, bacterial, or fungal, and may be limited to a particular organ, such as the lungs, urinary system, gastrointestinal tract, or skin, or may be systemic, affecting the entire body.
- Parasites: parasitic infestations like fleas, ticks, and mites can also cause fever in dogs.
- Medications: Certain medications may cause a fever as a side effect.
- Heatstroke: When a dog is exposed to excessively high temperatures, it can lead to fever.
- Immune-mediated diseases: Certain autoimmune problems that affect the body’s ability to fight infection, such as lupus, can cause fever.
- Cancer: Cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, may cause fever in a dog.
How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever Without A Thermometer
Touch is the best way to check if your dog has a fever without a thermometer. Place the back of your hand on your pet’s nose and check if it is hot and dry. Also, feel your dog’s ears, as a feverish dog may have warm, moist ear flaps. Check for any signs of flushing in the dog’s face as well as for pale gums and tongue, as these are other symptoms of a fever. Look for any signs of lethargy or reduced vitality and watch for a decrease in appetite.
My Dog Feels Hot To Touch
Your dog may feel hot to the touch if their internal body temperature has increased, which may be due to an underlying medical condition, excessive exercise, a hot environment, or a fever. Heatstroke or hyperthermia is a serious risk for dogs, especially those who are prone to over-exertion or are elderly. Therefore, if you notice your dog feels particularly warm to the touch, it’s important to take them to the vet to get checked out as soon as possible.
How To Check Dog Temperature
- Gather your supplies: a digital thermometer (or a regular thermometer with a lubricant, like petroleum jelly or vegetable oil) and a treat.
- Make sure your dog is calm and relaxed. If necessary, give them a few treats to calm them down.
- Lift the dog’s tail and gently insert the thermometer into the rectum. Do not force it in if your dog is resisting.
- Hold the thermometer in place for about a minute, or however long the instructions on the thermometer say.
- Remove the thermometer and check the temperature.
- The normal temperature for a dog is about 99 to 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s higher, then your dog likely has a fever and should be taken to the vet.
How to Comfort a Dog With a Fever
- Make sure your dog has plenty of rest and is kept away from other animals. A dog with a fever needs to avoid physical activity and should have a quiet, comfortable environment.
- Offer your dog lukewarm fluids, such as water or a low-sodium chicken broth. This will help to prevent dehydration, which can be a serious complication of a fever.
- Place a cool, damp cloth on your dog’s tummy, chest, or between the legs, to help reduce the fever. Make sure the cloth is not too cold, as the sudden change in temperature could cause shock.
- Give your dog over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen, as directed by your veterinarian. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions carefully, as giving too much medication can be dangerous.
- Keep an eye on your dog’s temperature. Monitor your pet’s temperature at least twice a day. If the fever persists, contact your veterinarian for further advice.
How Are Dog Fevers Treated?
Treating a dog fever is similar to treating a fever in a human. Treatment involves relieving the symptoms until the cause of the fever can be identified and resolved. This can include using a cool, damp cloth to cool the dog’s body temperature, providing the dog with plenty of fluids, providing the dog with some rest, and administering medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce fever and inflammation. In some cases, antibiotics may also be prescribed.
Dog Fever Medicine
The best medicine for treating dog fever depends on the underlying cause for the fever. Generally, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections that can lead to fever, while NSAIDs such as carprofen or meloxicam are used to reduce fever caused by inflammation. In some cases, antipyretics like acetaminophen can be used to reduce a fever.
Dog Fever Treatment at Home
- Increase fluid intake: Fever increases the body’s water needs, so make sure your dog has fresh drinking water at all times.
- Monitor their temperature: Use a rectal thermometer to take the temperature of your dog in order to see how high the fever is.
- Cool your dog: Pack a washcloth in cool (not cold) water and apply it to your dog’s head, paws, and body to help bring down the fever.
- Keep them comfortable: Give your pup a place to rest and keep them as comfortable as possible to help reduce their temperature.
- Seek veterinary help: If your dog’s fever persists or increases, get to the vet as soon as possible.
When Should You See A Vet About A Dog’s Fever?
It is important to seek veterinary care immediately if your dog is running a fever. A fever in a dog can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition and should not be taken lightly. For temperatures over 103°F (39°C), it is recommended to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Q. How do I know my dog has a fever?
A. You can tell if your dog has a fever by feeling for any warmth in its ears, nose, and paw pads, and by taking its rectal temperature with a thermometer.
Q. How can I check my dog’s fever at home?
A. You can check your dog’s temperature at home using a digital rectal thermometer. It’s important that you sanitize the thermometer before and after using it. You can also use an infrared ear thermometer made specifically to take the temperature of a dog’s ear.
Q. Can you tell if your dog has a fever by feeling his head?
A. No, you cannot tell if your dog has a fever by feeling his head. You can tell if your dog is running a fever by taking his temperature with a rectal thermometer.
Q. How can you tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer?
A. Signs of a fever in a dog can include dry or reddened nose, panting, warm ears, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and dehydration.
Q. What is a normal temperature for a dog and what temperature is a dog fever?
A. A normal temperature for a dog is between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog fever is any temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. How long should your dog’s fever last?
A. A dog’s fever should typically last no more than 24 to 48 hours.
Q. What Is a Dog’s Normal Temperature?
A. A dog’s normal temperature is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F.
If a dog has a fever, it’s important to seek veterinary attention immediately. The most common symptoms of fever in dogs include increased body temperature, lethargy, loss of interest in food, frequent drinking, panting, decreased appetite, and dehydration. When in doubt, contact your vet to get a proper diagnosis. A fever is the body’s response to illness or infection, and while it may not seem like a big deal, it can indicate a serious underlying condition. Knowing the signs of a fever in your dog can help catch issues early and get your pup the treatment they need.