Dog Temperature Measurement: How to Check a Dog's Temperature

Dog temperature can be an indicator of fever, hypothermia or hyperthermia. It's helpful to check the dog's temperature on a regular basis, so that you can detect possible problems before it's too late and be able to get treatment when needed.

Dog Average Temperature

If the dog is healthy, he will have a normal temperature. The average normal temperature in canines is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 and 39.2 °C). Anything above or below these values may indicate a health problem. However, some dog breeds may have higher or lower normal temperatures. After meals, due to digestion, a dog's temperature may not be accurate, so the temperature shouldn't be taken immediately after meals.

Dog Temperature Measurement

To measure your pet's temperature you will need a thermometer, which may be an ear thermometer or a rectal thermometer. Ideally, you should use a rectal thermometer, which will give more accurate results. Taking the temperature with an ear thermometer may not give the best results, as the dog may move.

Get someone to help you hold the pet still. Make sure the thermometer is set on a neutral temperature. Apply some petroleum jelly on the thermometer's head and gently introduce the thermometer 1 inch deep into the rectum of the dog. Meanwhile, keep your pet calm. You may cover him in a warm towel, which will soothe him. Keep the thermometer in place for two to three minutes and extract it. Read the result and note it down. Give your dog a treat as a reward, so that the experience will be remembered as a pleasurable one. Shake the thermometer and clean it with some rubbing alcohol.

Take the dog's temperature at two different times in a day, as the results may vary, depending on the animal's metabolism and the type of disease that causes the fever.

Fever Indicators

There are a few indicators pointing to fever, which should get you to check your pet's temperature. A dog with fever will be less energetic and may also lack appetite. Dehydration is common, especially if the dog refuses to drink water. Other fever symptoms will include:

  • Warm skin
  • Dry nose
  • Pale nose and mucous membranes
  • The back of the ears will be hot
  • Hiding behavior

Hypothermia Indicators

If your dog has hypothermia he will display a few of the following symptoms:

  • Shivering
  • Blue gums
  • Panting
  • Fainting
  • Seizures

Other Symptoms

Fever of hypothermia may be caused by a wide range of medical conditions including:

These conditions may manifest through a few symptoms, which you should watch out for and should prompt you to check your pet's temperature. These symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the vomit and diarrhea