Look for signs like when he doesn’t want to get up to go for a walk, or passes on supervising our every move in the kitchen, you know something is amiss
New Delhi, November 28, 2019: With dogs, it can be hard to tell when they’re not feeling well. And even when you know something’s not right, figuring out the cause is an entirely different challenge!
Know what’s normal:
The most important step in figuring out whether your dog has a fever is knowing his normal temperature. Just like people, with healthy body temperatures ranging from 97.6 to 99.6, dogs’ normal body temperatures vary. Dogs can range anywhere from 100.4 to 102.5. To figure out what’s “normal” for your dog, you’ll need to take his temperature when he’s feeling well, or make a note of it during a routine vet visit (not when he’s sick). Also, temperatures can vary a bit throughout the day. Knowing your dog’s healthy pulse, respiratory rate, and capillary refill time are also handy tools in assessing a potential illness.
Watch for symptoms:
You know what it feels like to have a fever, and your dog feels much the same way. Look for signs like when he doesn’t want to get up to go for a walk, or passes on supervising our every move in the kitchen, you know something is amiss. Glassy-looking eyes and feeling warm to the touch are your next hints, and you can also watch for shivering, panting, runny nose, loss of appetite, decreased energy, and depression. When any combination of these symptoms appears, you should know that it’s time to get out the thermometer.
Get a digital thermometer meant for rectal use and mark it “Dog Thermometer” or keep it somewhere away from your human medicine cabinet. You don’t want a sick family member to accidentally use it in a feverish haze! Measuring your dog’s body heat cannot be accurately gauged by feeling his nose. After lubricating the tip of a digital thermometer with petroleum or water soluble jelly, lift your dog’s tail up and to the side to prevent him from sitting, and carefully insert the thermometer 1⁄2” to 1” into the rectum. Then wait for the thermometer to beep, indicating that it’s registered your dog’s temperature. If your pup’s temperature is higher than normal, it may be time to call your veterinarian.
Causes & Treatment:
Like in humans, your dog’s body runs a fever to fight off infection or inflammation. Anything from an infected cut to a virus … a urinary tract infection to pneumonia… can cause your pet to run a fever – so how do you know when to be really concerned? Our advice is that any fever warrants a call to the vet to let them know what’s going on and get their advice. Temperatures under 103 can generally be monitored at home for up to 24 hours, but anything higher or longer than that requires a trip to the vet. A temperature of 106 degrees or higher can damage a dog’s internal organs and may be fatal, so this is a very serious condition. Other than offering him small amounts of water, talk to your vet before taking any action to reduce your dog’s fever. Giving him aspirin, for example, would prevent the veterinarian from administering other medications that might be more effective in lowering his temperature. If your dog’s fever is serious enough to require a trip to the vet, he will probably be put on IV fluids and receive anti-inflammatory medication. Your vet will also likely suggest blood work to see if provides any insight into what might be causing your pet’s fever. Unfortunately, because so many things can cause fever, it’s often difficult to nail down the culprit.
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