Can Dogs Get a Fever?
Dogs, like humans, suffer from fevers from time to time. A fever occurs when the canine’s temperature is higher than average.
The typical temperature for a dog varies from about 99.5 degrees to 102.5 degrees. A temperature above 103 degrees is considered an abnormal temperature in canines. If their temperature goes above 106 degrees, it is dangerous for your canine companion, and it can even become fatal.
You need to know the indications of a fever in a dog so that you can bring them to the vet for proper care. If you want to understand whether or not dogs can get a fever, you have come to the right place.
How to Tell if Your Canine Has a High temperature?
Detecting the temperature in your dog can be a challenge. It is essential to know the signs that your pup has a fever so that you can help them get better. Some of the common fever symptoms in a dog include:
Lack of energy
Lack of energy can be a symptom that your dog has a fever. If your typically spunky pooch is sleeping more and not wanting to engage in play, you may want to consult your vet. Lack of energy does not always indicate that your dog has a fever, but it can indicate an underlying health issue. Keep an eye on your pup if they appear overly sluggish for some time.
Lack of appetite is another common symptom of your dog experiencing a spike in body temperature. There are some key ways to tell your pup is no longer interested in food:
- Eating less food than normal
- Not wanting any treats
- Trying to eat but cannot
- Unintended weight loss
Loss of appetite could also be a symptom that your dog has a toothache. If your dog refrains from eating or drinking like normal, you may want to take them to the vet.
If your dog is coughing, they could have a fever. Anytime your dog is coughing, you want to take them to the vet. The coughing might be due to kennel cough, which is communicable to other dogs. There are likely reasons why your pup could be coughing:
- Kennel cough
- Canine influenza
- Fungal infection
- Tracheal collapse
- Congestive heart failure
The most apparent warning of kennel cough is a strong hacking cough that sounds like your dog has something trapped in their throat. Coughing is just one possible symptom your pup has a fever, but it could also be something more serious.
Nasal discharge can be precipitated by a fever. However, there are other reasons your dog could have nasal discharge. If the nasal discharge is clear, your pup may be experiencing seasonal allergies. However, if the discharge is discolored, bloody, or contains pus, it could indicate an infection. Dental problems may also cause nasal discharge.
If your dog’s eyes are red, they may have a fever, especially if the red eyes occur in conjunction with the other symptoms mentioned. Your dog can have dirt or grass in their eyes, making them red. Red eyes could also be due to other various causes:
- Pink eye
Red eyes could also be due to your pup having a foreign object in their eye, glaucoma, or dry eye. If your canine’s eyes are red, the sooner you contact the vet, the better. Conditions like glaucoma can be extremely painful.
You recognize what it is like to have a fever and be uncomfortable. It is not a fun experience. Your dog does not like it either. Shivering is a sign that your dog may have a fever. Some other reasons your pup may be shivering include:
- Your pup being cold
- Stress and anxiety
- Attention seeking from your pup
- Arthritis or joint pain
If your dog is shivering from a fever, it likely means they are too hot. You want to be careful that your pup is not having a seizure and that you are mistaking it for shivering. If you believe your pup has a seizure, get them to the emergency vet immediately.
Warm Dry Nose
If your canine has a warm, dry nose and any of the symptoms mentioned accompanies it, they could have a fever. However, this could be suggestive of dehydration. Make sure your pup gets the hydration they need throughout the day, and always give them access to clean water. If your pup’s ears are excessively warm, it could be an indication that they have a fever.
What Causes a Fever in Dogs?
There are various causes of fever in dogs. If your pup appears to have a fever, you have to take them to the vet for evaluation. Some reasons why a dog has a fever include:
- Infection- When an infection occurs within the body, your dog’s body temperature becomes elevated. An infection could be from bacteria, fungi, or a virus.
- Inflammation- A frequent cause of a fever from inflammation is pancreatitis. It can also result in retching and looseness of the bowels.
- Ingestion of toxins- Certain poisonous substances can cause a fever as the toxins spread through their system.
- Vaccination- The body’s immune system often responds to immunization with a low-grade fever. It can last up to 48 hours after your dog is vaccinated.
- Tick-borne illnesses- Sicknesses like Lyme disease can cause a dog to run a fever. Always check your pup for ticks.
Sometimes the cause of the fever is not clear. This fever of unknown origin can occur with immune system malfunctions, blood and bone marrow syndromes, and cancer.
How Can I Help My Canine With a Fever?
If your dog has a fever greater than 103 degrees, you should take them to their veterinarian. If the fever is up to 106 degrees, you should bring them to the emergency vet. If your pup is suffering from a fever, you can do several things to give them some relief. Initially, you need to give your dog some TLC by gently wiping their paws and ears with a cool, wet washcloth.
You can also try wrapping ice in a towel and placing it on their chest or abdomen. Always keep the air running in your house to keep your dog comfortable. Do not ever give your pup human medications to bring down a fever. Always adhere to your veterinarian’s guidance when taking care of your dog’s fever. Ensure your pup gets enough food, fluid, and rest to recover.
How Do I Take My Dog’s Temperature?
You can make use of a digital thermometer to verify your canine’s temperature. You will get the best reading when you take it from their rectum. Put a bit of petroleum or water-soluble lubricant on the thermometer’s tip.
Lift your pup’s tail up and to the side, and carefully insert the thermometer just about one inch into your canine’s rectum. Have someone hold your dog and pet their head while you do this. If you have difficulty getting a reading, try under your pup’s armpit. The armpit is not as accurate as the rectum, but it will give you an idea of what is happening with your dog.
Dogs can get fevers just like humans. If your dog has a fever, take them to the vet for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
For pups in the Lake City, FL region, Lake City Animal Hospital is here to help! Call us at (386) 755-0236 or make an appointment online today!