How Do You Know If a Dog Has a Fever?

Many dog owners believe that a dry and warm nose indicates fever in their dog. Unfortunately, because their body temperature varies throughout the day for various reasons, such a test may not always work effectively.

If your dog has a fever, it is essential that you carefully observe their symptoms and take them to see their veterinarian as soon as possible. They will need an understanding of your pet’s medical history and recent travels.

Changes in Behavior

Dogs exhibiting symptoms of fever include physical signs as well as behavioral ones; for instance, acting lethargic and unwilling to move or showing lack of appetite are other telltale signs. Other symptoms may include shivering, vomiting and diarrhea – so if any of your pet shows any of these characteristics it should be brought into the vet immediately for examination.

An accurate thermometer is key in taking your dog’s temperature. Dr. Coates advises using a rectal thermometer; specifically designed for dogs is best, although normal human thermometers will also do the trick as long as sufficient lubricant (petroleum jelly works fine) is applied before measuring their temperatures before exercise or sunbathing activities can alter this reading. It is especially important that temperatures be taken before physical activities like running or sleeping because these activities could increase body heat which could skew readings inaccurately.

Your veterinarian will begin by taking an in-depth history of your dog’s medical problems, medications, recent events and any relevant events. Next he will perform a physical exam to look for signs of illness such as swollen lymph nodes or abdominal swelling or pain as well as signs of illness or disease such as blood tests, urinalysis or radiographs that might aid in diagnosing its source.

Sometimes a veterinarian cannot identify the source of fever. This condition is known as fever of unknown origin (FUO) and could be due to immune system disorders, bone marrow issues or undiagnosed infections.

Runny Nose

Dogs use their extraordinary sense of smell to explore their world, including sniffing leaves, dirt, poop and people as well as animals. A little thin clear discharge may occasionally come out of a dog’s nose but is unlikely to cause concern, particularly when combined with symptoms like sneezing coughing loss of appetite or difficulty breathing (stertor).

Any dog experiencing a persistent, runny nose, sudden change in color such as yellow, green or cloudy appearance or signs such as mucous production or blood should visit their veterinarian as soon as possible for assessment and care. They could be suffering from conditions that need immediate medical intervention such as urinary tract infection, respiratory infection or even cancer that need immediate medical treatment.

Veterinarians will perform a comprehensive physical exam and review of your pet’s complete medical history, providing important details like recent travel or boarding experiences, flea or tick exposure risks and any supplements or medications they are currently taking for their pet.

An ear or rectal thermometer will be used to check your dog’s temperature. To get an accurate reading, be sure to use one specially designed for canines so as to provide accurate results. Once this information has been established, your vet can then diagnose the condition and provide treatment guidelines.

Glassy Eyes

Symptoms of fever in dogs include lethargy, poor appetite, excessive drinking of water and a dry and warm nose. You should use a pet-specific rectal thermometer or an ear thermometer at home to take their temperature; if it exceeds 103 degrees they should be taken to their veterinarian immediately for an exam and lab tests that may identify what has caused their fever.

Fevers can be beneficial to dogs as they help kill any bacteria or viruses that might be making them sick, while at the same time stimulating their immune systems so as to limit growth of bacteria and viruses at regular body temperatures.

But it can be challenging to pinpoint the source of your dog’s fever, leading to Fevers of Unknown Origin (FUO). Without an extensive medical history on file for your pup, your veterinarian will require detailed descriptions of symptoms including travel or boarding experience, exposure to unknown animals, medications taken to reduce fever, allergies and any previous illnesses as well as any human medicines used to reduce fever as these could prove fatal or cause severe harm or even death in dogs.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is often the first indicator that something is amiss, whether that means an infection, disease or injury is present.

If your dog has stopped eating, it’s important to contact a vet as soon as possible so they can conduct a comprehensive physical exam to identify any underlying problems. They will need information regarding vaccinations, surgeries, allergies, medications and illnesses your pet has had in addition to noting any symptoms they’ve observed from you or by themselves.

At a physical exam, your veterinarian will take your dog’s temperature. While ear and rectal thermometers are commonly used, depending on your pet’s situation and veterinarian advice. Accuracy when measuring temperature is vitally important; digital rectal thermometers or ear thermometers designed specifically for pets should be used when taking temperature readings.

If your dog has stopped eating and has a low fever, it’s essential that they see their veterinarian immediately. He or she will conduct a full physical exam as well as laboratory tests such as bloodwork, urinalysis or radiographs as soon as possible.


Dogs are typically fun-loving and affectionate pets; however, like humans they too can experience depression. Dogs may become depressed if they’re sick and don’t feel well or receiving less love and attention than normal from their pet parents.

An unhappy dog may lose his or her appetite or become lethargic and not play or eat as often. They could also experience difficulty breathing and heart rate regulation and start shaking more than normal, which should raise concerns. Depression in a dog is serious business so it’s crucial that owners monitor any changes to your pup.

If your pet displays signs of depression, such as excessively licking their paws or hiding under the bed, it is best to bring them in for tests and treatment at your local veterinarian clinic. In some instances, they might recommend medications similar to what would be given out for human patients suffering depression.

If your dog is showing signs of depression, a bit of extra attention and healthy food should help bring them out of it. Try giving lots of cuddles, playing more with them and making sure they get adequate exercise. There are also natural herbs such as lavender for stress relief or peppermint for mood boosting that can also provide energy and relaxation benefits to their mental state. Finally, it’s wise to keep a regular schedule as dogs thrive when knowing what’s ahead.


Dehydration should never become a concern when your dog is suffering from fever. Severe dehydration can prevent organs from functioning normally due to decreased blood flow and oxygen in their system – an emergency medical situation and must be treated as such. If your pup suddenly seems disinterested in drinking water, exhibiting sunken eyes and dry nose, tacky gums or vomiting, these could all be indicators that they have become dehydrated.

One quick test you can do to check their hydration level is touching their neck skin – when properly hydrated it will return immediately, while dehydrated dogs might take several seconds or even longer before returning back into its original position. Touch their gums too and see how quickly they become pink after you release your finger; in hydrated dogs’ gums will be moist and pink while dehydrated ones might be tacky or dry.

If your dog is mildly dehydrated, try giving small sips of water or ice cubes every few minutes or giving ice cubes as treats to lick. But if they begin vomiting while dehydrated it may be necessary to visit an emergency vet immediately for fluids and treatment of their illness; in extreme cases this may involve hospitalisation for intravenous fluid therapy.

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