Dog fever symptoms are common for dogs because dogs can grow ill just like humans can. But unlike kids, dogs can’t tell you when they feel sick. So, you’ll need to look out for symptoms and unusual behaviors to better understand how your dog is feeling. A fever might sound minor, but symptoms could worsen if not properly cared for. That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry with your canine’s health.
What is Dog Fever?
A dog fever is very similar to fever in humans. It occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises to an abnormal number. While the normal temperature of a human is between 97.6 and 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the average dog temperature is higher at 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
For dogs, anything above 103 degrees could be considered a fever. However, some dogs experience an increase in body temperature if they’ve been out in the sun too long. Also, if your dog is overly excited or stressed, you might see their body temperature increase slightly too.
Be careful not to keep your dog outside in extreme weather conditions for too long and do your best to keep them relaxed as much as you can. If their temperature grows to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, severe or even fatal conditions could occur. So, if your dog seems too stressed or hot, bring them to a more comfortable location as quickly as possible.
Dog Fever Symptoms
There are no set symptoms for a dog fever. You can’t simply feel your dog’s forehead like you would with a human child. Instead, look out for abnormal behaviors and signs of discomfort.
Here are some dog fever symptoms:
- Lack of energy
- Red eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Warm, dry nose
- Warm ears
If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, it’s likely that your dog has a fever. Dogs get fevers for a variety of different reasons, including infections, diseases, poisoning, and reactions to vaccinations. Most fevers will go away after a short period of time, but if the symptoms continue or worsen, it’s best to seek a vet for further examination.
Treatment for Dog Fever
If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it’s a good idea to check their temperature first. The only way to test a dog’s temperature is to use an ear or rectal thermometer. You can find a digital thermometer that’s made specifically for dogs. While using one of these thermometers might be uncomfortable for you and your dog, it’s a good idea to have one just in case. Have a dog first aid kit somewhere in your home so you can be ready for situations like this. The ear thermometer is the less invasive of the two, which is why most dog parents choose it over the rectal thermometer.
Closely monitor your dog’s fever until it goes away. If their temperature goes above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when you should contact your vet. Temperatures closer to 106 degrees should be treated as an emergency because they can damage your dog’s internal organs. Rush them to an emergency vet if their temperature gets too high.
Diagnosing a dog’s fever can be tricky, so make sure to give your vet as much information about your dog as possible. If it’s your regular vet, they should have your dog’s medical history available, but be sure to also alert them of any recent concerns, injuries, or changes in lifestyle. The root of the fever can’t always be determined, but your vet will be able to run the tests they think are necessary. In extreme cases, a vet visit could even save your dog’s life.
Can You Prevent Dog Fever?
Unfortunately, you cannot protect your dog from fevers altogether. But you can help cool your dog down in the event of a fever. A great way to cool your dog down is to apply cool water to their fur, but make sure it’s not ice cold. If the water is too cold, it could bring down their temperature too quickly, causing additional symptoms. So, apply cool water, especially around their ears and feet.
Once your dog’s temperature dips below 103 degrees again, stop applying cool water. It’s also a good idea to encourage your dog to drink water to help cool them down. Don’t force them to drink, but make sure clean water is accessible to them. Again, make sure the water is only cool and not cold because drinking cold water could be too extreme of a change for them.
If you’ve tried cooling your dog down with no success, turn to a professional for help. Never try to give your dog human medications to soothe their fever. Instead, ask your vet for advice and only administer drugs based on their recommendations. Otherwise, you could make their fever worsen without meaning to.
Keep Your Canine Healthy
Some dog health conditions can’t be prevented, but you can help make them easier on your dog. Always be on the lookout for dog fever symptoms so you can care for your sick dog right away. Some fevers are minor concerns, but some could become deadly without proper care. So, don’t be afraid to take your dog to the vet. They could save your dog’s life in the long run.