If your dog is not behaving like his usual energetic and charming self, he may be feeling under the weather or fighting an infection. But before jumping to conclusions, remember that canines naturally have higher temperatures than humans do, so just because your pup is panting heavily and seems overheated, does not mean that you have to high-tail it to the vet! Instead, see if he is exhibiting any of these fever symptoms and use the below “how-to” guides to help you assess and solve the problem.
How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature
To take your pup’s temperature, first lay him down on one side. Then get a digital rectal thermometer, lubricated with either baby oil, or petroleum jelly. Gently insert the thermometer into the animal’s anus to the depth of an inch, holding it there until the thermometer gives a ready signal. Digital thermometers only take about one minute to produce a reading (which is efficient and much better for the pet) and are usually encouraged over the use of a human thermometer or a classic glass tool.
Reasons your dog might have a fever
- He is fighting an infection (such as an ear infection, urinary tract infection, etc.)
- He ate something he is allergic to, or that is poisonous (such as antifreeze, toxic food, cleaning products, etc.)
- He might have a viral or bacterial disease that is causing inflammation
- He might have issues with his immune system, or may have cancer
How to Reduce His Fever
Depending on the temperature itself, you might be able to reduce the fever at home instead of taking your pup to the vet. If the thermometer reads less than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, (106 degrees will incur internal damage, meaning the dog should be brought to the vet immediately), then it is safe to use several cooling methods at home.
First, begin reducing the fever by lightly spraying tepid water on your dog’s ears, paws and the back of the neck. Position him near a fan and direct the air flow toward him.
Next, fill a water bowl with cool water, and encourage them to drink it little by little until the water is gone. Continue to help the dog stay in a restful position, keeping the ears, neck and paws damp and cool continually until their temperature drops down. If the number never lowers beyond 103 degrees, we would recommend calling a health advisor or your dog’s vet as soon as possible.
NOTE: Never give your dog a fever reducing tablet or any human medications, since products like Aspirin are toxic for pets, and would only make the problem worse.