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July 14

What To Do If Your Dog A Fever

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What to Do If Your Dog Has a Fever

We humans have the ability to express ourselves when we are feeling sick or uncomfortable. But what about your dog? He cannot say he’s not feeling well.

As a dog owner, you need to identify when something is not right with your pet. While 98.60 F is the normal human body temperature, for dogs, temperature up to 102-102.50 F is considered normal.

You need to worry only when the temperature is over 1030 F (approx. 39.40 C)As a responsible dog owner, you should be aware of the symptoms of dog with fever and take immediate measures at home if your dog is down with fever.

A quick vet visit is also recommended.

Reasons for fever in dogs

Fever in dogs is generally due to inflammation or an infection. A rise in body temperature may also be observed when you get your dog vaccinated.

Any bacterial or viral infection that stimulates your pet’s immune system causes fever.

How to tell if a dog has a fever?


Know the normal

First and foremost, you need to know what the normal temperature of your dog is. Make a note of his temperature when he is not sick. You can even get it checked during routine vet visits.

If you know his normal temperature, it won’t be hard to identify when he has fever.

As mentioned earlier, a temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit is ‘dog fever’ and if you observe such a temperature, make some quick moves.

Lethargy

Is your dog feeling tired? Is he not interested to play with you as usual? Well, being lethargic does not always indicate fever but if it continues, maybe your dog is feeling feverish.

Take his temperature using a rectal digital thermometer and if it shows above normal, call your vet right away.

Shivering

If the weather is not cold but your dog is shivering, watch out! First keep him warm and ensure the place around him is dry and hygienic.

If the condition persists, you may need to take him to the vet.

Red Eyes

If you are thinking how to tell if your dog has a fever, this is yet another sign you can examine.

Red eyes can be the result of an eye infection, allergy or irritation but if the symptom is accompanied by the others mentioned here, your dog may have a fever.

Loss of Appetite

If your dog is not eating and drinking like normal, it is better to take an appointment with your vet. Try offering him his favorite treat but if he shows no interest, he may have a potential fever.

Loss of appetite, like other symptoms may not always indicate fever but it is certainly a sign you should not neglect.

Other Symptoms to Watch For

Apart from the symptoms discussed in the aforesaid paragraphs, your dog might also suffer nasal discharge, warm nose, coughing and/or vomiting if he has a fever.

Not all dogs with fever exhibit all these symptoms but these are very common ones you can easily make out.

These symptoms might also be caused due to other medical conditions but if you notice a change in his temperature please do not ignore.

Many a time, temperatures can rapidly rise making fevers extremely difficult to handle. 


After learning how to know if dog has fever, let’s talk about what to do in case a fever is identified.
·       Wet few pieces of clean cloth in water and place them around your dog’s ears and paws. 

This will help reduce your dog’s temperature. Just like humans, dogs feel better when the temperature lowers.


·       You can also get your dog to drink some water. However, be polite and do not force him to drink.

·       Never administer human fever reducing medicines to your pet. Acetaminophen and Tylenol are toxic to dogs.

Medicine for dog fever should be administered by a certified vet after identifying the cause and symptoms.

·       If you have more than one pet and one is sick, isolate the pet with illness from the others. This way, you are protecting the other pets from getting infected.
·       If the fever does not reduce, do not waste more time at home. Take an appointment with the vet and seek appropriate medical care at the right time. Ensure the fever doesn’t return.


Getting your dog diagnosed and on-time treatments can bring good results.

Since your vet already has a detailed medical history of your dog, he will be able to quickly identify the cause of the fever. 

You need to tell him if he recently ingested anything toxic, had a fall or an injury.

After examining your dog, the vet will administer the medicines but if he suspects any other cause and suggests more tests, you need to take it seriously.

Sometimes, the cause of dog fever cannot be identified. Vets call it ‘Fever of Unknown Origin – FUO’.

Treatment for dog fever
·       Treatment largely depends upon the cause of the dog fever. 
Blood tests, ultrasound and radiographs will often be needed to identify the cause precisely. A renowned vet will be able to guide you appropriately.

·       For viral/bacterial/fungal infections, the vet usually prescribes antibiotics/antifungal medicines. 

However, if your dog has fever due to other conditions such as pancreatitis, there is no prescribed treatment.

 Medicines are administered to reduce the symptoms and continued until the severity recedes.

·       If your dog is experiencing higher temperatures due to an autoimmune disease, medication will be required to control the immune system.
·       Fever due to cancer can be treated with chemotherapy/radiation therapy.
During Treatment

Of course, during treatment for your dog with medication, there are a few things to consider as well:

Keep your dog hydrated.

Offer plenty of fresh water in different spots around the house. If your pet refuses to drink, use an eyedropper or turkey baster to squirt water into the side of its mouth.

Minerals become depleted when your pet is dehydrated.

For an added boost, add Pedialyte, an electrolyte solution available from the pharmacy.

Some pets prefer chicken or beef broth, or tuna juice; give them whatever works.

A cool compress is a very safe, easy and inexpensive remedy to consider.

If your pet will tolerate it, apply a cold cloth to her belly. This usually helps as a mild dog fever treatment option.

The exposed skin will result in some fairly rapid cooling, making her feel a little better.

There is a conventional medication that you can use for your dogs.

Aspirin can be safely used in dogs to bring down a fever, subject to a vet's recommendation. 

The Aspirin dose is one 325 mg tablet per 40 lbs of body weight given every 12 hours.

 

You should now be much more aware of the signs and symptoms of fever in dogs; more importantly you should be comfortable taking your pet's temperature seeing if is elevated. 

Fever is a response to disease; common causes include bite wounds and abscess. If your pet is still drinking, then you can use some of the discussed home remedies, such as cold compresses.

Many of you are familiar with some age-old practices followed to identify fever in dogs.

However, it is to be noted here that your diagnosis through such methods may not always be right.

As a dog owner, ensure to keep a digital thermometer handy and if you notice signs of fever in your dog, use the thermometer to be sure. 

You can take some measures at home as suggested above if your dog has fever but is not too lethargic.

However, if you feel his condition is turning bad, visit your vet as soon as possible.


In cases like this, always remember to also get some dog insurance. This can usually help offset some cost if the fever is serious, and warrants a trip to the vet.

 


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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