Many dog owners may be familiar with the method of checking a dog’s nose to determine if they have a fever. This method implies that a cold and wet nose means that a dog is okay, while a dry and hot nose implies that they most likely have a fever. However, there are some cases of dog fever that cannot be accurately detected using the nose test in itself, warranting a more accurate way to find out.
Dog’s Normal Body Temperature
According to research, the normal temperature range of dogs is higher than that of humans. For dogs, the normal range is 99.5 - 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the normal range for humans is between 97.6 - 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that we are aware of the normal temperature for dogs, let's get to know more about the signs and symptoms of a fever in dogs and how we can take our dog’s temperature accurately.
- Can Dogs Get Colds?
- Dog Cold Symptoms
- What Causes Colds in Dogs?
- How to Treat a Dog Cold: How the Vets Do It
- What Can I Give My Dog for a Cold?
- How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting a Cold
- Emergency Fund
How To Know If Your Dog Has a Fever?
Unlike humans, dogs cannot tell us in words if they are feeling feverish. Because of this, it is essential for us dog owners to be aware of the symptoms of a fever in order to address it early on. Among the common symptoms are:
- Warm ears;
- Red eyes;
- Dry and warm nose;
- Loss of appetite;
- Nasal discharge;
How To Take Your Dog’s Temperature
While the nose test may give us a clue, taking our dog’s rectal temperature will accurately tell us our dog’s temperature. Note that thermometers that are designed to be used for human ears may not work the same way for dogs. A rectal digital thermometer or an ear thermometer for pets may be used instead.
The first step in taking your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer is to apply a coating of lubrication such as petroleum jelly or baby oil to the thermometer. After doing this, insert the thermometer gently for about an inch into the anus of your dog and wait. Usually, rectal pet thermometers take 60 seconds to read your dog’s temperature. As soon as you get results, remove the thermometer from your dog’s anus.
This thermometer is less invasive yet is still reliable. What it measures are the infrared heat waves that are emitted around your dog’s eardrum. Usually, this type of thermometer is more costly. However, it may be more comfortable for your dog since it isn’t invasive. Remember to follow the instructions for using the thermometer. Also, keep away from glass thermometers.
What Causes Fever in Dogs?
A dog may develop a fever when they get an infection or inflammation as their body tries to fight it. Among the causes, which may either be internal or external, are:
- Ear infection;
- Infected cut, scratch, or bite;
- Tooth infection / abscessed tooth;
- Ongoing viral or bacterial disease;
- Urinary tract infection (UTI);
- Infection in the organs such as the lungs or kidneys;
- Toxin ingestion (antifreeze, human medications, toxic plants, human foods that are toxic to dogs) - If you suspect your dog of being exposed/having ingested a toxic substance, call the Pet Poison Hotline immediately.
- Vaccinations - After getting vaccinated, it isn’t unusual for dogs and humans alike to experience a slight fever within 24-48 hours. Most of the time, this is just normal and goes away in a day or two. However, close monitoring is still recommended to make sure that the fever goes away and won’t be a cause for concern.
How to Reduce a Dog’s Fever?
In order to help reduce your dog’s fever, what you can do first is to put cool water around their ears and paws. You can soak a towel with the cool water, or you may use a dog cooling vest. In the process, keep on monitoring your dog’s temperature to check if it decreases.
When their temperature goes below 103 degrees Fahrenheit, you may stop the application of cool water. After this, try to encourage your dog to drink water. These are some of the ways how to comfort a dog with a fever.
Even if your dog’s temperature decreases, continue to monitor it to make sure that their fever doesn't come back. If they show other symptoms, it’s best to consult with a vet to determine the best way to address the fever. Remember not to give your dog any kind of human medication or other medications without your vet’s prescription, as this may cause your dog harm.
When To Go To a Vet & When is it an Emergency?
When your dog has a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it means that they have a fever. If so, it’s important to bring your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis. Note that a temperature of 106 degrees or more may cause damage to your dog’s internal organs and can thus be deadly, so it is best to be safe than sorry.
When at the vet, note that you must be prepared to relay your observations regarding your dog. While your vet most likely has a medical history record of your dog, they would also need to know if something has happened to your dog recently (ex., ingestion of toxins, physical injuries, insect bites, among others) as well as when you first noticed that your dog has a fever. This will help your vet determine the underlying cause of your dog’s fever.
There are also cases when the cause of a dog’s fever cannot be determined. This is what vets have termed as FUO or Fever of Unknown Origin.
Remember that it is important to know when your dog is exhibiting symptoms of a fever as well as other illnesses. With this, having a product that would help you monitor your dog would be a big help. A great example of this is the interactive pet camera, an affordable smart HD pet camera with a 24/7 online vet service. With its features and services, you get to look out for your dog and know when anything’s amiss.
There are cases when a fever in a dog is a cause for emergency. In pet emergencies such as that, it helps to have the assurance that you can pay your dog’s unexpected veterinary bills and be able to consult with a certified veterinarian about your dog’s condition along the way. Thankfully, there are services such as Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund that provide all that and more.
With Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund, you get $3000 for pet emergencies up to 6 pets. There are also no restrictions. Dogs and cats are covered, regardless of age, breed, or medical history. Direct payment at the time of emergency is also made, avoiding the headache of difficult claims.
What is valley fever in dogs?
Valley fever is a condition that can be caught by dogs upon being infected by a fungus that can be found in the desert soil in the Southwestern U.S. Areas where dogs may contract the virus are in the low desert regions of: New Mexico, Arizona, Southwestern Texas, and central deserts in California.
Upon inhaling the fungal spores, they grow into spherules that continuously become bigger until they explode, resulting in hundreds of endospores. Each of these endospores can mature into a new spherule, allowing the infection to spread in the lungs til they are destroyed by the dog’s immune system.
Valley fever in dogs happens when a dog’s immune system isn’t able to destroy spherules and endospores right away, causing it to spread in the lungs and, in some cases, around the dog’s body.
What are the valley fever symptoms in dogs?
Valley fever may show symptoms depending on the form it takes. The two main forms and their symptoms are:
Primary disease - This is limited to the lungs. It shows symptoms such as: a fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and persistent dry cough. These signs usually show three weeks after infection. However, the infection can stay dormant in a dog’s body for up to 3 years before signs show.
Disseminated disease - This form is when the fungus is spread in different parts of a dog’s body. Since the joints and bones are often infected, a common symptom is lameness. Among other possible signs are depression/lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, blindness (in some cases), and a seizure (a rare case when the fungus has infected the brain).
Are there natural remedies for valley fever in dogs?
While there may be some natural remedies to help relieve some symptoms of valley fever, it is important to consult with your veterinarian first before giving anything.
What is milk fever in dogs?
Also known as puerperal tetany or eclampsia, milk fever happens when there is a low amount of blood calcium when a female dog gives birth. Milk fever may occur 2-4 weeks upon whelping but may also happen during the last weeks of a dog’s gestation of pregnancy.
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