Can dogs feel a fever?

Dog fever: symptoms, causes, and treatment options

What does fever mean?

Bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses - pathogens try to penetrate the dog's body at any time, but mostly unsuccessfully. Most attackers are effectively shielded by their own defense mechanism. If a dog develops a fever, it typically means that the immune system is dealing intensively - and longer than usual - with pathogens or inflammatory factors. In itself, fever is a sensible reaction of the body (an accompanying symptom) and serves to destroy foreign bodies due to the increased temperature.


What is the normal temperature in the dog?

Just as the heart of dogs can beat a little faster than that of humans, the normal body temperature of our four-legged friends is also a little higher as our. Normally, the temperature in a healthy dog ​​is between 37.5 and 39.0 degrees Celsius. In puppies, the thermometer can still show 39.5 degrees. During the day, the normal temperature in dogs varies slightly: it is lowest in the early morning and increases by a few tenths of a degree in the evening. Differences in body temperature also arise depending on race, age and gender. Smaller breeds, younger animals and bitches have a slightly higher temperature than larger, older and male four-legged friends.


When does a dog have a fever?

If the dog's internal body temperature rises by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees, veterinarians speak of an increased temperature. They typically call fever a rise of a few tenths of a degree to over 40 degrees. However, not every dog ​​whose body temperature rises above normal levels is sick.


8 different types of fever


How can I recognize a fever in my dog?

In addition to the increased body temperature, a fever in dogs manifests itself through certain symptoms that you can easily recognize on closer inspection. The signs of fever can appear individually or at the same time.


The right clinical thermometer for dogs

The most reliable way to tell whether the dog has a fever is to use a thermometer. There are special clinical thermometers for dogs that have a digital display and measure the temperature very quickly. Anyone who has a fidget at home will appreciate the prompt measurement results. Thermometers that are intended for humans tend to be slower to react and are only suitable for dog types who are not so easily disturbed. But even with the right clinical thermometer, the help of an additional person to hold the four-legged friend is sometimes essential. After all, measuring temperature is not one of the highlights of a dog's life.

Do not measure temperature in the mouth or ear

If you are equipped with the right tool, there are only a few rules that you should follow in order to reliably measure a fever in your dog. While the temperature in humans is most often measured in the mouth and the tip of the thermometer is placed under the tongue, this method is extremely unsuitable for animals. A dog would not tolerate a thermometer in its muzzle - most four-legged friends would rather chew on it and certainly try to get rid of the unfamiliar object. The dog's ears are also not suitable for measuring fever, because the many hairs in the ear canal can easily falsify the result. Even if you have a special ear thermometer - albeit one that is intended for humans - measurement errors are very likely. In the worst case, larger deviations can have life-threatening consequences.

Dog fever: rectal measurement

In dogs, fever can only be reliably determined in the anus. For the rectal measurement you should moisten the tip of the thermometer with a little petroleum jelly or lubricant and then insert it into the dog's bottom. Place the thermometer on the inside of the rectum so that the tip is pushed to the side. Otherwise you run the risk of simply measuring the temperature of the air in the rectum instead of the dog's internal body temperature. After the measurement, you should thoroughly clean and disinfect the thermometer.

Is it possible to take a temperature without a thermometer?

If you don't have a thermometer handy, use common sense and experience. Without a suitable measuring device, however, the rise in temperature in the dog can only be roughly estimated and usually only determined if the fever is really high.


Possible causes of fever in the dog


Dog has a fever: What therapy options are there?

Not every rise in temperature in the dog requires treatment. In addition to lowering the fever, researching the cause has the highest priority. How long the fever lasts and how high the temperature climbs will determine whether and how you should treat your dog's fever.

Lowering your dog's fever: home remedies or rather see a doctor?

If your dog has a fever, you can also use homeopathic remedies. Aconitum 30C or Belladonna 30C usually do a good job. In addition to these homeopathic remedies, you can also support a dog suffering from an infection with chamomile tea or an unsalted broth. You should urgently refrain from using painkillers in your medicine cabinet that have not been explicitly prescribed by your vet. If the fever persists despite first aid measures, you should consult a veterinarian.


Can I prevent my dog ​​from having a fever again?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Fever is primarily a defense mechanism in your dog's body and is therefore not a bad thing per se. It promotes an increased immune response, indicates illness and helps your dog recover. However, you can avoid illnesses that sometimes lead to a fever by letting your dog go, for example. B. get vaccinated regularly. A vaccination supplies him with antibodies, so that he is already well armed in the event of contact with the relevant pathogen. You can also protect your four-legged friend from other fever-inducing illnesses, injuries and poisoning, e.g. B. protect against bacterial transmission by ticks.


Conclusion

The normal temperature in an adult dog is between 37.5 and 39.0 degrees Celsius. If your dog has a fever, it does not have to be a sign of serious illness, but it should not be taken lightly either. If you can rule out minor causes such as excitement, physical activity, or bloating after a meal, watch your dog. If the temperature rises quickly or lasts longer, you should consult a veterinarian who will determine the cause. Antipyretic drugs approved for humans are not suitable for dogs.