There are a lot of rumors out there about the ways that you can tell if your dog isn’t feeling well or having a dog fever. Very few veteran dog owners will tell you to simply take dog's temperature (even if you don't have a dog thermometer). Instead, they suggest to check if his nose is dry.
“Warm and dry is not good, but cool and moist means he’s feeling fine,” is what they say.
But it’s not that simple at all.
The state of your dog's nose has absolutely nothing to do with how well your dog is feeling. Your dog's nose can actually change its state very often, from warm to cold and from dry to wet, for many different reasons. This being an indication of an illness is an old myth that has been debunked a long time ago, yet it still hangs around.
Dog fever can often go undetected. So if you suspect that your pet may be getting sick, or already is ill, the absolute BEST and surest way to tell if your dog's body temperature is elevated is to check it with a canine rectal dog thermometer (such as this one, and it's cheap) or pet ear thermometer (this one works well, but it's expensive).
If you don’t have a dog thermometer and you're not interested in spending money on one, and you believe that your pooch be running a temperature and has a fever, there are a few key signs to look for. Here's my method that you can use to take dog temperature without a thermometer.
How to Take Dog Temperature Without Thermometer?
Here's something you need to keep in mind first. Science says that dog’s normal body temperature is slightly higher than humans. Anything between 101 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and 102.5 F is considered average.
Since a human's normal body temperature runs between 97.6 and 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog may seem warm to you even if they aren’t. A dog is not considered to have a fever until his body temperature rises above 103 F.
The most common cause of high temperatures in dogs is being exposed to extreme heat or excessive exercise in very humid conditions. This is called heat stroke or hyperthermia and can become extremely dangerous.
It's summer now, so you need to be especially wary of this. Be sure to keep your dog in a cool location or in a shade when the weather gets way too hot for your dog. Some dog owners simply keep their dogs in an air-conditioned house/apartment, and others get them dog pools which work very well to cool down a dog.
Have a dog thermometer to take temperature? Read the guide or watch the video below.
Other causes of high body temperature in dogs
Another major cause for your dog's elevated body temperatures is of course fever. Fever in dogs is usually caused due to infection or inflammation in the body, according to AKC.
- Nasal Discharge
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased body fluids
- Increased respiratory rate
- Depressed Mood
- Loss of Appetite
If your dog's fever persists for more than 24 hours, you should take your dog to the vet right away.
RELATED: The Truth About Canine Influenza
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to try and bring your dog's fever down at home. Be sure to not go overboard and take appropriate safety measures. If none of these methods work quick, then it's vital you show up at the vet clinic with your pooch.
Here's how to bring down your dog's fever and alleviate some of his “pain”:
- Keep your dog hydrated. Give him plenty of fresh water, and if he refuses to drink, use an eye dropper to squirt water in the sides of their mouth.
- Use a cool compress. If your pet will let you, place a cool compress on his belly where the skin is exposed. This can be of big help.
- Call your vet to ask about the use of medication. In most cases, it is safe to give your pet a fever reducing medication like acetaminophen, but you should consult your vet’s office just to be sure.
If the case of fever in your dog is really severe, you can also give your pooch specifically made canine aspirin as you pack up your things and go see a vet. Remember to NEVER give your dog human aspirin; these two are completely different.
Take Home Message
Checking your dog's nose will not tell you anything, since this is an old myth and is completely inaccurate indication of your dog's health.
When it comes to fever, the cause of fever in dogs can be hard to diagnose. It is common for canine vaccinations to cause a low grade fever 24 to 48 hours after they are administered. Infections are also a common reason for a doggy fever. These infections can be anywhere in the body and the symptoms you see will vary depending on where the infection is located.
So what do you do? It's always best to take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any signs of a fever, or at least call your vet for further advice. You never know how serious the case may be or what's causing this temperature rise in your pet.
When in a clinic, your vet will be able to perform tests to find out exactly what the issue is. It could be something as simple as what your dog ate, but it could also be a more serious condition like an immune problem that will need further treatment.