How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Fever: Symptoms, Causes, and Home Remedies


As a pet owner, knowing how to tell whether or not your dog has a fever is a crucial skill. Dogs, like humans, can develop a fever as a symptom of an underlying illness or condition. Spotting the signs early and taking the appropriate steps can make all the difference in your dog’s health and quality of life.

In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms to look out for, how to take your dog’s temperature, when to see a vet, common causes of fever, home remedies, and preventative measures to keep your furry friend healthy.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Before you can determine whether or not your dog has a fever, you need to know what to look for. The symptoms of a fever in dogs can vary depending on the underlying cause, but some of the most common signs to watch out for include:

  • Lethargy or unexplained fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Shivering or trembling
  • Warm ears or nose
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to monitor their temperature and contact your veterinarian for advice.

Measuring Temperature

One of the simplest ways to determine whether your dog has a fever is to take their temperature. However, it’s important to use the correct method to avoid hurting your furry friend. The most accurate way to take a dog’s temperature is by using a rectal thermometer.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant.
  2. With your dog in a lying position, lift their tail and insert the thermometer gently into the rectum.
  3. Hold it in place for about two minutes or until the thermometer beeps.
  4. Remove and record the temperature, then clean the thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Normal body temperature for dogs range between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. A temperature above this range is considered elevated and may indicate a fever.

When to See a Vet

If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it’s important to seek veterinary attention right away. Even a mild fever can be a symptom of a severe underlying condition, and delaying treatment can result in more serious health problems. Some signs that your dog may require immediate medical attention include:

  • A temperature higher than 106°F
  • Lethargy or weakness that worsens over time
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing or signs of respiratory distress
  • Bloody vomit or diarrhea
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Signs of severe pain or discomfort

In some cases, your veterinarian may need to run blood work or other diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the fever. Be sure to provide them with as much information as possible about your dog’s symptoms and overall health to help with the diagnostic process.

Causes of Fever

There are many reasons why a dog may develop a fever. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Infections, such as bacterial or viral infections
  • Inflammation, such as due to arthritis or injury
  • Cancer or other neoplastic conditions
  • Vaccination reactions
  • Drug reactions or side effects
  • Toxicity or ingestion of a foreign object

Identifying the underlying cause of the fever is important for effective treatment and management of your dog’s health.

Home Remedies

There are several practical steps and treatments you can try at home to help reduce your dog’s fever:

  • Encourage rest and relaxation
  • Ensure your dog remains hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water and offering small amounts of broth or food that contains a high water content
  • Cool your dog down using a damp cloth or cool water bath on their paws, underarms, or groin area
  • Avoid giving over-the-counter medications for humans unless specifically prescribed by a veterinarian

Remember that the above home remedies are not substitutes for professional veterinary care, especially if your dog’s condition worsens or fails to improve. Consulting your veterinarian before trying any home remedies is always recommended.

Preventative Measures

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from developing a fever is through regular vaccination and parasite prevention. Vaccinations help protect your dog against diseases that can cause fever and other serious health problems, while parasite prevention measures can reduce the risk of infection and inflammation.

Other preventative measures you can take include:

  • Keeping your dog clean and well-groomed
  • Ensuring they have access to clean water and a healthy diet
  • Providing regular exercise and mental stimulation
  • Keeping your home and outdoor environment clean and free of hazards

By following these simple preventative measures, you can help ensure your dog stays healthy and fever-free.


Knowing how to tell whether or not your dog has a fever is an essential skill for all pet owners. Be aware of the symptoms of fever, take your dog’s temperature if necessary, and seek veterinary attention as soon as possible if you suspect your dog is ill. With the right care and treatment, you can help your furry friend recover and live a happy, healthy life.

Remember to always consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has a fever.

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