Fever is a condition in which the set point of a dog’s body temperature is displaced. Dogs have a higher normal body temperature than humans. Their body temperature varies from 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit and anything around 101.5 degrees is ideal. In fever, the temperature is raised a bit. This can happen when a dog’s body is trying to fight off an infection. The infection can be of any type like bacterial, viral or fungal, and it can affect any organ like the kidney, lungs, etc. So, fever is the response to the foreign infectious agent which is trying to cause disease in your dog.
Sometimes your dog’s body temperature increases if they have been in hot conditions like under direct sunlight for a long time. Stress or anxiety can also increase a dog’s body temperature, and it can be mistaken for fever. This kind of increase in body temperature gets cooled down in some time on its own.
It is easy to tell if there is something wrong with your dog if he has a fever because signs are easy to notice. But it’s challenging to determine the cause of the fever or what should you do if your dog has a fever. In this article, we will describe everything, including the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of dog fever.
A dog can have fever due to several reasons. Most commonly, fever is an indication of some other infection or illness. A few of the conditions in which fever occurs are described below:
Bacterial or viral infections are the most common cause of fever in dogs. Body temperature is raised when the immune system of dogs is fighting against these pathogens to protect their body from any illness.
Your dog will get a fever if he is suffering from a cold or flu.
Dog fever can also be caused by external reasons like any bites, scratches, injury, or open wound.
Urinary tract infection causes high fever in dogs as there can be certain bacteria in their urinary tract.
Vaccination can also cause fever in dogs. Low-grade fever occurs after vaccination as the immune system interacts with the vaccine.
Fever due to fungal infection can also occur, but it is less common than other causes.
Tooth infection or abscessed tooth can also increase the body temperature of a dog, causing dog fever.
Ingestion of toxic material increases the body temperature. There are certain substances or foods that can be toxic for dogs.
If you cannot find the cause of fever from those mentioned above and the fever keeps coming back after some days, then the condition is called a “fever of unknown cause” in dogs. The reason behind this can be any underlying infection, bone marrow disorders, or cancer. This can only be determined by your vet after taking the complete history of your dog’s health and after running some tests.
Signs and symptoms
Fever is not a disease itself, but actually, it is a sign of certain infections or illnesses going on in the dog’s body. But you can see some symptoms which can tell if your dog has a fever.
- Low energy
- Depressed mood
- Panting without physical activity
- Red eyes
- Warm ears
- Runny nose
For the diagnosis of fever, you should always keep a dog thermometer in your house. There is a special thermometer available in the market known as a rectal thermometer for dogs. Many advanced digital thermometers are also available. The best option is to use a rectal thermometer to measure dog fever.
How to take the temperature using a rectal thermometer?
- Moisten the tip of the thermometer with Vaseline, coconut oil, or baby oil.
- Insert the thermometer 1 inch in their anus slowly and gently.
- Wait for 1 minute. Usually, you will get the reading after 30-60 seconds.
- You can note down the temperature you get.
- Make sure your dog is calm during the procedure.
- If the temperature is higher than normal for dogs, then your dog has a fever.
If you don’t have the thermometer, you can feel your dog’s paws and ears. You can also check your dog’s nose for abnormal nasal discharge. Also, if your dog’s groin or armpits are warmer than usual, this may be due to fever. If you suspect fever, take your dog to the vet for proper examination.
Treatment varies depending upon the cause of the fever. If your dog has a fever of 103 degrees, you can try to control it at home by cooling his body down.
- You can soak a piece of cloth in cold water and rub it on your dog’s head and ears. You can rub a cloth dipped in alcohol under their paws as well.
- Make sure your dog is drinking enough water and staying hydrated.
- If the fever is more than 104 and your dog is showing some serious symptoms like vomiting or excessive panting, take your dog to the vet immediately.
- If the dog fever is due to any bacterial infection, your vet will recommend some antibiotics. It will help fight their body against the infection, and the fever will come down to normal after the dog has beaten the infection.
- You should measure their body temperature after regular intervals if they have a fever. Measure body temperature twice or thrice a day
- Do not give any human medications to your dog.
- Dog fever usually lasts 2-4 days with medication and proper care. If the problem persists after 4-5 days of medication, it is recommended to visit your vet again.
You can take some preventive measures to ensure the good health of your dog and prevent him from getting a fever.
- Cleaning the environment of the dog, including their food bowls and toys, regularly will lessen the chances of bacterial infections and consequent fevers.
- Do not let them interact with other dogs freely; they can get viral or fungal infections easily.
- Do not feed toxic foods or random plants to your dog, especially when they are on a walk at a park or countryside.
- Do not let your dog eat your medications. Keep your medicines away from their approach always.