If you’re a dog’s owner, then it’s crucial for you to know about common sickness, i.e, dog fever, cold, and flu, etc. A dog, no matter if it is a small puppy, young or old, belongs to any breed (German Shepherd, Retriever or a Bulldog, etc) may easily encounter temperature (an unusual increase in internal body heat) due to an infection, stress/depression, surgery, vaccination, tiredness, and others explained in this article.
It’s very vital for all dog owners to know the basics of dog care including measuring temperature, providing first aid for your pet, and giving basic home remedies to lower temperature at home.
How to Know If a Dog has a High fever?
A canine normal body temperature is greater than a human normal degree of internal heat. A dog’s normal degree of internal heat remains between 101 to 102.50-degree Fahrenheit or 38.33 to 39.17-degree celsius.
If a pet’s internal body temp increases above 102.5 degrees celsius then this would be considered as fever.
A canine may get a high fever due to different reasons and also show various kinds of symptoms. Below are all high fever indicators for a human’s best friend.
Early Signs and Symptoms of High Fever in Dogs
If your dog’s nose is wet and cold then it’s an indication of a normal degree of internal body heat but if a dog’s nose is dry and warm then it’s the indication of a high fever.
Common signs and symptoms include;
- Hot paws
- Loss of appetite/No eating
- Warm or hot head
- Vomiting/Throwing up
- Hot and warm ears
- Panting/heavy breath/fast breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Throat/ear/nose/UTI or other infection
- Ear discharge
In rare cases, the following signs are also observed;
- Frequent urination
- drinking more water
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Body rash
- Low white blood count
- Low platelets
- Mood swings
However, it’s still very difficult to diagnose a dog with high temperatures at home without a thermometer. Nowadays, special meters are available in markets that measure the internal body heat of small animals efficiently.
How to Check High Fever in Dogs?
Method 01: Placing a digital thermometer in a dog’s underarm
Simply put mercury or digital thermometer that is commonly available in a dog’s underarm for a minute or 60 seconds. Check the readings when the machine starts to beep (in the case of a digital meter). The normal body temperature range for a dog is between 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If a canine body’s temperature is above 104, then I would be considered a high fever.
Method 02: Placing a digital thermometer in a dog’s anus/rectal measuring
Put some lubricant (baby oil, petroleum gel) on a thermometer top and insert slowly in the dog’s anus. Insert the one inches/2.5cm thermometer’s top inside the anus. Wait for a minute, until the digital thermometer starts beeping.
Rectal fever measuring is the best way to diagnose high fever in canine (dog’s family) and feline (cat family).
Checking Dog’s Fever Without Thermometer
It’s possible to check high degrees of internal heat in small animals without having a mercury/digital or ear thermometer. But the question is, How is it possible to check a dog’s fever without a thermometer?
You can determine the degrees of inner heat of a dog by observing the following most common indications of high fever.
- Warm Head: If you touch your pet’s head it will feel hot and warm.
- Hot Ears: Touch your pet’s ears, they shall be warm.
- Urine Color: If your dog’s urine color is yellowish, it’s a common sign of fever.
- Shivering: Shaking and shivering is also a common indicator of temperature.
- Panting: If you see that your dog is taking a breath so fast and heavy. Your pet may have a high fever. Canines do that because panting is the natural mechanism to lower internal body temperature for them.
What Causes High Fever in Dogs?
There are several reasons behind a canine high temperature. In this section, I tried to explain all the factors that may cause high fever in canines.
Infections (caused by bacteria, virus, or fungi)
A dog may be infected by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. These are small micro-organisms that couldn’t be seen by naked eyes. You need a microscope, more precisely said “electron microscope” to see them and their activities.
These infection initiating micro-organisms are present everywhere. They are active in the water, present in foods, air, toys, soil, inside and outside of a dog’s body.
Commensals bacteria are the living organisms that are present inside a canine body without causing harm. Although, they help in completing various types of metabolisms inside the body i.e, digestion, etc.
Overgrowth or over-replication of commensals bacteria due to cut, burns, scratches, or other reasons may cause a bacterial infection.
If a bacteria, virus, or fungi enters a dog’s body and start replication. A canine may develop a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection that suppresses the body’s immune system which in return causes fever (as a symptom of that infection).
Antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin, cefpodoxime proxetil, etc are used to treat bacterial infectious diseases of dogs, anti-fungal medicines like fluconazole, terbinafine, etc are used to treat fungal infectious diseases and anti-viral medication like Oseltamivir is used for the management of a viral infection.
I hope that more of you will be familiar with a word called “vaccination” a process in which we enter a substance (vaccine) in the body that contains germs (weakened bacteria or virus that are unable to cause disease) to boost the immune system against a specific range of bacteria or viruses.
Vaccines initiate the process of making antibodies against specific types of germs in the body. Simply we can say that vaccination is essential and important because it provides immunity against disease to our body.
For instance, the DHLPP vaccine used to build immunity against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza viruses. These are the most common viruses that affect a canine body in common. The DHLPP vaccine protects a dog body from getting these dangerous and fatal diseases.
Above, I have explained How micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, etc when entering the body cause infectious diseases by suppressing the immune system?
So, Fever after vaccination is a common body reaction against germs (vaccine: weakened germs used to increase immunity)
It’s common for a dog to get a light fever after rabies shot and after another vaccination.
A bitch may get a high fever after whelping or giving birth. It’s more common in small dog breeds like micro-pitbull, Chihuahuas, etc. The reason behind dog fever after whelping is low calcium levels in their blood. Calcium level drops in their body due to lactation (nursing or feeding), as a dog feeds milk to its children, calcium moves from mother to children through milk.
If a dog is not getting enough calcium from its diet, then the chances of fever well known as “Milk Fever” are higher.
Taking care of a dog’s diet after whelping is very important to avoid dietary complications including “Milk Fever”, a common illness of a nursing dog due to low calcium level in its blood.
Common symptoms of milk fever are lethargy, weakness, weight loss, and tiredness.
If your pet has undergone a surgical process has a recent surgery then it’s common to observe a little rise in your dog’s body temperature for the first 2 days or 48 hours. It’s because of the damaged tissue on the surgical site.
You can use home remedies like soaking a towel in cold water and applying the towel to your dog’s warm head, ears, and paws. Also, providing easy to digest and nutritious diet to your pet will help to get recover fast.
If the temperature persists for more than 48 hours, it’s a sign of infection. Seek a veterinarian as soon as possible.
A female dog’s internal body heat level may go up and down during labor. It’s common for a dog’s temperature to rise up to 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 36 to 48 hours before the labor period gets initiated.
When a dog’s temp increases prior to labor, the canine starts panting (taking breath fast and heavily) which cools down its internal heat level and drops the temperature to 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
This drop in temperature is a signal that the labor is going to start after 24 hours (approximately).
How do stress and depression cause fever in canine, feline, and other small animals including dogs?
The dog is an adoptive animal, who can live in a home environment happily. But sometimes, in rare cases, this theory or law fails because a few pets don’t find it comfortable to live in a restricted home/humanly environment.
And they start taking pressure (of the overwhelmed situation) that leads them to stress and depression.
There may be more reasons behind your pet’s depression or overwhelmed condition than living in a controlled or humanly environment i.e, medication, and other psychological behavioral disorders.
Although not all dogs become over-feverish or get a high fever, a few ones can manifest a low degree of persistent fever 101.5 to 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Others may show high degrees of temperature.
How would you determine that the fever is caused by the Infection or Stress?. It’s a really big and important question to answer.
However, it’s a veterinarian’s responsibility to diagnose whether a high fever or low persistent fever in a pet is caused by a microbial infection, food toxicity, or Stress and depression.
But here are some symptoms that confirmed the fever is due to an overwhelmed psychological disorder, also known as psychological fever.
- Excessive barking for a long time of period
- Hair shedding
- Placing a tail between their legs is a sure sign of mood off for a dog.
- Upset stomach: stress causes digestive system disorder and other stomach issues including lack of appetite, abdominal pain, etc.
- Panting: Taking a breath too fast and heavy is another sign of a dog’s psychological problem.
- Shaking, trembling, and pacing also manifested that the dog is undergoing a stressful event.
- Dilated pupils: Yes, a dog’s (eyes) pupils become dilated when it suffers from stress.
- Stress causes fever in dogs, sometimes high fever (degree of internal heat), and sometimes a low degree of temperature for a long period of time.
If you observe above a dog’s stress symptoms (indicators), then go to a vet to make sure the best treatment for your best companion (pet).
Insects (Tick’s & Flea’s)Bite
How insects cause high fever in canines? It’s the most asked question on the internet about dog fever. So, here in this section, I would answer this question and all related phrases, quiz, and queries that may arise in dog owners mind.
Insects including flea’s and ticks find it beneficial to live on a dog’s hair skin. Because there they can fulfill their basic needs i.e, food, shelter, and the best healthy environment to survive.
It’s just like lice who live on a human’s head (hairs) where they drink blood (as a portion of food) to survive.
But not like lice, flea’s and ticks, in the case of dogs, contain harmful bacteria and viruses which may be transmitted (transfer from insect to dog body during sucking blood or taking a bite) during insect bite.
Then these bacteria or viruses can cause a bacterial or viral infection. So, it’s very common for a dog to get a high fever because of an insect bite.
Fever due to bacterial or viral infection is a Symptomatic or alarming response of a body’s immune system against those microbes.
Some Common Types Of Dog Fever
There are more than five major types of fever that affect canine, feline, and other pets.
- Yellow Fever
- Valley Fever
- Intermittent Fever
- Obstruction Fever
- Dengue Fever
The virus transmits in a healthy body through mosquitoes. A mosquito gets that virus when it bites an infected human, monkey, or other mammals.
A veterinarian may suggest a yellow fever diagnosing test for your pet. The yellow fever test diagnosis whether the yellow fever antibodies (which the body’s immune system makes against “Flavivirus”) are present or not.
Your dog’s vet may suggest a better treatment after diagnosing yellow fever. As yellow fever is caused by a virus called “Flavivirus”, anti-viral medication is used to manage this kind of viral infection.
Getting a healthy diet, rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein helps the body’s immune system to fight against that viral infection. Make sure to available healthy and highly nutritious food for your pet during that period.
Dog yellow fever is not contagious and can never transfer from a dog to its owner (human). It’s a viral disease that transfers through mosquitoes.
Puppies and aged dogs are more susceptible to this infection and they need extra care to avoid serious and severe complications.
First of all, I wanna clear that Hay fever does not always increase body temperature or the level of internal body heat. So, don’t get confused with the name “hay fever”.
It’s an allergic response of a body’s immune system against pollen (a substance released by plants). A dog may get “allergic rhinitis” if the pollens enter a dog’s body through the air (during inhalation). The word rhinitis means the inflammation or swelling of the mucus membrane of the nose.
This allergic disease affects humans, canines, felines, and all other animals who are susceptible to pollen grains or pollens (a fine substance (powder), released by plants during their reproductive cycle). Pollen allergy is not contagious and it does not transfer from pets to humans or humans to pets.
Common symptoms of Hay fever include; nasal stiffness, runny and itchy nose, cold, sneezing, red eyes, mild or high fever, rashes, watery eyes, sore throat, and cough, etc
How Can You Diagnose a Hay Fever Disease in Your Pet?
The official way to diagnose allergic rhinitis disease in your pet is to take a hay fever test. A veterinarian may suggest a hay fever test for diagnoses.
It’s a pollen allergy, so it can last for several months, years, or for a lifetime (in some cases).
Hay fever treatment for dogs needs an antihistamine medication (like Benadryl: Diphenhydramine).
Histamine: a nitrogenous compound, releases through granules when a body encounters a foreign toxic or allergic substance, works by binding to Histamine receptors (H1, H2 Receptors) of nerve endings. It produces a quick immune system response i.e. making a living body hard to breathe by contracting blood vessels in the lungs, cause nerve itching, diarrhea, and vomiting, etc because of allergens.
Anti-histamine medication i.e, cetirizine, ebastine, loratadine, fexofenadine, and most important diphenhydramine compositions are used to clear the effect of allergy caused by histamines.
Dog Obstruction Fever
What does dog obstruction fever mean?
If a dog has eaten a solid object which is lodged into his stomach or any part of the gastrointestinal tract.
The dog is very vulnerable to elicit bowel obstruction indications i.e, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, dry mouth, vomiting, nausea, upset stomach, stomach or intestinal perforation, and ulcers, etc.
How a dog gets a fever through bowel obstruction?
A bowel obstruction may damage or deteriorate the digestive activities in the body. The chances of a bacterial infection are so high. Bacteria are present everywhere, especially commensals bacteria that live in a dog’s digestive tract without causing harm. In a normal environment, they help a dog’s body indigestion.
So, in the case of bowel obstruction, it’s very common for a canine to build a bacterial infection with other complications like diarrhea, pain, and vomiting, etc.
The bacterial infection causes mild to high fever as an indication.
How to Diagnose a Bowel Obstruction?
First of all, seek a vet. A veterinarian may take an ultrasound or X-ray to see if there is any object has lodged in your canine digestive tract. For a very small object that can’t be manifest in an X-ray ultrasound report, your dog’s vet may also use an endoscopy technique to diagnose a bowel obstruction in canines.
Dog Bowel Obstruction Treatment
A veterinarian may suggest the best treatment plan for your pet. In general, surgery is performed to remove the obstruction.
If the condition left untreated, dehydration, diarrhea, abdominal pain can lead a dog to death with hours.
A dengue virus symptoms include; a high temperature, break bone pain, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach and loss of appetite, etc.
Like any other viral disease management, a healthy diet is suggested to strengthen the body’s immune system. Acetominophen and paracetamol medication is helpful in pain management (for humans only, this medication is not suitable for dogs pain relief).
Carprofen and meloxicam are the drugs used to treat aches and fever in pets and other small animals.
Like a pet may get a high fever at night and the fever disappears in the morning. Then the fever comes back at night and vanishes in the morning again. This fragmentary and occasional fever is known as “intermittent fever”.
It’s also possible that a dog has a fever for 2-3 days and then the fever disappears for the next 3 days. After that fever comes back and persists for the next few days and again vanishes.
Coccioides immitis fungi may develop a fungal infection (if the body’s immune system is weak).
How To Cure Dog’s Temperature Fast?
I would also share some natural remedies (home treatments) that instantly lower the body’s internal heat.
Fever reducing human meds including paracetamol (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Brufen), and Aspirin (Disprin) or Baby aspirin are not suggested to use in canines, felines, and other small animals due to their toxicity and dangerous feedbacks when used for pets.
Although FDA has not approved these over-the-counter (OTC) temperature-lowering painkiller drugs for veterinary use, some veterinarians and dog medicine specialists have allowed their small amounts as low as 3-5mg/kg may be consumed every 12 hours.
In general, Ibuprofen, paracetamol, and aspirin are FDA approved meds for humans and are not allowed to use in dogs.
FDA-Allowed Fever Reducing Medicines For Canines
But you don’t need to be panic because now I am going to share a few highly effective FDA-approved NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are specifically made to remedy fever and all types of painful and inflammatory conditions.
It’s available in chewable tablets, caplets, and injection form by the tradename “Rimadyl”, a product of Zoetis pharmaceuticals.
Rimadyl tabs are available in three strengths 25mg, 75mg, and 100mg respectively. 10mg to 12.5mg per 5lbs to 10lbs is the recommended dose for a dog suffering from high fever.
Another veterinary-approved painkiller “meloxicam” can be used to reduce pain, swelling, and fever in canines.
Always consult a veterinarian before giving any kind of medication to your beloved ones. Pets with other problems like kidney failure, liver, and stomach diseases should necessarily consult a vet before consuming NSAIDs in dogs.
Home Remedies Help as the First Aid
Putting a Cold Cloth on your Dog’s HEAD
OTC Painkiller Meds
In the above piece of article, I tried to share the knowledge of facing fever in dogs. It explains each and everything which a dog owner is looking for on the web related to high temperature in canines and felines. However, if anybody from you (reading this) has any further question or wanna discuss something else which relates to a dog good health, feel free to leave a comment or contact me through my email.