Does Your Dog Have a Fever?

Like humans, dogs get fevers. Unlike humans, the causes, symptoms and healing process for a feverish dog is different.

For one, dogs cannot sweat a fever out. Also, the normal body temperature for a dog ranges between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. So anything starting at 103°F or higher is considered a fever for dogs.

Secondly, it is not always easy to pinpoint the cause of a dog’s fever from the surface level. Therefore, it is important to know the fever could be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

Here is how to tell if your dog has a fever.


Some warnings signs to look for in a feverish dog include:

  • Red eyes
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Warm ears
  • Warm, dry nose
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

As with every illness, symptoms differ between dogs. If you do notice any of these changes in your four-legged friend, be sure to check his or her temperature; it might be that your beloved dog has developed a fever.

But do not be alarmed right away. A fever is a natural response in dogs that notifies their owner of a possible underlying cause.

Possible Causes of Fever

An infection, inflammation or the ingestion of a toxic plant or chemical could all be potential reasons for your dog’s fever.

Possible causes for a fever in your dog include:

  • Bite or scratch from another animal
  • Ear infection
  • UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
  • Pneumonia
  • Fungal, bacterial or viral disease
  • Ingestion of toxic chemical such as antifreeze
  • Ingestion of toxic plant

Vaccinations are also a common reason for a dog to have a fever. With vaccinations, and fevers in general, as long as your dog’s temperature is back to normal within 48 hours, your dog should be okay.

Golden Retriever laying in bed with fever

Should I Call My Vet?

According to pets.webmd, if your dog’s temperature is above 103°F it is recommended you contact your vet as soon as possible. Notify the vet of any other symptoms. Be sure to let your vet know of any recent physical injuries your dog might have obtained or if he or she was around any toxic chemicals or plants.

If your dog has a fever of 106°F or above, it is considered an emergency and could be fatal to your dog. See your local vet right away.

How to Comfort Your Dog

So, your dog has a fever? Luckily, there are ways to help reduce his or her discomfort. Here are a few home remedies that may make your feverish four-legged pal feel better.

Home Remedies

Use a wet rag to apply cool water to your dog’s fur. Make sure to especially get around his ears and feet.

You can also place your dog in front of a fan, which will help cool your dog down. As you do this, gradually keep checking your dog’s temperature to see if the fever has gone down. You also want to make sure to keep their temperature balanced, so that their body temperature doesn’t go below their normal range.

Keep your dog hydrated; make sure to give him or her plenty of water. If your dog is not receptive to the water, try some chicken or beef broth. Either of those might be a bit more tempting!

Human Medication

It is highly recommended that you do not give your dog human medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Human medication is known to be toxic to dogs.

Aspirin, on the other hand, is still an ongoing debatable topic. It might be best to first advise your vet before giving your dog any aspirin. If your vet says it is okay to give your dog aspirin, make sure to attain knowledge about the proper way to do so. If given incorrectly, aspirin can have serious health consequences for your dog.

Essential Oils

Avoid essential oils or herbs unless your vet says it is okay, for certain essential oils are toxic to dogs.


We, at Acoma Animal Clinic in Tucson, are always happy to help our clients better understand their best friends. By keeping our clients highly informed of pet illnesses, we hope they will then be able to get the proper treatment for their four-legged friend. If you should have any questions, please reach out!

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