This article about taking body temperature of a dog is coauthored with a veterinarian Signe.
When we feel bad (not about what we did or said yesterday, but physically bad), we usually take our body temperature to see if we are just tired or is it something worse. You can do it for a dog too. This article will teach you how to do it and what the normal readings are.
Increase of body temperature may signal for an infection as the immune system rises it take care of viruses and bacteria. It is true for all warm blooded animals, and dogs are included.
Dogs have higher body temperature than we do
First thing people fall in and consider a healthy dog ill is because of the normal temperature of the dog. It’s a bit higher than we have.
Normal body temperature of a dog is (according to “Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook”):
- For adult dogs 100 – 102.5 F (37.7 – 39.2 C)
- For newborn puppies 94 – 97 F (34.4 – 36.1 C)
Remember the body temperature may be increased after physical activity, when dog is in heat, have just had a great meal. during stress or if the dog is overweight (which is too a health problem, by the way). So when you take dog’s temperature after a long walk, don’t be stressed out if it’s too high. Take it again after 30 minutes or an hour, if you want a reliable result.
So here’s how to measure body temperature of a dog:
- Dog’s body temperature is measured rectally. Use a regular digital thermometer. May do it with a mercury thermometer, however, it is not recommended, and must be done with a caution.
- Best if you can get an assistant who could hold dog’s head or body, pet him or talk to him. Measuring temperature rectally is not the most pleasant activity.
- Lubricate sensor of the thermometer with a petroleum jelly or other water based lubricant. Don’t use a jelly that has irritating ingredients as they may cause discomfort or problems if the dog is licking himself after the procedure.
- Put the sensor side of the thermometer in a rectum of your dog (it’s done through an anus which is located below the dog’s tale, if you did not know that). If your dog is not standing still, you may hold him by his tail close to his butt. Assistant my talk to a dog or hold him and cheer up. Dog may get stressed or even aggressive during procedure. It all depends of the dog. Some may even not to pay attention to this at all.
- After the measurement is done (digital thermometers are faster that mercury ones) take it out and read the temperature. Compare it to normal body temperature of dogs (read above).
Please note, the body temperature cannot be taken as the only criteria to determine if the dog is ill as body temperature may rise for other reasons as well. It’s just one more thing to double check. There are other things signaling if the dog is not healthy. Like coat shine and firmness, activity and buoyancy, reaction to calling or something happening. If some of those symptoms are present, you may check dog’s body temperature before taking him to a vet.
We will write in one of our next articles what to do, if your dog’s body temperature is out of being normal. That is if it is too high or too low. In both cases, of course, a vet visit is highly recommended and even required.