Before you take your dog to the vet, read on to find out how to tell if dog has fever without thermometer.
Our furry friends are also prone to fever as a symptom of the activation of their antibodies due to the presence of an infection or a more serious pathology. In dogs, the fever occurs when it exceeds 38 and 39°C, so if you see it weak, measure it with the special rectal thermometer for your pet.
But if you do not have this device at home, you can feel and check that it is warmer than usual in its ears, abdominal cavities or in its legs. When verifying this symptom, try to lower it or take it to the vet as an emergency.
- 1 What is the Body Temperature of Dogs?
- 2 Symptoms of Fever in Dogs
- 3 Hypothermia – What It Is and Why It Matters
- 4 How to Lower the Fever?
- 5 How to Take the Temperature Properly?
- 6 How to Tell if Dog has Fever Without Thermometer?
- 7 Causes of Fever in Dogs
- 8 How to Treat Dog with Fever
- 9 Giving Your Dog a Healthy Life
- 10 Preventing Your Dog from Getting a Fever
What is the Body Temperature of Dogs?
In our pets, body temperatures are usually higher than in humans. That is, they usually measure between 38 and 39°C, which can vary due to environmental conditions. If you notice that he is weak and that his behavior has changed, it is possible that he is sick. Measure his temperature; if it's 41°C, it's an emergency.
It must be taken into account that there are cases in which dogs suffer from imbalances in the thermostat of their metabolism because they are puppies, have reached adulthood, the bitches are close to giving birth or are in heat, or because they suffer from hormonal instability. But what to do if you don't have a thermometer at home?
Symptoms of Fever in Dogs
Read the body language and behavior of your dog in order to detect if something is wrong with him. Some symptoms of fever include:
- His nose is hot and dry.
- He sleeps more than he usually does.
- He suffers from vomiting and diarrhea.
- He gasps more than necessary.
- He has watery eyes and a sad look.
- Is listless or reacts aggressively.
There are areas in the body where it is easier to check the condition of the blood vessels, which indicates if there has been a dangerous rise in temperature. These are the prints of its paws, ears, stomach, armpits and inguinal region. Touch them carefully and feel if it is warmer.
You can also check to see if his gums are swollen and if his nose is passing mucus. Remember that fever is not a disease, but a defense mechanism of the body that indicates that something in their metabolism is not working in a healthy way, that they have been attacked by an infection, or that they are suffering from a hormonal ailment.
There are other symptoms that indicate to the veterinarian what his possible disease is such as accelerated heart rate, dehydration and other signs, which depend on the breed of the animal.
Hypothermia – What It Is and Why It Matters
Not only the temperature above the average is dangerous, but also the one that is presented below. In dogs, temperatures below 37 and up to 35°C indicate hypothermia.
Another symptom that accompanies this condition is slow breathing, a decreased heart rate, stiff muscles, lethargy and tremors throughout the body. Your pet feels extreme cold due to weather conditions or imbalances due to pathologies such as infections, cancer or neurological ailments.
If hypothermia persists after wrapping him up, take him as an emergency. The vet may give him an IV drip or enemas.
How to Lower the Fever?
One of the most common medical treatments is paracetamol, which is prescribed in lower doses compared to what humans ingest since an overdose can be fatal for your pet. In general, the recommended dose is the minimum, 15 mg per kilo of the animal. However, if you notice that his temperature does not drop, consult with the specialist.
When dogs have a fever, their appetite decreases. To counteract this, it is preferable that you feed them fresh water and liquid foods such as vegetable or chicken broths (without salt, garlic or onion) to relieve it.
It is important that you hydrate your dog. Keep his container with fresh water; if he does not want to drink, you can give it in small doses with the help of a syringe without a needle.
In turn, wrap him with a blanket and you can pass a cloth dampened with hot water over his legs, abdomen, armpits and groin and check every 15 minutes if there is a decrease in temperature. After doing this, dry with a clean towel or blow dryer to avoid colds or hypothermia.
How to Take the Temperature Properly?
The appropriate thermometers for dogs are the models introduced into the rectum. To use it, follow the steps below:
- You can use analog or digital.
- Do the measurement before feeding.
- Clean the device first.
- Relax your pet with pampering or words.
- Ask someone else to help you hold the dog.
- Smear the thermometer with lubricant.
- Wait for the time set by the timer. If it's analog, wait at least 2 minutes.
- Remove it and clean it again. It can be with alcohol.
How to Tell if Dog has Fever Without Thermometer?
After you see something wrong with your pet, follow these tips to check for a fever.
- Touch the ears and paws. In both areas, there is an important group of blood vessels that become hot and inflamed due to the increased circulation of immune cells, which means that there is a pathogen present. If one is hotter than the other, the dog may have a local infection.
- Feel the nose. When dogs secrete a yellow or greenish nasal substance, it can be a symptom of a respiratory infection, canine distemper or tracheobronchitis, which can only be diagnosed by veterinarians. Remember that these animals do not always have cold or wet noses because there are several other environmental or health factors.
- Check the groin and armpits. Both areas release immune substances and secrete hormones that alert the nervous system to the presence of a virus, parasite, or bacterial infection. When doing this, check that your hands are at an average temperature to avoid incorrect readings.
- Look at their gums. In case of fever, the gums become hotter and drier, as well as acquire a redder hue than usual.
- Very low temperatures. This symptom can also be an alert since it can be hypothermia.
Aside from body signals, your dog also communicates through his behavior. If you see him more sad, listless, weak and with drastic mood swings, it is possible that he is not in good health or that he suffers from some psychological ailment due to situations of stress, abandonment or moving.
Causes of Fever in Dogs
As you have seen before, fever is not in itself a pathology, but physical evidence that your pet's body is sick because its antibodies are activated. So, if you notice that it does not decrease, take it to the vet, who after the respective examinations, diagnoses what is happening to it.
These are the possible imbalances that cause the dangerous increase in temperature in your dog's metabolism.
- Getting intoxicated by ingesting a harmful substance, medicines, detergents, toxic plants, poison for rodents, etc.
- He has been bitten in a fight with other animals and his wound has become infected.
- Infected tooth or gum.
- Allergic reactions to food.
- Ear infections.
- Urinary tract infection.
- He suffers from diseases caused by viruses or bacteria in the lungs, kidneys, or brain.
It is also common for some dogs to have a fever as a side effect of a reaction to a vaccine, but it is a normal process. Although if you see that it remains after 48 hours, consult the specialist.
The vet must perform various tests to find the diagnosis of the underlying cause, which can be difficult because the dog cannot communicate what it is that hurts.
So you must report if there have been changes in the daily life of your pet such as travel, moving, previous illnesses, allergies, bites and what are the conditions in which he lives, at home, farm, apartment.
In this way, you will guide more in the investigation that deepens in the observation and in the physical examination. To rule out in some cases, it is necessary to take blood, stool and urine tests, in order to determine what the pathogen is.
How to Treat Dog with Fever
It is very important to avoid self-medication because it can complicate the physical state of your pet, with overdose or allergic reactions to drugs. The diagnosis must be made by the authorized veterinarian.
When detecting what is happening to your furry friend, the treatment with medication and rest is applied to overcome and regain energy. This takes time, so don't force your dog into training yet, but wait for him to make a full recovery.
This process can take weeks or even months. In some cases, diagnosis takes time because of the way their symptoms develop, which vary based on their breed, genetics, and parental background.
Generally, when verifying that it is an infection, you should give him antibiotics and constantly hydrate him with clean, fresh water. The taking of these medications must be at the indicated time.
There are some actions that you can take at home, before taking your dog to the specialist to reduce his fever.
- Spread a damp cloth on his ears and paws.
- Give him fresh water to drink to avoid dehydration. If he doesn't want to, do it with a needleless syringe.
- Check his temperature frequently.
- If he doesn't want to eat, feed him broths.
- Check his skin for pitting or hairless areas and if they are infected.
In case the temperature remains high (41°C or more), take him immediately to the veterinary center.
Giving Your Dog a Healthy Life
Love for your furry friend is demonstrated with care and pampering. Promote your dog to have a healthy life with nutritious food, hygiene and physical training to stay in good condition and reduce their anxiety levels. Veterinarians recommend these practices:
- Deworm your dog frequently internally and externally to avoid contagion of diseases transmitted by fleas, ticks and parasites.
- You must pay attention to his reactions when consuming certain types of foods. The safest are kibble for dogs, as they are specially designed for their metabolism. If you are going to give him salty food, do not give him leftovers; cook it separately.
- Keep his bowl filled with fresh and clean water. Be careful of flies or wasps.
- Bathe him with his own soap and shampoo. The frequency will depend on their breed, size, and environmental conditions.
- Comply with the vaccination program indicated by the veterinarian.
- In winter, protect him with a soft blanket.
- If you notice that he is behaving strangely, measure his temperature with a thermometer or feel his ears, abdomen and paws to check for fever or hypothermia.
- Take your dog to the vet at least 2 times a year to monitor his health condition. Better safe than sorry.
Preventing Your Dog from Getting a Fever
It is also important that you keep toxic chemicals, hygiene products, poisons, and human medications out of their reach. And if you have observed other symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, it is possible that your pet has been poisoned or has an allergic reaction.
It should also be noted that sudden changes in his surroundings, a move, the death of a person, etc., can cause your pet to have behavioral changes or become ill. Watch their body language carefully.
Remember that fever is a symptom, a natural reaction of the body against the presence of an external pathological agent or an internal disorder resulting from neurological, autoimmune or hormonal diseases.
Therefore, if you have observed that he has frequent fever attacks, you should take him to the specialist for the appropriate tests and diagnosis.
Your dog is a companion who has become part of your family; take care of his health. By doing so, you also ensure well-being at home.
Important: This article is for informational purposes only. We always recommend that you go to a trusted vet with your pet first.