Similar to their human friends, dogs too get fever. Fever or the rise of internal body temperature is an indication that something is wrong with the health of the dog. In an effort to fight invasive noxious bacterial or viral agents, the body will generate heat that is beyond the set point of body temperature. Canine normal temperature that is from 100°F to 102°F is higher than the 98°F which is the normal body temperature of humans. This higher body temperature makes diagnosing canine fever rather difficult more so because dogs cannot verbalize what they feel and older dogs commonly would not show any symptoms.

What signs should you look for to be able to tell if the dog has a fever? A healthy dog would be bright eyed and have an alert expression. Dogs are naturally energetic but a fevered one would be less active. Instead of playing, the dog would prefer to lie down all day. Dogs are food motivated but a fevered pet will have no interest in food. A change in behavior is one of the signs that the dog is unwell.

Dogs are affectionate pets and the indifference to the family’s attention is a glaring sign that something is wrong with the pet. Warmer nose, ears and fur will cue you that the pet has a fever. To accurately read temperature of the pet a rectal temperature must be used. It would be best to use rectal thermometer as it would yield quick results.

There are many reasons why a dog would have a fever. Leaving a dog outdoors when the weather is hot can cause body temperature to rise. However, the elevated body temperature is usually caused by infection. Dogs have huge appetites but these animals would turn away from food when they are sick. Pet owner must encourage the dog to eat to prevent dehydration. If the sick dog would not get up to drink, you can use a needleless syringe to squirt water into the mouth of the pet.

Fever that results from infection is usually gone after a day or two even without any treatment. Dog owners must be concerned if the fever lasts for days as in most cases the fever is attributed not to minor cuts and wounds but to a more serious medical concern. Fever that just happened – with no obvious reason would be the hardest to treat. A vet’s expertise will now be needed. Before a course of treatment can be administered to the sick dog, physical examination and a series of diagnostic test must be conducted.

Sarah’s Dogs provides more information on what to do if your dog has a fever and first aid for dogs.

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