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Tips For Discovering If Your Dog Has A Fever

May 6, 2008
Fido is lying listless in his bed; not even the temptation of slobbering on Aunty Mavis is of interest to him; his food is untouched, he may not be drinking much and a nice "walkies" is completely out the question. His eyes are dull and his manner is depressed. What on earth is the matter with Fido? It is unlikely that he's simply bored with his home life; it's probably indicative that Fido might be ill; and these listless behavioural symptoms are a sign of fever.

If you touch Fido around the ears or the nose he may feel hot. Just as with humans a fever will raise the overall temperature to combat infections from bacteria, viruses and ingested toxins, the same is true of dogs. In humans touching the skin will ascertain if the temperature is raised. However, a dog's temperature is normally 3 degrees above that of a human: somewhere between 37.8C (100F) and 39.3C (102.7F). So Fido will naturally feel warm; but to a human touch how warm is warm? Fido is not in a position to speak.

It may be that he is showing more obvious signs of illness, such as scratching, pain when he moves, or vomiting and/or diarrhoea. If there is any doubt about a fever in Fido, the only way to prove concretely is to take his temperature using a thermometer.

The usual method of taking a dog's temperature with a thermometer is via the rectum. Obviously this will not be the most enjoyable experience for poor old Fido, particularly if he's not feeling at his best. Insertion can be made easier by coating the thermometer with petroleum jelly.

Of course when in doubt it's always best to consult a vet, but if the temperature is slightly above 102F, and he's not showing any very serious signs of illness, then this might only be a mild fever. It may be considered wise to allow Fido to fight this off himself; it will boost his immune system. Unfortunately, as the temperature is being taking rectally, poo poo lurking in his back passage could give a false reading. Take his temperature at regular intervals, particularly after he's evacuated his bowels. If his temperature increases, or was already at 105 or above, Fido is a very ill dog and will need immediate medical attention.
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Is your puppy barking, nipping, biting, aggressive, fearful, struggling with potty training, or suffering from other unwanted behavioral issues? Eliminate almost any dog behavior problem overnight with these astounding new puppy training techniques!
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