Dog fever: How to take a dog’s temperature

Narrated from: Dog Health

The average temperature of a healthy dog is about 101 °F (38 °C). This temperature may vary, but if it is above 102 °F (38.9 °C), then your dog has a fever! However, dog fever is usually considered not a disease, but a symptom: it indicates that your dog has a problem and its immune system is working to fix it.  If your dog has a fever, you should look for other symptoms indicating what the real problem is.

However, you should be alarmed if your dog’s temperature reaches 105 °F (40.5 °C). This means that something has gone seriously wrong and you need to go to the vet asap.

In order to measure your dog’s temperature, you should use a thermometer; feeling the ears, nose and neck is not considered a reliable method. There are mercury and digital thermometers. If you are using a mercury thermometer, be extra careful: if it breaks it could be extremely dangerous for your dog!

There are two ways to measure a dog’s temperature and two kinds of thermometers: rectal thermometers and ear thermometers. Check what thermometer you have and make sure you don’t mix up the holes!

Rectal thermometer

It would be a good idea to get a helper, since many dogs are not enthusiastic about this procedure. Your helper should hold the head and front part of the dog’s body by tightly hugging it.

If you are using a mercury thermometer, shake it until the mercury is below 94 °F.

You should also apply a lubricant to the thermometer – petroleum jelly for instance, or a water-based lubricant.

After you are prepared, lift your dog’s tail and gently insert the thermometer into the rectum (located just below the base of the tail). The thermometer should go one inch inside. Then you have to hold it in place – two minutes for mercury thermometers; or until you hear a beep sound for digital thermometers.

During the whole procedure you have to be very careful not to break the thermometer, so watch the legs!

Ear thermometer

The ear thermometer is as reliable as a rectal one once you get the technique right. The ear thermometer is placed in your dog’s ear canal. There are special ear thermometers designed for cats and dogs, and you just have to read the instructions carefully.

With ear measurement, a dog’s temperature is considered normal when it is between 100 °F and 103 °F (37.8 °C and 39.4 °C).

If you are using an ear thermometer for the first time, it would be a good idea to also measure the temperature rectally. Both readings should be very close.

to top of the page
Previous Next

Other articles that might interest you::