How to Check Your Dog’s Body Temperature?

Just like in humans, a dog’s body temperature can be an excellent indicator of its overall health. Though it might feel a little awkward, learning to accurately check your dog’s temperature is an essential skill for any pet owner

An average body temp is 101.5 F, but a fever over 103 F requires vet attention. Take their rectal temp with lubricant or axillary temp for smaller dogs. Immediate cooling may be needed if the fever exceeds 105 F and never give human medicines. Consult with your vet for the best care.

What Is a Dog’s Normal Body Temperature?

Just as with humans, maintaining a balanced body temperature is crucial for your dog’s health. A dog’s average body temperature typically hovers around 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can naturally fluctuate by about a degree.

If you find your furry friend’s temperature to be below 99 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to call your veterinarian. Such extreme temperature shifts can indicate a severe health issue that might require immediate attention.

Always remember, early detection can aid successful treatment and reduce any discomfort your pet may experience.

What Is a Dog's Normal Body Temperature

What To Do If Your Dog’s Temperature Is Abnormal?

If you observe that your dog’s temperature is abnormal, follow these steps:

What To Do If Your Dog's Temperature Is Abnormal?

What To Do If Your Dog’s Temperature Is Abnormal?

  • Don’t panic: Keeping calm will help you better care for your dog. Our pets are in tune with our emotions, and if they sense panic, it might stress them out.
  • Contact your vet immediately: Share the temperature readings and any other symptoms you’ve noticed with them.
  • Keep your dog comfortable: Place them in a temperature-controlled environment. If they’re too hot, find a cool place. If they’re cold, provide a warm blanket.
  • Monitor your dog’s behavior: Note any changes in their behavior such as lethargy, changes in appetite, or unusual restlessness. This information can help your vet diagnose your condition.
  • Follow your vet’s advice: They might provide instructions for care at home, or ask you to bring your dog in for a checkup. Trust their expertise and follow their advice to ensure your pet gets the best care possible.

Remember, a quick and appropriate response can make a world of difference in safeguarding your pet’s health.

How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature?

Taking your dog’s temperature may seem daunting, but it’s easier than it sounds with the right supplies and a calm demeanor. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do this:

Gather Your Supplies

First and foremost, you’ll need a digital rectal thermometer – these are quick, accurate, and generally tolerated by dogs. You’ll also need some lubricant to make the process as comfortable as possible for your dog.

A water-based lubricating jelly works best, but you can also use petroleum jelly or baby oil in a pinch.

Gather Your Supplies

Get Help If Needed

Most dogs aren’t too keen on having their rear ends handled, so consider enlisting the help of another adult.

They can gently hug your dog, one arm around the neck and the other beneath the belly, to keep them still and calm.

Get Help If Needed

Take the Temperature

To take the temperature, gently lift your dog’s tail and insert the well-lubricated thermometer about one inch into your dog’s anus. Press the start button and wait for the beep that signals completion. Remember to do this quickly but gently to minimize any discomfort for your dog.

By following these steps, you can confidently monitor your dog’s temperature and help ensure its ongoing health and well-being.

Take the Temperature

Having Trouble with the Rectal Temperature?

If you’re having difficulty taking your dog’s rectal temperature, don’t worry – there’s an alternative method available. You can measure your dog’s temperature in the axillary region, which is under its arm.

This method may not be as accurate as a rectal reading, but it can give you a general idea of your dog’s temperature.

How to Take Axillary Temperature?

Follow these steps to check your dog’s axillary temperature:

How to Take Axillary Temperature

How to Take Axillary Temperature

  • Find a Suitable Thermometer: Use a digital thermometer for this process. It provides quick, if not entirely accurate, results.
  • Position Your Dog: Guide your dog to lie down on its side. You might need someone to help you keep your dog calm and still during this process.
  • Place the Thermometer: Gently place the tip of the thermometer into your dog’s armpit area. Hold your dog’s arm against its body to secure the thermometer in place.
  • Wait for the Result: Keep the thermometer in place until it beeps. This might take longer than a rectal reading.
  • Add an Extra Degree: Once you have the reading, add one degree to the thermometer’s reading to approximate the body temperature.

This axillary method is less invasive and may be easier to perform, especially on smaller or nervous dogs. But remember, if your dog’s axillary temperature seems abnormal or they’re showing signs of illness, it’s important to consult with your vet for a more precise temperature check and advice.

High Fever in Dogs

High fever in dogs is a serious concern and a crucial sign that your pet may be suffering from an underlying health issue. It might indicate an infection, inflammation, or other medical conditions that require immediate veterinary attention.

Symptoms of a high fever can include lethargy, vomiting, shivering, and red eyes. Always remember, a thermometer reading above 104 degrees Fahrenheit is typically considered a high fever in dogs.

In such a scenario, it is essential to reach out to your vet immediately for professional advice. Prompt action can safeguard your pet’s well-being and ensure they receive the necessary medical care.

High Fever in Dogs

Home Care and When to Call the Vet

Home Care and When to Call the Vet

Home Care and When to Call the Vet

When dealing with a high fever in your dog, here are some home care tips and indications of when you should call the vet:

  • Immediate Cooling Down: If your dog’s temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit, help reduce their body temperature by applying cool (not cold) water around their body, focusing on the ears and paw pads. Using a fan on the damp fur can also help to lower the temperature.
  • Monitor Temperature: Keep checking your dog’s rectal temperature as you cool them down. Once the temperature drops to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, stop the cooling process. A too-rapid temperature decrease could lead to other complications.
  • Encourage Hydration: Ensure your dog stays hydrated. Encourage them to drink small amounts of water regularly, but don’t force them.
  • Avoid Human Medicines: Never give your dog human medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for reducing fever. These can be toxic to dogs and lead to severe injury or even death.
  • When to Call the Vet: If your dog’s temperature is over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, reach out to your vet immediately. A fever above 106 degrees Fahrenheit is an emergency that requires prompt professional attention. Always consult a vet before administering any home treatment.


In conclusion

Maintaining your dog’s health requires constant vigilance, knowledge, and understanding. Monitor your pet’s body temperature regularly to detect any abnormalities sooner rather than later.

Knowing how to respond to fluctuations in temperature – whether high or low – can be the key to ensuring your dog’s well-being.

Remember, professional veterinary advice should always be your primary resource in managing your pet’s health. By working closely with your vet, you can provide the best care possible for your furry friend.

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