Dogs are known for their playful and energetic nature. However, as pet owners, it’s important to keep a close eye on our furry friends’ body temperature. Knowing what is considered normal and abnormal can help us identify potential health issues and take appropriate action. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about dog temperature, according to a veterinary expert.
What is Normal Dog Temperature?
The normal body temperature for dogs ranges from 99.5°F to 102.5°F (37.5°C to 39.2°C). This temperature range is considered normal for most healthy adult dogs. However, it’s important to note that puppies and senior dogs may have slightly different temperature ranges.
It’s also important to note that a dog’s temperature can vary based on factors such as physical activity, stress, and environmental temperature. Therefore, it’s important to take these factors into account when monitoring your dog’s temperature.
How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature
The most accurate way to take your dog’s temperature is rectally using a digital thermometer. Here are the steps to follow:
- Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or water-based lubricant.
- Hold your dog still and gently lift their tail.
- Insert the thermometer into the rectum about one inch.
- Hold the thermometer in place for one minute or until it beeps.
- Remove the thermometer and record the temperature.
If your dog is not comfortable with this method, you can also take their temperature using an ear thermometer or an infrared thermometer. However, these methods may not be as accurate as rectal temperature readings.
What Causes High Dog Temperature?
A high body temperature in dogs, also known as hyperthermia, can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Infection – bacterial or viral infections can cause fever in dogs.
- Heat stroke – dogs can overheat when exposed to high temperatures or when left in a parked car.
- Excessive exercise – intense physical activity can cause a rise in body temperature.
- Medications – some medications can cause fever as a side effect.
- Stress – stress can cause a rise in body temperature.
What Causes Low Dog Temperature?
A low body temperature in dogs, also known as hypothermia, can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Cold exposure – dogs can get hypothermia if they are exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time.
- Shock – shock can cause a drop in body temperature.
- Underlying health conditions – certain health conditions can cause hypothermia in dogs.
- Medications – some medications can cause a drop in body temperature as a side effect.
When to See a Vet
If your dog’s temperature is outside of the normal range, it’s important to monitor their behavior and contact a veterinarian if necessary. Here are some signs that your dog may need medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
- Lethargy or weakness
- Loss of appetite or vomiting
- Shivering or trembling
- Seizures or collapse
Tips for Keeping Your Dog’s Temperature Normal
Here are some tips for keeping your dog’s temperature within the normal range:
- Provide plenty of fresh water and shade on hot days.
- Avoid leaving your dog in a parked car.
- Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest parts of the day.
- Keep your dog warm during cold weather with a coat or sweater.
- Monitor your dog’s behavior and contact a veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities.
Dog temperature is an important indicator of your furry friend’s health. Knowing what is considered normal and abnormal can help you identify potential health issues and take appropriate action. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can help keep your dog healthy and happy.