What to Do If Your Dog Has a Fever

Have you noticed that your four-legged friend hasn’t been feeling himself lately? You know he must be sick because he is coughing, you’ve noticed he’s been a bit lethargic, and despite his warm ears, he is shivering. Your pet has a fever, or in medical terms, pyrexia.

Fevers have many different symptoms, causes, and treatments and depending on how high your dog’s fever is, you may need to take him to the hospital. If you’re concerned that your pet’s temperature is too high, you can pick up a thermometer at your local pet store. Keep in mind, your human thermometer will not work!

Dogs naturally have temperatures ranging from 99.5-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and our thermometers often have trouble reading temperatures that go above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature reads above 106 degrees Fahrenheit, it is considered a medical emergency, and you should take him to the hospital as soon as possible.

Causes of Fever in Dogs

Some of the causes of fever are easy to diagnose, while others are more difficult. Some causes include infections, such as an infected cut or bite, ear infection, urinary tract infection, infected or abscessed tooth, and infected organs.

Diseases that can cause a fever include an ongoing bacterial or viral disease, endocrine diseases, and metabolic diseases. Fevers can also come about due to what your dog is putting in his body. If you recently vaccinated your pup, it is important to know that they can get a fever for a few days afterward. Try to keep him comfortable while he endures his fever. It should be gone in no time.

Some dog medications can also cause fevers, so if you have put your pup on a new medication, check the side effects to see if this is where his fever came from. An allergic reaction can also cause your dog’s temperature to rise. Try to think of any new plants or other items you may have recently purchased that could be upsetting your dog’s immune system.

If your dog has a tendency to get into human items, he may have eaten something that made his temperature rise. Check to see if your dog has gotten into antifreeze, toxic plants, human medications, or human foods. Occasionally, dogs can get a fever from an unknown source, which can be the case if your dog has immune system abnormalities, blood or bone marrow disorders, and cancer.

Signs of Fever in Dogs

There are many tell-tale signs that your furry friend is suffering from a fever. Fever symptoms in dogs include:

  • Red eyes
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Warm ears
  • Warm and dry nose
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Shock
  • Depressed mood
  • Nasal discharge

Reducing Fever in Dogs

Seeing your dog endure a fever can be painful, but you have the ability to make him feel better. Calling your vet to see if there’s a more serious issue is a great first step. The next thing you can do to make your pet more comfortable is apply cool water around his paws and ears to help cool him down.

You should also make sure that his water bowl is close to him to make it easier for him to drink his water. Make sure to monitor him closely when he has a fever. Look for signs that he is getting better or getting worse. Other steps you can take to keep your dog cool include wrapping ice packs in a towel and placing it on his chest and abdomen and blowing a fan in his direction.

The most important thing to keep in mind during this time is that your pup is not feeling well and the more comfortable he is, the better he will start to feel.

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