Dogs have higher body temperature than we do. Therefore, even if your dog may feel hot or feverish to you, his body temperature may still be within normal limit.
The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A body temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or above is considered a fever.
Dogs can run a high fever of 104°F (40°C) and sometimes up to 105°F (40.5°C). According to many holistic veterinarians, we need not be alarmed unless the dog body temperature reaches 103°F, since a fever is generally a good sign - read Dog Fever below.
But if your dog's body temperature is elevated due to hot weather, then you need to take quick action to cool down the dog temperature to prevent heat stroke.
How can you tell if your dog is having a fever?
There are various telltale signs. For example, dogs running a fever usually show some of these symptoms:
But of course the only way to find out for certain whether your dog has a fever or not is to take his body temperature.
Here are the steps to follow when taking your dog's body temperature:
Alternatively, if your dog is really uncooperative, you may consider getting a non-contact ear thermometer:
Here are the steps to follow when taking your dog's pulse:
Normally, a dog's pulse is between 70 to 180 beats per minute.
Large dogs have a slower pulse - the larger they are, the slower pulse they have. On the other hand, puppies have a much fast pulse, up to 220 beats per minute.
A faster pulse usually indicates shock or fever; a very weak pulse indicates that you should call the vet immediately!
There are a lot of possible health problems that may cause fever in dogs, such as:
These are just a few examples of problems that could cause a dog's temperature to go up. The bottom line? Always get a proper diagnosis if the dog's fever doesn't go down in a couple of days.
Holistic veterinarians view fever in dogs as a "symptom". It is a sign that the dog's body immune system is working hard to get rid of whatever bugs there are inside the body.
It is important, therefore, that if your dog is running a fever, look for other accompanying symptoms and try to find out the underlying illness causing the fever. If that is difficult, and if your dog's fever does not go away, then it's time to see your veterinarian.
What if your dog has a high fever (e.g. over 103°F) and you are not able to take him to the vet right away?
You need to help to lower the dog's temperature quickly. Splash a bit of tap water on the dog's face, neck, paws, and groin area.
You can then try to continue to reduce the dog's body temperature by using peppermint cold compresses. Peppermint is cooling and is effective in reducing body temperature. Here's what to do:
Be sure to also make your dog drink enough water to prevent dehydration.
Sometimes a dog may develop a fever for no known cause and showing no other accompanying symptoms. In such a case, you may want to use some home remedies and natural ways to help your dog.
For example, using a homeopathic remedy is often recommended to speed up the body's curing process. For more information, visit our page on Fever Remedies For Dogs.