Recognize Fever In Dogs: 9 Symptoms And Measure Correctly

Does your dog seem tired, listless, and listless to you? It’s good that you noticed, because your dog may have a fever!

Dogs that have a fever often don’t show it. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms.

What can cause a fever, how you can measure your dog’s fever correctly and how to correctly apply first aid measures to a feverish dog, you will find answers to all these questions in this article.

In a nutshell: When does a dog have a fever?

Like all living creatures, dogs can also get a high temperature and fever.

A body temperature of 37.5 and 39 degrees Celsius indicates a normal body temperature for an adult dog. In puppies, the normal temperature is up to 39.5 degrees. If your dog’s temperature is over 40 degrees, then your dog has a fever.

Attention danger!

A body temperature in your dog of over 42 degrees is acutely life-threatening!

Fever can have various causes, such as a viral infection or a bacterial infection.

Fever should always be a serious symptom.

How do I recognize a fever in a dog?

If you want to be absolutely sure that your dog has a fever, I recommend measuring the temperature using a clinical thermometer.

But even without a thermometer, there are ways to infer a fever based on certain symptoms.

The most common symptom is: Your dog won’t eat because of a fever.

But a number of other symptoms can also indicate that your dog has a fever and is ill.


If your dog shows the following symptoms, it could have a fever:

  • uncontrolled shaking (chills)
  • overheated ears
  • exhaustion
  • noticeable limpness
  • reluctance to eat
  • increased need for fluids
  • accelerated pulse
  • increased panting
  • dry stools or diarrhea

How do I recognize a fever in a dog without a thermometer?

If your dog exhibits any of the above symptoms, the best place to identify an elevated temperature is on the less hairy parts of your dog’s body.

But even without a thermometer, there are ways to infer a fever based on certain symptoms.

The easiest way to tell if your dog’s body temperature has changed is to look at the less hairy areas like the inside of the ears, under the armpits or on the stomach.

If these areas are noticeably warmer, this can be an indication that your dog has an increased body temperature or even a fever.

How do I measure a dog’s fever?

As with humans, using a clinical thermometer is the safest and most importantly the most accurate way to determine if your dog has a fever.

You can only act correctly if you are absolutely sure that your dog has an increased body temperature.

When measuring the temperature, please do not use a conventional thermometer made for humans.

I myself have been using the digital thermometer for years and am extremely satisfied with it.

The safest and most accurate way of measuring temperature is rectal measurement.

To prevent rectal injuries, it is important that your dog lies absolutely still during the measurement. If your dog is more of a nervous type, it is advisable to get a second person to help.

Distraction with your favorite treat or a close cuddle is often useful.

When your dog is being measured for temperature for the first time, you should take extra care to ensure he doesn’t startle or even try to bite.

It is most comfortable for your dog if you coat the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly and slowly insert the tip of the thermometer a few centimeters into the rectum.

You get a correct measurement when the tip of the thermometer touches the inside of the intestine.

By cleaning and disinfecting the thermometer correctly before and after use, you prevent bacteria from spreading unintentionally.

Attention danger!

Don’t take a fever reading with a digital thermometer in your dog’s mouth or ears!

Not only are the readings inaccurate, there is a great risk of injury!

Causes of fever in dogs

As in humans, fever in dogs is often an accompanying symptom of an illness.

Fever is also a natural defense reaction of the body. This stimulates your own defenses and immune system to fight the disease, pathogens or inflammation.

The following three causes are the most common when your dog suddenly develops a fever.

Viral infection

Like us, dogs can get the flu and the common cold. Tonsillitis or even bronchitis can also make your dog sick.

In addition to the general symptoms of the disease, a dry cough is usually also noticeable here. Kennel cough is very common. However, this can be prevented by vaccination.

If you suspect kennel cough, you should consult your veterinarian as this disease is highly contagious.

Bacterial infection

Many bacterial infections such as lung, intestinal, liver, bladder or heart inflammation bring an increased body temperature as a side effect.

Bladder infection is probably the most common cause in this area.

If you notice that your dog often has the need to urinate but can only pass small amounts of urine, please consult your veterinarian.

Bladder infections are very painful and bacterial infections in general require treatment with antibiotics.

When to the vet?

Fever should always be taken seriously, as it is usually an accompanying symptom and not a disease in its own right.

However, you do not have to consult a veterinarian immediately with every sign of fever.

If your dog has a fever that is not life-threatening, monitor him. Measure body temperature regularly so that you can intervene immediately in an emergency.

However, fever often goes away on its own.


If your dog has a body temperature of over 41 degrees Celsius for a longer period of time (a few hours), you should urgently consult a veterinarian.

Such an elevated temperature is life threatening to your dog and requires action on your part.

Why online?

Because you can get an appointment very quickly without exposing your sick dog to the stress of going to the clinic.

Reduce fever in dogs: what can I do if the dog has a fever?

Does your dog have a fever in the “normal range”?

Of course, it is difficult to put the tried and tested vinegar socks on your dog from grandma’s home remedy pharmacy, but there are still a few things you can do to help your dog.


If your dog has a fever, this simply means that his body is fighting an illness or inflammation. This is very tiring, so you should make sure your dog gets plenty of rest during this time.

A small round of pee is enough. Fun and excursions should be left out during this time


Make sure your dog drinks enough. If your dog absolutely doesn’t want to drink water, then I recommend my secret recipe: bone broth!


If your dog gets a fever, that’s no reason to panic right away. Of course, fever is usually a side effect of an illness, but it often goes away on its own.

Observe your dog and look for the accompanying symptoms and measure the body temperature regularly. Offer your dog rest, make sure it has enough liquid, and keep an eye on it.

Remember, from 41 degrees there is an urgent need for action.

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