How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever: The Best Answer!

How to tell if a dog has a fever? Such question is really hard to answer, even for long-time pet owners. After all, it is quite difficult to determine if an animal is suffering from illness or not. Most of the time, we shrug off their complaints as nothing but their peculiar nuances.

Most of the time, pet owners try to assess the condition of their dogs through the latter's nose. If the nose is moist and cold, then the dog is in its top condition. If the opposite, then the animal could be having a severe fever. But is this preliminary observation the best indicator for a dog's fever? We don't think so.

How to tell if a dog has a fever?

In fact, you should be aware that the fever of animals can go undetected and unnoticed. For dogs, this scenario is always happening. At first glance, the dog looks healthy. But in the perspective of the animal, everything is already swirling down. These situations call for the responsibility of owners to always track the health of their pets.

Read this article to know how to spot fever in dogs.


How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever

One of the major hurdles of determining a fever in dogs is due to their body's temperature. Specifically, the internal temperature of dogs is naturally higher than humans. Therefore, we cannot use our usual method of assessing a body's fever.

How To Tell If A Dog Has A Fever
  • By standard, the normal temperature of a dog's body is around 101 F. The temperature 102.5 F is considered normal, too. Meanwhile, the standard temperature of the human's body is around 97 F to 99 F. As you can see, there is a huge discrepancy between the "average" temperature in people and dogs.
  • Technically, the term "fever" is associated with the rapid increase the body's temperature. Usually, such conditions are due to inflammation and infection. Therefore, when the temperature of the dog reaches more than 103 F, then the latter is suffering from a fever. But sometimes, the increase of heat of their body could also lead to fatal results.

Dogs, like humans, can also experience too much heat in their bodies due to extremely high environmental temperature. Too much exercise in humid conditions could also lead to such complications. Scientifically, we call this as heat stroke or hyperthermia. Of course, you cannot just ignore such state. We all know very well how fatal these disorders could become.

Therefore, when a dog's temperature exceeds 106 F, you should already be wary. You don't want your beloved pet to be in a malign pet, right?

Symptoms Of Dog's Fever

Fortunately, determining if whether your dog has a fever or not is pretty doable. Specifically, there are specific symptoms that you have to watch out for. However, we should remind you that these nuances are not really direct determinants of a dog's fever. Instead, they are just indirect indicators that your dog is feeling bad. And such might be due to fever.

Symptoms Of Dog's Fever

Here are the symptoms:

For veterinarians, the only precise way to know if the temperature of the dog has increased is through his rectal region. Luckily, you don't need the help of experts to do this as long as you have a specialized digital thermometer for dogs. Just follow the right procedures to get an accurate result. 

  • You should know that the standard thermometers we use for human ears don't work for our pets.

How To Take your Dog's Temperature

  • The first thing you have to do is to apply lubricant to the thermometer. Baby oils and petroleum gels could work.
  • Next, slowly and gently thrust the thermometer into the anus of your dog. Your dog might feel pain during this process, so you need someone to help you prevent your pet from squirming.

It will take a minute or less before the results could register on your thermometer. During that time, you really need to calm your dog.

For more details, check out this video:

Why Dogs Suffer From Fever?

There are different causes for a dog's fever. Certain conditions and illnesses could lead to such predicament. Here are they:


There are various reasons for a dog to get an infection. Some of them are due to fungal, viral, and bacterial diseases. Specifically, the infection could take place in any part of the dog's body. 

  • For example, an infection of the kidneys would be a type of pyelonephritis. Meanwhile, pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. For severe cases, encephalitis (infection of the brain) could happen, too.

The symptoms per infection vary. But it is certain that fever could be among of them. Infections caused by fungal diseases can hit many parts of the body simultaneously.


When you inject a dog with a vaccine, they could suffer from a mild fever with 24 to 48 hours. Once you detect a fever a dog after vaccination, you should treat it normally.

After all, it happens to humans, too. Fever occurs when a particular substance interacts with the immune system of the body.


There are rare cases when the consumption of toxins causes the fever of a dog. Materials that proves to be poisonous to the creatures (e.g. human anti-depressants and certain variety of nuts could result in fever).

However, you should know that there are some instances in where it is difficult to determine the actual cause of a dog's fever. Experts call this as the "FUO" (fever of unknown origin). As its name suggest, the reasons of the illness have a hidden root. But usually, it could be due to problems in the immune system and bone marrow. Sometimes, it could be a sign of cancer.

What To Do When Your Dog Is Suffering From Fever?

What To Do When Your Dog Is Suffering From Fever?
  • The best thing that you have to do when your dog has a fever is to call a veterinarian. Specifically, a temperature that exceeds up to 103 F needs professional treatment already. Of course, you should do the same when the temperature of your dog exceed 106 F. At this point, the treatment must be prompt and immediate.

There are still home treatments that you can do to help subside the fever. For example, you can apply cold water to the fur of your dog, especially on the areas of feet and ears. Moreover, you can also use a fan to breeze up the wet fur of the dog.

Do not forget that you should monitor the rectal temperature of your dog while doing these treatments. When the temperature drops down to 103 F, you can already stop.

Also, you should keep your dog hydrated if it is suffering from a fever. Let your pet drink small volumes of water from time to time. However, do not force your dog if it doesn't want to drink. 

  • Importantly, never treat your dog with any human medicines such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen. You should know that they are harmful to dogs. In severe cases, these substances could cause death to your beloved pet.

Check out this video on other home remedies for a dog’s fever:


Knowing how to tell if a dog has a fever is essential to every pet owners. It is our responsibility to take care of these lovely creatures. We have disclosed some of the best ways to identify a fever on dogs. Therefore, you should come prepared already once you notice that your dog is behaving strangely.

How to tell if a dog has a fever

Meanwhile, never forget to heed the precautions we set. There is a huge difference in treating humans and animals. Medicines that could be beneficial to man could be harmful to animals.

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About the Author


Hi, I’m Sara and I would like to thank you for checking out my blog. I have been around dogs since I was kid and I cannot imagine life without one. So now, I am sharing with you the knowledge I have accumulated over the years and hopefully it helps you too.

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