What is the typical body temperature of your dog? You might be shocked that an average dog’s internal body temperature is higher than yours. This explains why your dog feels so warm and comfortable on chilly nights! Dog owners must understand how to take their dog’s temperature and how to interpret the results.
It would help if you took your dog’s temperature at home occasionally. Knowing how to check your dog’s temperature and having the necessary tools at home can be very helpful in managing your dog’s care, mainly if your dog is older or suffering from a chronic condition. Taking your dog’s temperature can often even save its life.
Recognize what is typical and what is not. Understand what to do if it’s unusual.
What Is the Normal Body Temperature for a Dog?
Dogs typically maintain a body temperature of 101.5 °F, plus or minus 1 °F. You should contact your veterinarian if your dog’s temperature exceeds this range.
How to Check the Temperature of a Dog
Although taking your dog’s temperature at home may sound scary, it is a straightforward procedure that only requires a few simple steps. You can use one type of thermometer inserted rectally and one that goes in the ear. Dogs can’t use non-contact thermometers like you may use on your forehead, and you never want to put a thermometer in a dog’s mouth.
When taking a dog’s temperature, it’s preferable to have two people around so one person can concentrate on the thermometer and the other can keep the dog busy. If this isn’t possible, you can manipulate the thermometer with one hand while giving head strokes and rewards with the other.
Steps for Method 1: Rectal Thermometer
To make the thermometer slip in more quickly, apply a small layer of petroleum jelly or another lubricant with a water base.
Place the thermometer carefully within your dog’s anus. Do not try to push it to glide if it is difficult. The thermometer should only be inserted into the rectum an inch deep.
Leave a traditional thermometer in for one to two minutes if you use one. When ready, a digital thermometer will sound an alert and give you the reading in seconds.
Gently remove the thermometer, then clean it with an antibacterial cleaner.
Steps for Method 2: Ear Thermometer
Lift the dog’s ear flap when sitting or kneeling next to them.
Just the tip of a digital thermometer should be inserted inside your dog’s ear. Praise your dog as you do this.
Hold it with the ear canal of your dog at a 90-degree angle. In a few seconds, the thermometer will provide you with a reading.
A non-digital thermometer typically takes a minute or two to produce a reading, and most dogs won’t tolerate having something inserted in their ear for very long. For this strategy, stick with digital thermometers.
Method 3: Additional Temperature-Taking Techniques
Another approach is to put the thermometer in your dog’s armpit if you’re having trouble getting it in the rectum or ears. Just be aware that this method isn’t nearly as precise as measuring a rectal or ear temperature and that your dog may still be feverish even though their armpit temperature reads normal.
After moving their fur out of the way, place the clean thermometer against your dog’s skin between their chest and front leg (i.e., in their “armpit”).
If using a traditional thermometer, leave it for one to two minutes. If using a digital thermometer, leave it there until it beeps.
When should I check the temperature of my dog?
For the following reasons, take your dog’s temperature:
You should rule out a fever if you believe he is ill and feels warm.
If the dog starts to exhibit symptoms of heat stroke after spending a lot of time outside in the heat, consider taking his temperature.
How to Handle an Unusual Dog’s Temperature
Visit the nearest open vet clinic immediately if your dog’s fever is alarmingly high or low. Get in touch with them for directions. You must consult your vet first to try administering drugs to your dog at home.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are highly harmful to dogs, so never feed them to your pet.
Use hot water bottles to assist your dog in warming up if he has hypothermia (low body temperature). Use electric heating pads only when necessary, and do not leave them on for an extended period. Place a blanket or towel between the heat source and your dog to prevent burns. Ensure that your dog can escape if they become too overheated. Make sure your dog is always being watched.
Give your dog cool water if he has hyperthermia (high body temperature). If your dog is not interested in drinking, don’t make him. Add cloths dipped in cool water to the armpits, the back of the neck, and other trouble spots. And around the groin. Removing the soaking towels will assist your dog cool down by allowing cold air to circulate its sweaty skin.
Never apply ice since it can narrow blood vessels and raise body temperature. Ice may over-cool your dog, which could result in hypothermia.
Any techniques to warm or cool your dog may not always address the underlying issue causing the high body temperature. Still, take your dog to the vet for a checkup.
What Causes Dog Fever?
The causes of fever in dogs are numerous. The most typical causes of a dog’s elevated body temperature are an illness or an inflammation somewhere in the body.
A fever can be brought on by a tooth infection, an infection from a bite wound, a parvovirus, pancreatitis, an immune-mediated illness, or even malignancy. Additionally, being outside in hot weather and experiencing heatstroke can cause a dog’s temperature to become dangerously high. Fever in dogs can also manifest as these symptoms in addition to a high temperature:
- No appetite
- Red, tired eyes
- Runny nose
- Shaking or shivering
- Panting heavily or coughing
- Ears and nose feel warm to the touch
- The nose may be dry
Taking Their Temperature Can Be Part of At-Home Care
Even while it’s simpler to have your dog’s doctor take their temperature, there may be situations when you need to do it yourself. Pregnant dogs and those with persistent medical issues may require routine temperature taking, or you may need to take it urgently. For more advice, inform your veterinarian of any symptoms, including fever.
In conclusion, regularly checking your dog’s body temperature is vital for monitoring its health and detecting potential issues or illnesses. You can efficiently and accurately check your dog’s body temperature at home by following a few simple steps. Here are the key takeaways:
- Select a reliable thermometer: Choose a digital rectal thermometer designed for pets. It is the most accurate method for measuring a dog’s body temperature.
- Prepare your dog: Make sure your dog is calm and comfortable before starting the temperature measurement. Offer treats or praise to help them relax.