A dog on a bed chewing on a bully stick.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever

Everybody wants their dog to feel good. While there are some things that you can do to keep your dog healthy, you can’t always protect them. If a dog has a fever it can be a symptom of what could be a serious medical issue. So, how do you tell if your dog has a fever? 

Dog runing with threat in mouth

What Is A Dogs Normal Body Temperature?

Dogs naturally feel warmer than we do. And for a good reason. A dog’s normal temperature runs between 101℉ and 102℉. However, when they have a fever their body temperature is around 103℉. So it can be hard to tell when your dog has a fever because they always feel warmer than we do. 

How To Tell If Your Dog Has A Fever?

While taking your dog’s temperature is the most accurate way to see if your dog has a fever, it’s not always easy. And if you do decide to go that way, make sure you have a dog-specific one. However, there are some other ways to tell if your dog is feeling under the weather. 

Some of the main factors that can indicate that your pup has a fever are other general illness symptoms. 

  • Runny nose
  • Decreased energy
  • Loss of appetite

All of these could mean other things as well, so if you notice these things you’ll want to keep a close eye on your dog over the following days. 

One of the best ways to see if your dog has a fever is if their ears, or nose is exceptionally warm. This is almost like kissing a child’s forehead to see if they feel warm. However, it can be hard to tell with dogs because of the temperature difference between them and us. So while this is the easiest way, it’s not as reliable. 

You might also notice that your dog has red, glazed-over eyes, and your pup may also have vomiting, hacking, or shivering along with a fever. 

When Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet With A Fever?

Just like with humans, low-grade fevers are a part of being sick. If your dog picked up a bug from somewhere it might just be a few days. However, anything over 106℉ is cause for concern because this high temperature can cause organ damage. 

You should take your dog to the vet if the fever doesn’t go down after a few days, or if it hits 106℉, whatever comes first. Furthermore, you will want to take quick action if your dog’s temperature is near 106℉ because other than organ damage, it can be fatal. 

What Can Cause A Dog To Have A Fever?

There can be a lot of different reasons why a dog can have a fever. Each of these reasons should be treated accordingly. 

Some things that can cause a fever:

  • Infected scratches, or bites
  • Infected teeth or other oral problems
  • Ear infections
  • Kidney complications
  • UTI’s 
  • Poisonous materials like antifreeze and toxic plants

How To Properly Take Your Dogs Temperature

Depending on what device you are using, can vary how to properly take your dog’s temperature. There are digital thermometers for pets now that you can find online and in local pet stores. 

Rectal Thermometer – This is the most common way to take a dog’s temperature. However, you should make sure to use baby oil or petroleum gel to lubricate it before inserting it into your dog’s anus. You should only put it in about an inch and remove it as soon as you get a reading. 

Ear Thermometer – Ear thermometers are much less invasive than traditional rectal thermometers for dogs. However, they are more expensive. But these thermometers get their reading from the heat from the ear canal. 

Digital Thermometer – These are the easiest to use and are fairly reliable. However, these are not the same as human thermometers. So make sure you pick up a pet-specific thermometer for your dog. You can also sometimes find these in pet first-aid kits. 

A dog on a bed chewing on a bully stick.

How To Reduce A Dog’s Fever

If your dog seems to have a bit of a fever you might be wondering what you can do to help it down. Lucky for your pup there are some things you can do to bring it down before it reaches that critical 106℉. 

Dogs naturally cool off through their paws, nose, and ears. The easiest way to start bringing down a dog’s fever is to apply cool towels to these areas. Never soak your dog in cold water. Furthermore, there are cooling vests that you can use but towels are just fine. 

Keep a close eye on your dog to ensure the fever doesn’t come back. And if you notice any other symptoms you may want to take a trip to the vet. Because it can be hard to keep your dog hydrated during this time, a vet can give your pup IV fluids. 

You should never give your dog human medications without prior vet approval. Many over-the-counter human medications can be toxic and might even make the fever worse. 


Knowing how to tell if your dog has a fever is an important skill for any pet owner. A fever is one of the most common signs of illness in dogs and can indicate a range of health issues from minor infections to serious diseases. Fortunately, there are several signs that you can look out for that will help you identify if your dog has a fever.

By monitoring your pup’s temperature, observing its behavior, and checking for other physical symptoms, you can determine if your pup is running a fever and take the necessary steps to help them make a quick recovery.

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