Recognizing dog fever symptoms is essential so you can detect a sick dog and get him the medical treatment he needs. Fever in dogs can indiciate life-threatening illness or infection, so it's always a good idea to call your vet if your dog has a fever.
Signs of Overheating
When your dog has a fever, his body temperature is elevated. While most people wouldn't think to take their dog's temperature, or know how to do it properly, you can be on the lookout for other signs of an elevated body temperature.
If your dog is drinking excessively, acting lethargic and has problems urinating (or urinates excessively), he might be overheating due to a fever. Be on the lookout for excessive panting that doesn't stop. If your dog displays any of these symptoms for 24 hours or more, get him to a vet immediately.
Be Alert for Digestive Problems
Sometimes you might not be able to tell that your dog has a fever, but you might spot other symptoms that could lead you to the conclusion that your dog is ill. If your dog isn't eating, is vomiting, has diarrhea or bloody stool, he could have a serious illness and you should take him to the vet immediately. Likewise, if your dog appears to be eating more food but is losing weight, he could have a fever or dangerous illness.
Watch for Signs of Distress
Sometimes your dog doesn't display any overt signs of illness, but he may have general signs of distress. Call your vet if your dog whines for a prolonged period of time or for no reason, paces restlessly, gets up and lies down repeatedly or engages in other distressed behaviors.
These distress signals differ from normal behavior you'll see when your dog is stressed, such as when your dog has separation anxiety. Be sure to differentiate his typical distress behavior from unusual behavior. A dog in distress could be a seriously ill dog, so be alert for these signals.
Taking Your Dog's Temperature
The only accurate way to take your dog's temperature is rectally. Your dog's body temperature ranges between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit normally. Any temperature over this range is elevated. If your dog's temperature is over 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit, you should seek veterinary help immediately.
If the fever is mild, you can monitor your dog's behavior and temperature at home to see if he recovers. However, if he's displaying any other signs of serious illness, you should get him to the vet immediately, even if he doesn't have a dangerously elevated temperature.
Dog Fever Treatment
Dogs develop fevers because their bodies are trying to fight off some form of infection. The best treatment for your dog's fever is to eliminate the cause of the fever. You can take your dog to the vet and get antibiotics if he has a bacterial infection. Your vet can also recommend a course of treatment if his problem isn't bacterial.
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