Dogs and cats respond to inflammation or infection just like their owners – they develop a fever. We can easily tell if we have a fever and placing a hand on the forehead of a child will reveal the presence (or absence) of a fever. It’s not so easy with a pet. Relying on the ‘dry nose’ theory is not always accurate when deciding if your pet has a fever. Follow these tips for deciphering if your pet has a fever.
It’s the first thing people do if they suspect their dog is sick: they feel of Fido’s nose to see if its dry. As a dog breeder, I know that that perfectly healthy dogs and pups can have dry noses and sick dogs can have wet noses. In other words, don’t rely on the dry nose theory, it’s an old wives tale.
Your behavior changes when you have a fever, so does you pets. Two of the most common behavior changes for a feverish dog ir cat is loss of appetite and lethargy.
Take the Temp
The absolute best way to discover if your pet has a fever is to take their temperature. Grab a partner to hold your dog or cat, apply Vaseline to human rectal thermometer and gently insert into your pet’s rectum ½ to 1 inch (depending on animal size). Rotate the thermometer back and forth for 2 minutes. A normal reading is between 100.5 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another method of taking your pet’s temperature is with an ear thermometer designed for dogs or cats. An ear temperature reading is less invasive for your pet, less gross for you, but not quite as accurate as a rectal reading. A normal ear temperature for a dog or cat is 100 to 103 Fahrenheit and you should be able to determine if your pet has a fever with an ear thermometer, but perhaps not the exact degree unless it’s done properly.
If taking your pets temperature is not something you can do, your veterinarian is well able to do it for a small fee.
If your pet does have a fever, don’t try to treat it at home with over-the-counter human fever reducers. Tylenol or aspirins could produce serious side effects when given to a feverish pet. Call or visit your veterinarian to decide upon the best treatment for a pet with a fever.
All Things Dog