How to Tell If a Dog Has a Fever

Do you check your dog’s nose every time you think your pet is feeling under the weather? It may sound like a silly question, but most pet owners believe the old adage that if a dog’s nose is warm and dry, he isn’t feeling well. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and it’s best for you to learn how to tell if a dog has a fever instead of just guessing based on the condition of his nose.

The truth is, the condition of your dog’s nose does not usually have anything to do with his overall health and wellness. Of course, if his nose is severely dry and cracked, it could be a symptom of an underlying skin condition that needs to be treated.

Whether his nose is wet or dry is not a reliable symptom of fever.

The good news is that learning how to tell if a dog has a fever is simple. In this article I will discuss the symptoms that you should be looking for, and also tell you the quick steps you can take to take your dog’s temperature to determine if he has a fever or not.

ALSO SEE: How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature With a Thermometer

How to Tell If a Dog Has a Fever

How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever

Research shows that a dog’s normal body temperature is a bit higher than that of a human. While the average body temperature of a human is 97° to 99°, a dog’s average body temperature runs between 99.5° and 102.5°.

For this reason, it may feel like your dog has a fever even when he does not. In fact, most veterinarians will not consider it a fever unless your dog’s temperature is over 103°.

The most common cause of high temperatures in dogs is being exposed to extreme heat or excessive exercise in humid conditions. This is called heat stroke or hyperthermia (PDF) and is extremely dangerous! When the mercury rises, it’s important to find a way to keep your canine companion cool and comfortable.

How To Tell If A Dog Has A FeverNow that it is summer, you need to be especially careful of this. You should never leave your pet outside without proper shelter. Be sure to keep him in a cool location, and ensure he has access to shade. Providing Fido with doggy pool and access to clean, fresh drinking water is a necessity as well.

If you are concerned that your dog may have a fever, check for these signs:

  • red eyes
  • lethargy
  • warm ears
  • shivering
  • dry, warm nose

The biggest part of learning how to tell if a dog has a fever is learning to take his temperature. It’s not pretty, but it’s something that every pet owner needs to know how to do.

If you’ve ever taken your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup, you’ve seen how they take the dog’s temperature. Using a thermometer to take his temperature rectally is the most accurate way to find out your dog’s exact body temperature.

How To Tell If A Dog Has A FeverAs I demonstrate in my video guide above, you’ll need petroleum jelly, a digital thermometer and a Q-Tip to perform this task. Using the Q-Tip, rub petroleum jelly on the thermometer for lubrication.

Lift your dog’s tail and insert the thermometer into his rectum about 2″. Wait until the thermometer reads his temperature, and remove.

In my video guide you will see that we have a thermometer labeled ‘dog’ that I keep in our pet first aid kit. I highly recommend every pet owner do this. Of course, when you’re finished using it you need to thoroughly clean the thermometer with hot water and antibacterial soap.

READ NEXT: How to Take a Dog’s Temperature Without A Thermometer

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