Seeing your dog looking lethargic and knowing he is not feeling well is one of the worst feelings for a pet owner. Fevers are not an uncommon occurrence in both animals and humans and are often symptomatic of an underlying condition.
Before deciding on a course of action first confirm that your dog is running a fever. A dog’s normal temperature ranges between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. You may try the old-time gauge, touch his nose to see if it is hot and dry. A hot and dry nose is an indication your dog may have a fever. It is not enough to denote the presence of fever but it is a helpful starting point. A healthy dog’s nose is wet and cold.
Dog fever often goes unrecognized or undetected. There are common symptoms of a fever you should be aware of.
lethargy/ lack of energy
warm, dry nose
shivering in a warm environment
loss of appetite
Dogs may develop a fever in an attempt to ward off infection or inflammation from a variety of different conditions either internal or external.
Causes of Fever
Infection and Inflammation including:
infected bite, scratch or cut
urinary tract infection (UTI)
infected or abscessed tooth
bacterial or viral disease
infection or organs, kidney or lungs
Ingestion of Poisonous Material
toxic human foods like xylitol
Vaccinations 24 to 48 hours after
To confirm if your dog is running a fever use a digital dog thermometer. After lubricating the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly or baby oil, insert it 1 inch into the anus and wait until it beeps. For temperatures over 103 degrees call your vet. A temperature of 106 degrees is critical and can cause seizures or organ shutdown. It can be fatal and is a medical emergency.
You can bring down your dog’s body temperature by placing cool wet rags on his ears and bottom of feet. The tummy is another area you can place cool wet rags to help bring down fever. Monitor his temperature and stop applying the wet rags when his temperature reaches 103 degrees. Encourage your dog to drink water so he does not become dehydrated. You should never give human medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen as these can be toxic to dogs.
Your vet will need a medical history, a list of your dogs symptoms, any medications he is on, recent events and any allergies. Some fevers are of unknown origin and may require lab tests to determine the underlying condition or infection.