How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever

Are you worried that your dog might have a fever? Do you know how to tell if this is the case? What’s the best method for checking your dog to determine if they have a fever or not?

Understanding canine body temperature is an important part of pet ownership. When you have a dog, you need to be able to recognize when they have a fever or seems like they might. With the help of the information listed in the article below, you can learn the best method for telling whether your dog has a fever and determining when to see a vet, too.

how to tell if dog has a fever

Shivering and Panting

Shivering and panting are some of the first noticeable signs of fever in dogs. A dog who has a fever is likely to develop chills, just like a human with a fever might. Chills will result in shivering or trembling, although it is important to distinguish this type of shivering from seizure-related shaking as well.

Panting occurs when dogs feel too overheated due to fever. Additionally, dogs may pant if they are in pain or feeling nauseated, which both may occur along with fever too. If your dog is shivering and panting, chances are good they are dealing with a fever, so it’s important to figure out what’s causing this problem.

Warm Ears and Nose

Sometimes, you may be able to tell if your dog has a fever by feeling their nose or the insides of their ears. If the nose or ears are very warm to the touch, this could indicate a fever. This is especially true if the insides of their ears are also bright red in appearance.

However, keep in mind that warm ears and a warm nose are not necessarily related to fever in dogs. Your dog could simply just be a little warm, or they could have just woken up from a nap during which their nose or ears were covered up.

Glassy Eyes

Glassy eyes may indicate a fever as well. This symptom is sometimes accompanied with redness of the eyes, but this is not always the case. If your dog’s eyes look glassy, they likely have a fever, but glassiness of the eyes can also indicate pain in some instances too.

Glassy eyes are one of the best ways to tell if your dog has a fever without physically checking their temperature to be sure. This symptom is so closely linked to fever that it is an excellent visual cue.

Lethargy and Loss of Appetite

Dogs may experience lethargy and loss of appetite from a wide range of different health problems and conditions. Fever is just one of the many potential causes of these symptoms, but it is also one of the most common. If your dog is dealing with a fever, they likely won’t feel much like eating or getting up to play.

Lethargy or loss of appetite that last longer than a day should be checked out by your veterinarian. If your dog shows these symptoms but they clear up in a day or less, then there is likely no cause for concern.

How To Check Your Dog’s Temperature

A dog’s normal body temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above 103 degrees Fahrenheit constitutes a fever. If you can check your dog’s temperature with a canine thermometer, this is the best way of telling for sure whether they have a fever.

To check your dog’s temperature, coat the thermometer in petroleum jelly and insert it into the dog’s anus. Keep the thermometer in place long enough for the temperature to register, which should take less than a minute on modern thermometers. Be sure to have a second pair of hands to help hold and distract your dog while taking the temperature.

Do Not Rely on Only Touch

Understand that you cannot tell by touch alone whether your dog has a fever. Dogs naturally feel warm to humans because their normal body temperatures a few degrees higher, so your dog is almost always going to feel hot to you.

If your dog feels exceptionally hotter than normal to the touch, this may give you some indication that they could have a fever. However, you should still use other methods on this list to check, as your dog could just be hot due to weather or activity levels instead.

Talk with Your Heart + Paw Veterinarian

Based on this information, you should have a better idea of canine fevers. With the help of this guide, you should also be able to recognize when your dog has a fever and understand when you may need to take them to the vet about this problem, too.

Keep in mind that fevers are symptoms of a larger problem. No matter what is causing your dog’s fever, it is likely something that needs to be addressed. Many causes of fever can be resolved easily, but some may require additional vet care or medication to take care of.

If your dog has a fever, or if you are unsure, talk with your Heart + Paw veterinarian by calling any of our locations or booking an appointment online.

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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