The normal body temperature for dogs is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A dog is said to have a fever if his temperature is 102°F (38.9°C) or above.
(Don't know how to take a dog's body temperature? Visit this page to find out.)
Fever is actually a sign that the dog's body immune system is working hard to get rid of whatever bugs there are inside the body. So, if it is not a high temperature (e.g. 103°F or above), it is in fact a good thing since the body itself is fighting off the disease.
If your dog has a slight fever and is otherwise acting normal, you don't need to worry too much. Just observe the dog for a day or two, and make sure that he is hydrated. You may want to use some natural home remedies (see below) to help bring down the fever.
On the other hand, if your dog has prolonged high fever and is showing other illness symptoms, note the symptoms and consult your veterinarian. The fever may be caused by an underlying health issue.
Some dog parents may be tempted to use an OTC fever reducer such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen, aspirin) to lower a dog's fever.
These fever reducers are not intended for use on dogs and can cause potential harmful reactions, such as kidney failure and/or liver failure.
So what can you do if your dog has a fever but no other accompanying symptoms? What can you give the dog for fever?
Here's what you can do:
If your dog has a fever, soak some towels in cool water and place the towels on the dog's belly and under the "armpits". You can also apply cool water to the dog's paw pads.
If you have Peppermint essential oil, add 2-3 drops of the oil to the cool water. Peppermint oil has cooling effects and is great for bringing down a dog's fever.
If you have cold compresses, these can work well too. You can wrap a towel around a cool compress before placing it on your dog if the compress is too cold.
A dog with a fever may not want to eat any food or even drink water. Make sure that the dog is hydrated by making him drink some water frequently. You can also give him an ice cube to lick on.
Homemade soup gives nutrients to a dog with fever, who usually is weak and does not have a good appetite. Soup can boost the dog's immune system, provides fluid to the body and prevents dehydration.
Here is an easy-to-make soup for a feverish dog.
Add a clove of garlic, some vegetables such as carrots and broccoli to organic unsalted chicken stock diluted with water. Boil for 10 minutes or so, and strain off the liquid. Let it cool and add it to your dog's food. (Not sure if garlic is safe for dogs? Be sure to read this page to find out!)
Alternatively, get this healthy and yummy bone broth:
In addition to the above, you may want to give your dog a homeopathic remedy to safely reduce his fever.
Here are some effective remedies that can be used. It is advisable to consult a holistic veterinarian first (many holistic vets give phone consultation) before you start the treatment.
This remedy is good for fever that has come on suddenly with no other accompanying symptoms.
This homeopathic remedy is effective for feverish dogs that are agitated or even aggressive. The animal also feels hot to the touch.
This remedy is good for dogs with low fever that will not go away. However, prolonged use of this remedy is not recommended.
This formula contains homeopathic remedies such as Belladonna and Aconitum and is effective in helping reduce fever and relieve symptoms that indicate an infection (e.g. weakness and lethargy, appetite loss, etc.).
**If the fever does not go away within 12 to 24 hours, visit your veterinarian.**
As fever is an indication that the dog's immune system is working hard to eliminate harmful bugs in his body, herbs and vitamins can be given to the dog to help strengthen his immune system.
It contains echinacea as well as Siberian Ginseng and olive leaf, and is effective in boosting the immune system and fighting off low-grade infections.
Do NOT give Aspirin or other OTC fever reducers for people to dogs.
Take your dog to the vet if he has a high fever, or if he is showing other illness symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, signs of pain, etc.
Slight fever in dogs with no accompanying symptoms can be treated at home with natural remedies and comfort food!