how to tell if dog has fever without a thermometer

How to Tell if Dog Has Fever Without a Thermometer

If you suspect that your dog has a higher temperature than average, it may be due to exercising or playing. However, it would be best not to overlook this higher than normal temperature because it may be a fever. Under normal circumstances, you should check the temperature with a thermometer. However, you may lack a thermometer. Despite this, you can still check if your dog has a fever without a thermometer.

What Is Fever in Dogs?

dog has fever and lying in bed
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A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 38°C (100°F) to 39.2°C (102.5°F). Fever develops in dogs when their body temperature rises above the average of 39.2° C. On the other hand, a lower temperature below 38.0°C is also a sign of hypothermia.

A fever is unpleasant and lowers the quality of life of a dog. To add to that, it also makes a dog more susceptible to various health complications. Therefore, we must assist our dogs in recovering rapidly and returning to a healthy and joyful existence.

Why Do Dogs Have Fevers?

vet treating a dog with viral infection
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There are a dozen factors that trigger fever in dogs. These factors, however, can be categorized into three major groups.

1. Infectious Triggers

Dogs are exposed to harmful microorganisms through different channels. Consequently, these microorganisms lead to fever-inducing infections in a dog. These types of infection that affect dogs are:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Infected scratch or bite
  • Infected tooth
  • Viral infections
  • Ear infections
  • Infections from the ingestion of harmful substances
  • Infections transmitted by ticks

2. Immune System Triggers

The immune system of dogs can detect the abnormal activity of the immune cells. These irregular activities could mean either overreaction or invasion of the body cells by the immune cells. Consequently, these abnormal activities lead to an immune response by the body. This immune response leads to fever in dogs.

3. Neoplasm Causes

A neoplasm, commonly known as a tumor, refers to the abnormal development of cells. Neoplastic illnesses are ailments that result in the formation of tumors. Cancerous tumors usually trigger a rise in the body temperature of dogs. It is advisable to take your dog to a specialist if you suspect a tumor may be the cause of the fever in your dog.

Common Fever Symptoms in Dogs

dog lost appetite showing fever symptoms
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The first sign that your dog is unwell is a sudden change in behavior. Therefore, it is essential that you keep a close eye on your dog. Furthermore, take a close look into any abnormal symptoms from your dog. 

These are the common symptoms of fever that dogs usually display:

1. Loss of appetite

Dogs usually eat their food happily. However, they may stop taking their food abruptly or eat less. Either way, this is a sudden behavioral change. This loss of appetite is not necessarily a sign of fever. However, it may indicate that your dog has a fever and needs to be looked into.

2. Panting

Panting is normal for dogs. Dogs enjoy panting as it helps them to cool down. However, there are several different factors that cause panting, such as stress, pain, heatstroke, or excitement. If your dog is panting abnormally for extended periods, it may result from fever. In addition, fever leads to stress and, in extreme cases, heatstroke. Examine your dog if it is panting abnormally to determine the cause.

3. Shivering

Dogs tremble and quiver for various reasons, including excitement, discomfort, advanced age, and even sickness. However, this may be a result of something else like a fever. However, although fever rarely causes shivering in dogs, it is worth examining your dog to check if the shivering is a result of fever.

4. Warm ears and nose

Since dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, they are usually warmer. Consequently, the ears of the dogs also feel warmer. However, they can become slightly warmer than usual. This hotness and inflammation are signs of fever. 

The nose of a dog, however, changes according to the environment. It is, therefore, an unreliable part that can indicate fever. However, a rough and warm nose can mean fever or unwellness.

5. Unwillingness to move

Dogs are usually active, especially when around their owners. They not only like jumping but also running around. However, a slight body change such as fever can bring them down. The fever drains the energy out of the dog. In addition, due to excessive panting to eliminate heat, the dog can be dehydrated. Therefore, you must look closely into a dog unwilling to move to understand if it may be behaving in that way because it has a fever.

Other Fever Symptoms in Dogs

dog with red eyes
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  • Red eyes
  • Decreased energy
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing

Procedure to Tell if a Dog Has a Fever Without a Thermometer

dog undergoing check up procedure to tell if has fever without a thermometer
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To check if your dog has a fever without using a thermometer, follow the following steps in the order that they have been listed.

1. Observe the dog for symptoms

Dogs display different signs when they have a fever. These symptoms include loss of appetite, panting, shivering, warm ears, and lethargy. Start by checking if your dog is displaying any of these signs. These are the big signs that your dog has a fever. 

2. Feel the ears 

The ears of a dog are usually warm due to the higher body temperature of dogs. However, the tips of the dog’s ears are generally cold. Therefore, if your dog’s ear is warm above average, and the tips are also warm, this indicates body temperature is above normal. Thus, the chances are that your dog has a fever.

3. Feel the nose

The nose of dogs usually changes temperature according to the environment. However, when the nose has a discharge, this is not normal. The presence of a discharge indicates that the dog has some infection. Furthermore, since an infection usually triggers fever in dogs, chances of the dog having a fever or likelihood of getting a fever later are high. As a result, you should take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

4. Check the gums

The gums of dogs are usually pink. However, if you observe that the gums have become dry and reddish as well as warm, then this is a perfect indicator of a fever. 

5. Feel the dog’s body

The armpits of the dog are usually sensitive to body changes. Any body changes lead to swelling, rashness, abnormal heating, and a groin pull. If, after observing the armpits of the dog, you notice swelling and hotness, then this indicates that the dog probably has a fever. 

How to Lower Dog’s Temperature

dog drinking water often will help lower temperature
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After realizing that your dog has a fever, it is advisable to take him to a veterinary officer. However, you can also apply home remedies to bring down your dog’s temperature before taking this. These home remedies to lower your dog’s temperature are:

  • Urge your dog to consume more water.
  • Cool your dog by applying cool water to its paws and ears with a moistened towel.
  • Run a fan close to your dog.
  • Clean the dog’s ears

If your dog’s body temperature does not drop or develops additional symptoms, including shaking and vomiting, consider taking him to a veterinarian.

How Long Does a Dog Fever Usually Last

kids seeing after a dog with fever
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The duration of a dog’s fever is typically determined by the cause of the fever. Whereas some fevers only last a few hours, others might persist up to a week.

Basically, fevers caused by either inflammation or an underlying illness will persist until proper treatment for the underlying condition is administered.

When to Take Your Dog to a Veterinarian

dog is taken to a vet to check why fever persists
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Using home remedies to reduce the body temperature of your dog usually eliminates fever. However, the fever sometimes persists. This is mainly because the fever is caused by either an underlying condition or inflammation. 

Therefore, if the fever persists even after using home remedies, it is advisable to take your dog to a veterinarian. In addition, you should also avoid giving your dog any medication as this may do more harm to your dog.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the well-being of our dogs is essential. Healthy dogs live long and are always happy. However, in case of illness in dogs, such as fever, we need to understand how to evaluate the dog. You have to know how to check the temperature of a dog, with or without a thermometer. A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 38°C (100°F) to 39.2°C (102.5°F). A dog with fever will display symptoms such as appetite loss, shivering, panting, reddish gums, and swollen groins and armpits. You will need to lower the dog’s temperature using home remedies and if the fever persists, consult a veterinarian.

Therefore, in the spirit of keeping man’s best friend happy, follow the guide that we have given you on checking your dog’s body temperature without a thermometer.

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