Fever in dogs – what to do?Fever can have various causes in dogs. Depending on the temperature measured, a visit to the vet may be urgently advisable.
One speaks of fever in dogs when, among other things, the internal body temperature is elevated. But besides the change in normal temperature, dogs also show other signs that indicate fever. You can read about what these symptoms are in the following article. In addition, you will learn here what causes fever can have, how to measure fever in dogs and what to do if the dog has a fever.
Internal body temperature in a dog
The normal temperature of the dog is between 38.0 and 39.0 degrees Celsius. But these values are not always the same. For example, a dog's temperature is lowest early in the morning, rises a few tenths of a degree during the day, and finally is highest in the evening.
Breed, age and sex also play a role here. The internal body temperature is usually higher with:
– small dog breeds – young dogs – bitches – pregnant bitches
At Dog puppies the internal body temperature is often even higher and may reach up to 39.5 degrees Celsius. This value is quite normal for puppies and is not a cause for concern.
Taking a fever in a dog
To measure the internal body temperature of the dog, one uses a clinical thermometer. Have display. Measure very quickly. This is quite an advantage, as most dogs find taking a temperature uncomfortable and are often very restless and fidgety when doing so. Clinical thermometers made for humans usually measure much slower. Are therefore rather unsuitable for dogs.
Often, taking a fever requires a second person to hold the dog well during the process.
The Taking a fever in the ear is very inaccurate in dogs, which is why this method is not usually recommended.
Rectal and vaginal measurement
The tip of the thermometer is moistened with a little Vaseline or lubricant and then inserted through the anus into the rectum of the dog, so you measure rectally. It is important to place the thermometer on the inside of the rectum, i.e. carefully push it to the side, otherwise only the temperature of the air in the rectum is measured, but not the dog's body temperature.
In bitches, internal body temperature can alternatively be measured in the vagina (i.e., vaginally), although the values here are always a few tenths of a degree higher than when measured rectally. After the measurement the thermometer is cleaned again. Ideally also disinfected.
Taking a temperature without a thermometer
A correct value of internal body temperature in a dog can only be obtained by rectal measurement with a thermometer.
If you don't have one at hand, there are alternatives that can be used to determine the dog's body temperature. However, these methods require a certain amount of experience. In addition, changes in temperature by this route are often only noticeable if the fever is high.
On hairless parts of the dog's body, for example the crook of the elbow, you can place the back of your hand and feel the temperature of the body surface there. The dog's ears may also feel a little warmer. The temperature can also be checked by palpation on the mucous membranes of the mouth, for example the inside of the lips.
Contrary to popular opinion, a dry nose no indicator for whether the dog has a fever or not. Within one day the nose of a healthy dog can vary between wet and dry. For example, if the dog lies for a long time in the sun or next to a radiator, the nose also becomes dry.
When does a dog have a fever?
Not every dog whose body temperature rises above the normal temperature is immediately ill. Especially for very nervous and excited dogs, taking the temperature means stress, which is why the temperature often rises when measured, but the dog is healthy. Even a very high outside temperature makes the dog's internal body temperature rise.
The body temperature of the dog can also be elevated after:
– working phases (for example agility) – long playing and romping – a car ride – feeding
In order not to get falsified values here, you should wait about an hour after the events mentioned and only then take the temperature.
In the opposite case, the thermometer often falsely indicates lower temperatures in dogs that constantly suffer from diarrhea.
Detecting fever in dogs
Typically, fever is an increase in the dog's internal body temperature. This can be an increase of a few tenths of a degree, but can also rise to over 40 degrees fever. With an increase of the normal temperature around 0.1 to 0.2 degrees one speaks still of Elevated temperature.
Besides the higher body temperature, dogs show other signs by which you can recognize a fever:
– skin temperature irregularly distributed – faster breathing – increased pulse – ruffled fur – tiredness – dog trembles (chills) – dog does not eat
These symptoms can be detected very quickly by good observation of the dog. Skin temperature can be determined by palpation. Stroking with the back of the hand can be checked.
What to do when a dog has a fever?
When the dog's internal body temperature reaches 39.5 degrees Celsius, a veterinarian should be consulted. This person will try to find the cause of the fever and treat the dog accordingly as well as reduce the fever.
In addition, the dog should be encouraged to take regularly Drink small amounts of water. In the case of an acute fever, homeopathy can also be of great help in the initial phase. A single dose of Aconitum C30 or Belladonna C30 is often sufficient to reduce the dog's fever.
Under no circumstances should the dog be given antipyretic drugs, such as ibuprofen, which are approved for human use. These can be poisonous for the dog.
Reduce fever in dogs – first aid for high fever
If the fever exceeds 40.5 degrees Celsius, the dog's body must be cooled immediately using simple home remedies. To do this, spread cold water on the dog's fur. Then blow over the damp fur with a fan. Alternatively, you can also cover the dog with wet towels.
In this case, the internal body temperature must be checked every five minutes with a thermometer, so that the dog does not cool down too quickly or even freeze to death. Finally, if a temperature of less than 39.5 degrees Celsius is reached or if the fever drops only very slowly or not at all, then the dog must definitely be taken to a veterinarian.