Normal Dog Temperature
and Dog Fever

Do you know what the normal dog body temperature is? Read on and find out. This page also shows you how to take a dog's temperature as well as a dog's pulse. It tells you when a dog is considered to have a fever, and the implications of fever from a holistic point of view.

How to Take Dog Temperature and Pulse 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.

Taking a Dog's Body Temperature

Dogs running a fever usually are lethargic, depressed, and may suffer from a loss of appetite. 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:

  • Use a digital thermometer. DO NOT use a mercury thermometer to take dog temperature because if the thermometer happens to be sucked all the way into the rectum, it can break and the mercury can of course be very harmful to the dog.
  • Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly.
  • If you have a big dog, do ask someone to restrain your dog by holding the front part of the dog's body.
  • Insert the thermometer slowly and carefully about one inch into the rectum. Gently hold the thermometer in place and wait till it beeps.
  • Gently slide the thermometer out and read the temperature.

Alternatively, if your dog is really uncooperative, you may consider getting a non-contact ear thermometer like this one:

Taking a Dog's Pulse

Here are the steps to follow when taking your dog's pulse:

  • Use your index and middle fingers to feel inside of your dog's hind leg just below the point where it joins the body (the femoral artery resides there).
  • A pulse occurs with every heart beat. You can count how many beats you feel in 15 seconds and then multiply it by 4. That will give you the 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!

Fever in Dogs

Dog Temperature and Dog Fever Dog fever is generally regarded by conventional veterinarians as a kind of "disease" - an infection - and they do not hesitate to use medicines such as antibiotics to "treat" the infection.

This way of dealing with fever is not curative, because by using strong drugs to lower the dog's body temperature, the vets are just suppressing the "symptom" and are not tackling the real underlying health problem that is causing the fever in the first place.

Holistic veterinarians view dog fever as it is - a "symptom". It is a sign (usually a good one) 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 consult your veterinarian.

What Causes Fever in Dogs?

There are a lot of possible health problems that may cause fever in dogs, such as bacterial or viral infections, like canine flu, distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, urinary tract infections, etc.

Tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease can be another culprit.

More seriously, sometimes dogs with certain type of cancer could also have a fever.

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.

Fever with No Other Symptoms

If your dog has a fever but no other accompanying symptoms, 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.

Dog Lying Down