Do Dogs Get Fevers

A dog with a thermometer in its mouth

As pet owners, we always want to ensure that our furry companions are healthy and happy. One sign that might indicate something’s off with our dogs is when they’re running a fever. But do dogs get fevers just like us humans do? The answer is yes, they can, and it’s essential for dog owners to understand the basics of dog fevers in order to ensure their pets’ well-being.

Understanding the Basics of Dog Fevers

A fever in dogs is essentially a rise in body temperature, usually above the normal range of 100-102.5°F. It’s a way the body tries to fight off infections or other illnesses. Just like humans, dogs’ immune systems activate when they’re fighting an infection, which can cause their temperature to rise. So, in essence, a fever in your dog can be considered a sign of an underlying health issue, rather than an ailment in itself.

It is important to note that not all fevers in dogs require immediate medical attention. In fact, a mild fever can often be treated at home with rest and plenty of fluids. However, if your dog’s fever persists for more than 24-48 hours, or if they exhibit other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting, it’s important to seek veterinary care. Your vet can help determine the underlying cause of the fever and provide appropriate treatment to help your furry friend feel better.

Causes of Fever in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Now that we know what dog fever is, let’s take a closer look at what can cause it in the first place. There are several culprits that can cause your pet to run a fever, including:

  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasites
  • Tumors
  • Inflammation from injury or surgery
  • Toxicity

It’s important to note, however, that not all instances of elevated body temperature warrant a fever diagnosis. Dogs can run a temperature for various reasons, such as physical activity, excitement, or anxiety. Furthermore, fever in puppies and senior dogs may indicate different underlying issues that may require special attention.

It is also worth mentioning that certain breeds of dogs may be more prone to developing fevers than others. For example, breeds with short snouts, such as bulldogs and pugs, may have difficulty regulating their body temperature and are more susceptible to overheating. Additionally, dogs with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or with chronic illnesses, may be more prone to developing fevers as their bodies struggle to fight off infections.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Fever

The first step in determining if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature. You can use a digital thermometer to take a reading from their rectum. Bear in mind that you need to lubricate the thermometer in vaseline or something similar before measurement. The normal temperature range for adult dogs is 100-102.5°F, while for puppies and elderly dogs, it’s slightly higher, at 99-100.5°F. If your dog’s reading is higher than their usual temperature, then you may have a case of canine fever on your hands.

Aside from taking your dog’s temperature, there are other signs that may indicate a fever. These include lethargy, loss of appetite, shivering, and dehydration. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to monitor their temperature and seek veterinary care if necessary.

It’s also important to note that fevers in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, inflammation, and even cancer. If your dog has a fever that lasts for more than 24 hours, or if they are exhibiting other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of a Fever in Dogs: A Guide for Pet Owners

Aside from a higher than usual body temperature, your furry buddy may show other signs of fever. Make sure to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Decreased appetite and thirst
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shivering or trembling
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Reddened eyes and mouth
  • Difficulty breathing

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms along with a temperature above normal, contact your veterinarian immediately.

It is important to note that fever in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including infections, inflammation, and even cancer. In some cases, a fever may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Therefore, it is crucial to seek veterinary care if your dog is experiencing a fever, especially if it persists for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Types of Fevers in Dogs and Associated Risks

While all fevers in dogs stem from the same basic issue – fighting off an illness or infection – it’s worth noting that there are two main types of fever – acute and chronic. Acute fever occurs over a short period of time and is often accompanied by other symptoms of an underlying condition like vomiting or diarrhea. Chronic fever, on the other hand, typically lasts for weeks or more and doesn’t come with any other symptoms of an underlying condition. Prolonged, high fever may cause damage to organs and other complications in the body, so it is critical to take quick action if the fever persists.

Prevention Techniques for Canine Fevers: A Comprehensive List

Since fevers in dogs often arise as a consequence of underlying health problems, preventing these issues from developing should reduce the likelihood of your dog developing a fever. Some prevention techniques include:

  • Vaccination programs, protection from ectoparasites, and regular deworming
  • Maintaining a clean environment for your dog
  • Regular visits to your veterinarian and wellness check-ups for your dog
  • Proper hygiene and nutrition
  • Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle
  • Quarantining dogs that have infectious illnesses to prevent spreading to other dogs

It is important to note that some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing fevers than others. For example, breeds with short snouts, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more susceptible to respiratory infections that can lead to fevers. Additionally, older dogs and those with weakened immune systems may be more at risk for developing fevers. It is important to be aware of these factors and take extra precautions to prevent fevers in these dogs.

Treatment Options for Fevers in Dogs: Medications and Home Remedies

When it comes to treating canine fever, it’s important to remember that the underlying cause of the fever needs to be addressed for the fever to go away. Your veterinarian will perform a series of diagnostic tests to identify the cause of the fever and then prescribe the appropriate medication or treatment. Unless you are a medical professional qualified to prescribe medications to dogs, it is highly recommended that you do not try to treat the underlying cause by yourself.

However, you may use home remedies to alleviate the symptoms of fever. Some common remedies include:

  • Place a wet towel over your dog’s forehead or ears for thirty minutes
  • Give them a cool bath or allow them to swim in a clean swimming pool or pond
  • Provide plenty of rest and ensure they’re well-hydrated
  • Feed them a bland diet such as rice and boiled chicken
  • Ensure they keep warm, but not too hot

It’s important to note that while home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of fever, they should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment. If your dog’s fever persists or worsens, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Additionally, if your dog is experiencing other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, it’s important to inform your veterinarian as these may be signs of a more serious underlying condition.

How to Help Your Dog Recover from a Fever

After visiting the veterinarian and receiving appropriate treatment, it’s up to pet owners to ensure their dog recovers properly from a fever. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Make sure they stay hydrated and give them plenty of food to keep their strength up (unless you are instructed to fast your pet)
  • Give the medication as directed by the vet, and be sure to complete the entire round for maximum recovery
  • Ensure they get plenty of rest, keep their environment stress-free, and avoid any strenuous activity

In addition to the above steps, it’s important to monitor your dog’s temperature regularly to ensure it doesn’t spike again. You can do this by using a rectal thermometer, which can be purchased at most pet stores. If your dog’s temperature remains high or they show any signs of discomfort or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately.

When to See a Veterinarian for Your Dog’s Fever

If your pet is running a fever, it is always recommended to see your veterinarian for proper examination and treatment. You should urgently visit a veterinarian if:

  • Your dog is not eating or drinking or is lethargic
  • Their fever is very high, over 104°F (40°C)
  • The fever has continued for more than 24 hours
  • Your dog appears to be in pain or distress

Remember, always keep an eye on your pet, and never hesitate to seek professional help from your veterinarian.

It is important to note that a fever in dogs can be a symptom of an underlying health issue. In some cases, a fever may be a sign of an infection, such as a bacterial or viral infection. Other times, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as cancer or an autoimmune disease. Therefore, it is crucial to have your dog examined by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the fever and provide appropriate treatment.

Common Misconceptions about Canine Fevers

There are certain misconceptions about fevers in dogs that pet owners should be aware of. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  • Social myths suggest that a dog’s nose should be cold if they don’t have a fever, which is untrue. A dog can have a fever even when their nose still feels cold.
  • Another myth is that you need to bring a dog’s fever down below 103°F. This is not always the case – a vet may recommend that the fever is allowed to run its course, depending on the dog’s condition and severity of the fever.

It is important to note that a fever is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. Therefore, it is crucial to identify and treat the root cause of the fever, rather than just focusing on reducing the fever itself.

Additionally, it is important to monitor a dog’s behavior and other symptoms in addition to their temperature. A dog with a fever may exhibit other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting. If these symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.


As you can see, fever in dogs is not a simple issue. It can arise from a range of causes and can have serious repercussions if left untreated. However, by properly educating yourself on the issue and taking appropriate preventative and care measures, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

It is important to note that not all dogs will exhibit the same symptoms when they have a fever. Some may show signs of lethargy and loss of appetite, while others may have a decreased interest in physical activity. It is crucial to monitor your dog’s behavior and take note of any changes in their routine or habits.

If you suspect that your dog has a fever, it is best to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination and run diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the fever. In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat the fever and prevent any further complications.

Related Posts

Annual Vet Bills: $1,500+

Be Prepared for the unexpected.