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Dog fever: what to do?


Fever in dogs is one of the symptoms of various underlying diseases and can become dangerous if it gets too high. A visit to the veterinarian is therefore on the program. You can find out what symptoms you can recognize fever, how you can measure and lower it in your four-legged friend here. If the dog has a fever, the causes should first be clarified at the veterinarian - Image: Shutterstock / llaszlo

If a dog has a fever, the cause must first be found. Most of the time this is an illness or inflammation. To fight them, the immune system responds by increasing the body temperature. Because this reaction is important, antipyretic drugs or measures are rarely used and are nowhere near as important as combating the causes of the fever. But when do dogs start talking about fever?

When does the dog have a fever?

The body temperature of an adult dog is usually between 38 ° C and 39 ° C. If it is increased for a short time, it does not necessarily have to be due to illness. Even if your dog has exhausted itself while romping or playing, this can lead to temporary overheating.

However, if the increased body temperature persists or is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, you should assume that your dog really has a fever.

Symptoms: How to recognize fever in the dog

If the dog has a temperature of a little over 39 ° C, one speaks of an elevated temperature, of fever at over 40 ° C. Fever in dogs is usually associated with the fact that the affected animal looks limp and tired. It also often suffers from anorexia, moves less than usual and has an apathetic effect, especially with high fever. The ears can feel hot, and areas of the body that are not very hairy, such as the inside of the legs, are significantly warmed up.

The dog's nose is often warm and dry when there is a fever. Chills and ruffled fur can also be signs of a high temperature. The four-legged friend sleeps a lot. With a high fever, the pulse is increased and the dog breathes faster than normal. Depending on the cause, the fever can be consistently high or occur in phases. It becomes dangerous if the fever in dogs rises to over 42 ° C.

Measuring fever in dogs - how it works

Measuring the fever in the dog happens in the anus - a procedure that is not necessarily pleasant for your four-legged friend, but does not hurt if carefully carried out. It is best to use a digital clinical thermometer for this purpose, which you buy especially for your pet and label accordingly, so that there is no confusion with equipment from the human pharmacy. Then proceed as follows:

  1. Before you start measuring the temperature, grease the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly to make it easier to insert.
  2. The best thing to do is to continue in pairs: one person ensures that the dog lies down, soothes and caresses it, so that it is distracted and does not tense up.
  3. The other lifts the dog's tail and inserts the clinical thermometer approximately 2 centimeters deep into the dog's anus.
  4. If you are using a digital clinical thermometer, wait until the signal tone sounds, which indicates that the measurement has been completed. With a normal clinical thermometer, it takes about 2 minutes for the temperature to settle and the measurement to be exact.
  5. After the measurement, clean the clinical thermometer with disinfectant and wash your hands thoroughly.
  6. If you have noticed an elevated temperature in your four-legged friend, the next route should lead to the vet as soon as possible.

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What are the causes of fever in dogs?

A veterinarian should clarify the cause of fever in dogs because it is usually related to another underlying disease. Fever supports the body's healing process in the event of bacterial or viral infections, immune diseases or inflammation.

Side effects from medication, fungal infections, or rheumatism can also cause fever. In a few cases, however, the fever also occurs without an identifiable cause, which makes treatment more difficult, since it depends on what causes the fever.

How is fever treated in dogs?

The veterinarian usually treats the fever-causing illness with medication, for example with antibiotics. If the dog is on the mend after a while, the fever also subsides.

Because antipyretic drugs could stand in the way of the body's own control of the disease, they are rarely prescribed. In certain cases, however, the doctor may decide to give the animal some to speed up recovery. If you take your pet back home after the treatment, there are a few things you can do to support them so that they can get better soon.

Your four-legged friend will quickly recover

Make sure that your sick pet is warm and cozy at home and care for it with love. Make sure that you drink enough, because unlike the food, a dog must never refrain from drinking while he is sick. So he should always have enough fresh water available.

Measure fever regularly to see a veterinarian if it worsens. In consultation with the veterinarian, you can also make a kind of calf wrap for your dog. To do this, dampen a towel with lukewarm water and put it on the dog's legs.