If you have a dog, you may have a fever at some time as it happens to people.
However, a dog cannot manifest that he feels unwell or that something is not right in his body, therefore, knowing that something is wrong with him will only depend on his adopter.
For that reason, adopters should always be attentive to the normal behavior of the dog.
For example, if the dog normally runs and does not stop playing, but one day it does not wake up so lively, something definitely happens to him and that could be that he has a fever.
What is fever?
It involves raising the normal body temperature.
Fever is an immune response that may indicate the presence of an infection or inflammation.
Fever is an excellent mechanism that the body uses to defend itself.
In short, it is a reaction of the immune system that benefits the dog if it has any disease.
What is the normal temperature a dog should have?
Dogs have a normal temperature of 38 ° C, or maximum reach up to 38.8 ° C.
If those degrees are exceeded, it means that there is a presence of fever.
It is very important to control the fever because it can be severe or even fatal for dogs if it reaches 41 ° C or exceeds.
If the case arises, it is important to take the dog to the veterinarian.
You must act very quickly to avoid complications that may be irreversible.
The normal thing is that the dogs have an approximate temperature to the aforementioned.
However, not all dogs are the same, because some may have different temperatures considered normal, however, that can only be determined by the veterinarian.
Dogs, depending on their size and other factors, may have a different temperature than other dogs.
But to establish a referential measure, normal is considered to be between 38 and 38.8 ° C.
When the temperature is higher than that limit, it is time to say that the dog has a fever.
Symptoms: how to recognize that a dog has a fever?
To recognize if a dog has a fever, the first thing is to know what its normal temperature is.
Remember that in each dog its temperature may be different. When that happens, that the temperature is higher than normal, you should be alert to the presence of other symptoms.
When measuring the temperature, if the adopter is not sure of the presence of fever, it is best to call the veterinarian, indicate the degrees of fever the dog and if he has other symptoms.
That way, the veterinarian will be able to confirm or not the presence of the fever and how it should act for the dog to improve.
If there is a suspicion that the dog has a fever, it could also have the presence of other symptoms apart from having a high temperature.
Some of those symptoms are:
- Manifests apathetic behavior and / or drowsiness.
- No appetite.
- Manifest to be very thirsty or more than normal.
- Nasal secretions
- Increased breathing
- incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Runny nose.
- Watery eyes
Important note: The only way to know if a dog has a fever or not is to measure the temperature with the digital rectal thermometer.
If the adopter does not know how to do it, the veterinarian will be in charge of telling you how it is done correctly.
Some people do not measure the temperature of their dogs, but rely on touching their nose to know if it is hot or dry, however, this method is not reliable at all.
Main causes of fever in dogs
There are many causes for which a dog could present an increase in the temperature of its body although it is always better to go to the veterinarian to really determine the reason for the fever.
The dog should never be self-medicated.
Some causes of fever in dogs are:
- Inflammatory diseases
- Infections, as well as: fungi, viruses or bacteria.
- That the dog takes a toxic substance (If the dog consumes or ingests any toxic substance, it is most likely to have a fever).
- Very hot or the so-called heat stroke.
- Other diseases of unknown origin. When so, it may be due to a problem with the bone marrow, immune system disorders, other infections or cancer.
- Presence of internal or external parasites.
Infections In dogs they can be for many causes, from bacteria to viruses and can be formed or developed in any part of the body.
Another possible cause of fever in dogs, are effects of vaccines or of some vaccines.
After vaccinating a dog, he is likely to have a fever a few hours later.
If the dog has a fever between 24 and 48 hours after vaccination, it is most likely a reaction between his immune system and the vaccine.
Of course, it is always important to have the diagnosis of the veterinarian who is the specialist trained to determine if a dog actually has a fever or not and its possible causes.
How to take a dog's temperature with the thermometer step by step
To measure the temperature of a dog and make the result as reliable as possible, take it from the rectum.
For this you will need a rectal thermometer.
However, before measuring it, it is important to consider the following to do it well and that the dog does not feel so much discomfort.
- The dog must be relaxed and for this he needs caresses and affection.
- Have the thermometer, preferably a digital one. They are faster.
- Be sure to put petroleum jelly or some lubricant on the thermometer, this will make it less awkward when you place it.
- It is best to have the help of another person who also pet the dog. It is necessary that the dog stays relaxed and does not move during the process.
- When the dog is calm, the thermometer must be carefully inserted into its rectum.
- Then, it is necessary to wait a little until the thermometer sounds, but if it does not sound, it should wait about two minutes for the temperature to be more exact.
- At the end of the time, the thermometer is removed and the temperature is checked.
- Important to disinfect the thermometer with alcohol after use.
Note: The procedure to place the thermometer is simple, but always with help to make everything easier for the adopter and the dog.
Of course, the most advisable thing is that it is the veterinarian who is responsible for measuring it in the best way.
How is a dog's body temperature measured without using a thermometer?
The most accurate way to measure the body temperature of dogs is with a digital thermometer used in the rectum, which is designed for this purpose.
It should not be done with the same thermometer that people use, since they do not give reliable and hygienic results.
Most adopters do not have a thermometer for their pets and cannot distinguish whether or not they have a fever.
In that sense, some experts recommend petting the dog to know its body heat, so the adopter gets used to the usual temperature, that is, to its normal temperature.
If at any time you feel that temperature rises a little, you may have a fever, in addition to other symptoms, however it is best to have the thermometer.
Other ways to recognize that a dog has a fever without using the thermometer are:
Some parts of the dog's body can help indicate that there is an increase in its body temperature, as well as its ears and paws. If they are very hot, it is most likely.
If the dog's mouth dries, this could be a sign that he has a fever. To recognize it better, your gums should be observed and if they are pale or dry, it may be a sign of fever.
If the nose is hot or has some type of green or yellow discharge, you may have a fever, however, if it is dry, you do not have it.
They are quite sensitive parts and it is normal that they are not hot. Therefore, if they are, it might be that the temperature is high.
Factors that influence a dog's normal body temperature
It is important to know that the normal temperature of a dog can vary a bit.
Some of those factors that can influence are.
- Healthy adult dog
- Puppy dogs: the most common is that their normal temperature is lower than the average of adult dogs. The normal thing is that they are between 34.4 and 36.1ºC, the first weeks. When they pass the first month of life, the temperature should rise to approximately 37.5 ° C.
- Pregnant bitches at the time of having their puppies, their temperature may change, but during pregnancy it will be normal to have approximately 37 ° C.
How to lower a dog's high temperature?
The first step is to check how high the fever is that the dog presents, because, if it is mild or moderate, it is best not to try to lower it since it fulfills a defensive function in its body.
When dogs have a fever it is not recommended that you try to drastically lower that temperature because that could be worse for your health.
Given this, it is best to place wet cloths on the armpits, abdomen and English.
Then watch them at all times to see their evolution.
Of course, if other symptoms such as those exposed before appear or the dog looks strange or different, you should not wait to act.
The adopter must know how to differentiate a mild fever process or if its temperature is too high to be able to act immediately, together with the veterinarian.
If the dog has a slightly high fever, you should make sure:
- Keep it well hydrated, but do not drink much water at once, but gradually.
- Eat well.
- The paws and ears of a dog are important for its temperature. They can get wet or the dog is in a cool place with air, but moderate.
- Observe it for a maximum of two days, to prevent it from getting worse.
Note: If 2 or 3 days pass without improvement and, instead, the fever begins to increase, the visit with the veterinarian will be justified.
What should not be done if a dog has a fever?
When a dog has a fever, your adopter will want to do everything possible so that your dog feels well soon.
However, there are certain things that should not be done if the dog has a fever.
- Do not bathe them with cold water or ice, since this can cause a temperature shock and make them worse.
- Do not give them the medications that humans take. It will be nothing beneficial and could be worse. Many have recommended that at that time they be given paracetamol, but this could poison the dog.
Is it serious that dogs have high body temperature?
The most normal is that, when a dog has a fever, it is a response of its organism to a certain infection.
It can also be a response to an injury or to the accumulation of toxins.
When the temperature rises, the immune system is more effective, and this makes the fever a system that fights diseases so it should not mean something serious for the dog.
However, you should always consult your doctor before making any decision that could harm the dog.
Note: If your dog has never had a fever, it is important to know what its normal temperature is.
If at any time the dog has a fever, it will be much easier to identify and act on time, in case it is very high.
If the adopter does not know how to measure the temperature of the dog, he should go to the veterinarian to find out what the normal temperature is and clarify any doubts he may have about it.