Whenever you suspect your pooch being sick, you probably start to wonder, what is a dog’s normal temperature and when does it mean they have a fever. Fortunately, there's more than one way to figure this out without visiting your veterinarian.
Dogs have a higher normal body temperature than humans. That is why your pupper is often comfortable and warm even on cold nights, while you shake like a leaf at the same time. A dog's normal body temperature is typically between 99.5°F and 102.5°F (38°C and 39.2°C).
Anything outside of the above temperature range can signal a medical condition.
If your dog has a temperature under 99°F (37.2°C) or over 104°F (40°C), this is considered a medical emergency. Extremely low or high body temperature can even be fatal if it doesn’t get treated immediately, so take your dog to the vet if his body temperature is too high or too low.
How to Take a Dog’s Temperature
Knowing how to check a dog’s body temperature is one of the basic first aid requirements for every pet owner. While you can check your pup's temperature without a thermometer, it's recommended to check it using a pet thermometer. This type of digital thermometer is the easiest and fastest way, and you should always have one in your pet's first aid kit.
Using a thermometer, checking dog's temp rectally is the most accurate way, as opposed to orally, which won't accurate enough. Plus, there is always a risk of getting bitten.
Here's a guide on how to check your pup's temperature, and the video below:
The process is simple but it will be unpleasant for your dog. You'll need a lubricant: baby oil or petroleum jelly, but water-based lubricants work best. In emergency, you can use a glass thermometer but typically that is not recommended because the glass can break and hurt your dog and it is nearly impossible to keep them still for two minutes, which is how long it takes for glass thermometer to get the reading. Instead, get a fast digital dog thermometer to make things easier for you.
Taking the temperature of your dog rectally may become a difficult tasks, depending on your dog. Ideally, get somebody to help you and hold your dog while you do it. That person should place one arm around your dog’s neck, while the other arm should go under his belly. Although, as you can see in the above video, you can also do it alone.
Once your dog is safe and secured in one person’s arms, lift his tail and quickly (but gently) insert a well-lubricated thermometer about one inch into his anus and press the start button. When the results are ready, you will hear a beep. This will tell you what you need to know, whether your dog has a fever and needs to be rushed to a vet.
With some dogs, it can be impossible to take their body temperature rectally, especially if there is no one to help you. In that case, you can measure your dog’s temperature in his underarm as well. Put the tip of the thermometer into his armpit and hold his arm down until you hear the beep.
Since using an armpit to take temperature reading is not as accurate as taken rectally, you should add one degree to the reading to get the closest approximate result. You can also take your dog’s temperature from his mouth or ears, but these results are not considered very accurate.
Taking your dog’s temperature properly is important. You can’t accurately determine a dog’s body temperature by touch, and it is necessary to use a pet thermometer. Take your dog’s temperature rectally for best results and consult your vet immediately if your dog has a fever or low body temperature.
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