Dogs Fever: How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Fever without a Thermometer

Written By caroline

Caroline is a freelance science writer with a PhD in physical chemistry. She has a particular interest in the area of temperature measurement and has written extensively on the topic for a variety of science-focused websites. Kittens, lego, and barbeques are some of her other passions. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with her two cats.





It can be very worrying when your pet is unwell and you don’t know what’s wrong. One of the most common illnesses found in dogs is fever – and if your pet does have one, it’s important to know so you can get them the help and treatment they need.

But how can you tell if your dog has a fever without using a thermometer? In this article we’ll explain how to tell if your dog has a fever without a thermometer so you can make sure your pet stays healthy and happy.

How to tell if dog has fever without thermometer

It’s a misconception that you can tell if a dog is running a fever by feeling the midsection of their nose – while they may have slightly higher temperatures than humans, it’s not always an accurate indicator of illness. But how else can you find out if your pup is running a fever? Here are several ways to tell if your pet is unwell without needing a thermometer:

  • Check for changes in behavior. Dogs tend to be quite vocal about letting us know when something isn’t quite right. Monitoring your pet for any sudden lapses in energy levels or other forms of behavioral changes can be indicative of a fever. Make sure to observe their willingness to cuddle, interact with other pets, and general willingness to move around in usual ways.
  • Look out for physical changes. Apart from a change in demeanor, keeping an eye out for other signs such as dry nose, coughing, or vomiting can be an indication that something is off. They may also have poor appetite or excessive sleeping beyond the usual daily amount.
  • Check your dog’s temperature. While this should not be done with bare hands, using the back of wrist provides some sense of accuracy — if their temperature feels hotter than normal, they may potentially have a fever. Additionally, touching the ear flap and other parts of the body can provide additional information that could suggest presence of fever.
  • Note any general body discomfort. If your dog seems to be uncomfortable when you touch certain parts of their body such as their groin area or stomach area, then it is likely they are running a mild fever.
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In short, there are various ways for figuring out if your beloved pooch has caught a chill beyond just checking their nose. While taking their temperature is the best way to accurately detect whether or not they are running a high temperature, it is possible to ascertain symptoms of illness through simple observation.

Heat Check: Can You Feel If Your Dog Has a Fever?

It’s a common myth that you can accurately tell if a dog has a fever simply by touching their nose and feeling if it’s warm or dry. But the truth is, dogs actually run warmer than humans to begin with – so this method of diagnosis really isn’t accurate.

So if you suspect your pup is running a fever, the best way to be certain is to take their body temperature. There are various ways to do this, but here are some guidelines on how to get an accurate reading:

  • Find a digital thermometer which can be used either orally, rectally or in the armpit (depending on the age of your pet).
  • Make sure your pet is as relaxed and calm as possible before taking the temperature.
  • Wash thermometer thoroughly with hot soapy water prior to use.
  • If using in the armpit make sure fur is pushed out of the way, use lubricant and insert no more than one inch.
  • When measuring orally place the tip in one side of the mouth for about one minute.
  • If using rectally, ensure that you have some petroleum jelly to use as lubricant and insert no more than one inch.

Normal body temperature for dogs is between 100-102.5F (37.8-39.2C). Anything above this range may indicate fever and should be checked by a vet.

An important factor to keep in mind when trying to diagnose fever in your pup, is to be aware of other symptoms they might be showing – such as listlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite or depression.

If you notice that your pup is displaying any of these symptoms along with an elevated temperature it would be advisable to take them into the vet for further assessment and treatment.

At-Home Temperature Taking: Checking Your Dog’s Fever

Taking your dog’s temperature can be a difficult and intimidating prospect. We understand this, so we want to make it easier for you. By taking the right steps and following some simple instructions, your pet’s health can be monitored quickly and safely.

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First, get a thermometer designed for animal use. Traditional human thermometers should not be used on animals as they may cause damage or provide inaccurate readings. To accurately measure your pet’s temperature, look for a digital or ear thermometer specifically designed for animals.

Once the thermometer is ready to go, coat it in a lubricant like petroleum jelly or baby oil before getting started. This ensures that your pet’s delicate anus won’t be harmed by the thermometer. Then, gently insert the thermometer into their anus about one inch and wait until you receive results.

Most good quality animal thermometers read results in less than 60 seconds. Be sure to store your thermometer Cleaning and storing your thermometer properly will help ensure accurate readings on your pet in the future. Cleaning the thermometer after each use is essential to prevent any bacteria from forming. You should also keep the thermometer out of direct sunlight or extreme cold temperatures.

For best results, follow these tips when taking your pet’s temperature:

  • Always purchase an animal-specific Thermometer
  • Coat with lubricant before use
  • Insert about one inch in anus
  • Wait up to 1 minute for result
  • Clean and store after each use

By following these simple directions and getting the right thermometer you can easily monitor your pet’s temperature at home. This can give you greater peace of mind while providing much needed help with keeping them healthy.

how to tell if dog has fever without thermometer

Keeping a Lid on It: Is Fever Detectable On Your Dog’s Head?

It’s definitely possible to detect a fever on your pup’s head. In fact, it’s one of the more common signs that a pup is running a temperature. Dogs have an immune response to defending against bacteria and other infectious organisms, and part of that response is to elevate the body’s temperature.

This means that when you touch a pup’s head, you may feel warmth or even hotness that could be indicative of a fever. To give yourself a better idea of whether this warmth is due to a fever, you should also look for other signs:

  • Lethargy: If your pup is feeling more sluggish than normal, they may be experiencing a fever.
  • Decreased appetite: A lack of interest in food or water could be an indication of a temperature.
  • Coughing and sneezing: Coughing and sneezing are common symptoms of an infectious illness that could lead to a fever in a pup.
  • Runny nose and eyes: Runny noses and eyes can also accompany an infection or virus in dogs.
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If you notice any of these warning signs and the pup’s head feels warmer than normal when you touch it, then your suspicions may be correct: they may have a fever. It is important to get them seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible so they can receive the necessary medical care they need.

Fevers can cause serious health issues in both dogs and humans if left untreated. So if you think your pup might have a fever, take preventive measures right away! And if the temperature does end up being caused by something infectious, remember that this heightened response helps the immune system fight off the bacteria or virus more effectively like it does for us.

Feverish Behavior – How Fever Affects Man’s Best Friend

If your dog has a fever, it can be alarming. A fever in dogs is seen as a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Some common signs that your pooch may have a fever include excessive panting, lethargy, shivering and their ears feeling hot to the touch.

You might find your pup acting differently than usual; he might be listless and uninterested in activities that he usually enjoys, or he might just seem off in some way. As his body tries to fight infection, it will naturally take its toll on him.

Some other common symptoms that you might see with a fever include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing

These symptoms can be linked to the underlying cause of the fever, so if you notice them accompanying the fever it’s important to visit the vet for further testing.

It’s important to keep an eye on any changes in behavior; not all fevers are caused by illness, but if an illness has caused the fever then it’s best to catch it early on. In that case, your vet may be able to provide medication or treatments to manage the illness and reduce any effects on your pup’s overall health. If a fever isn’t linked to an underlying illness then there are still some things that can be done to help your pup recover.

If you think your four-legged friend has a fever, observe the symptoms closely and contact your vet right away.