Fever In Shih Tzu Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

In dogs, a fever can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, inflammation, tumor growth, or an overreaction of the immune system. Your Shih Tzu dog's small size means that they are especially vulnerable when they have a fever, so it is important to get your dog to the veterinarian. They will be able to determine the cause of the fever and make recommendations for the best possible treatment options.


With your veterinarian's assistance, cool your Shih Tzu's fever at home.

Symptoms of fever in dogs

The first step in treating your dog's fever is to recognize that they have one. It can be difficult to recognize your dog's body temperature is abnormal because the most common symptoms are also health issues that are associated with many other illnesses. If you notice any combination of these signs, you should check your dog's temperature to determine whether it is in the normal range or not.


Video of the Day

The common signs of fever in dogs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Warm ears or nose
  • Excessive panting
  • Shivering
  • Lack of energy
  • Red or glassy eyes


Image Credit: Drazen Zigic/iStock/GettyImages

How to check your dog’s temperature

If you notice any combination of these symptoms, there is a chance that your Shih Tzu has a fever. The best thing that you can do is to take your dog's temperature so that you can confirm that is the problem or rule it out. To do this, you should use a digital thermometer (rectal thermometer) or ear thermometer, not a glass thermometer. If you are using a digital thermometer, lubricate it with water-based jelly, petroleum jelly, or baby oil.


You may wish to have someone help you restrain the dog to keep both you and your dog safe. This person can also comfort your dog to help keep their stress level down. Insert the thermometer approximately an inch into the dog's rectum and hold the thermometer steady until it alerts you that the reading is ready.


A normal body temperature for a dog is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 103 to 104 degrees indicates a moderate fever. Call your veterinarian to discuss your concerns and make an appointment to have your dog seen right away. A temperature over 104 degrees is dangerous and requires a veterinarian's immediate attention. If your regular veterinarian is unavailable, bring your dog to the nearest emergency clinic.


Image Credit: RichLegg/E+/GettyImages

Provide your dog with fresh, cool water

Your Shih Tzu's small size may make them more vulnerable to rapid dehydration. To prevent this, you should encourage your dog to drink plenty of water by making fresh, cool water readily available. If they don't seem interested in cool water, try warmer water. Avoid water that is too warm or too cold, as this may cause your dog to refuse it. Offer your dog small, frequent amounts of water to avoid upsetting their stomach and monitor how much they are drinking. If they are not taking any water or they're showing signs of dehydration, call your veterinarian immediately. Your dog may need IV fluids to recover.



Fight dog illness with chicken soup

Foods that are high in liquid may also help your dog recover by keeping them hydrated. You can try adding water to boiled chicken and rice, feeding your dog canned food, or adding water to their regular kibble diet. Not only can this encourage your dog to drink more water but it may also help motivate them to eat.


Chicken soup is a traditional cure for the common cold in humans. To help your dog recover, you can make a dog-friendly chicken soup. Cover a small, whole chicken with water and allow it to simmer for three or four hours. Remove all bones, skin, and fat before returning it to the heat. Add your dog's favorite vegetables to the soup, such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, or celery. When the vegetables are cooked, take the soup off the stove and allow it to cool to a safe temperature before offering it to your dog.

Of course, home remedies should not replace a veterinary appointment. Several possible causes of fever in dogs, like parvovirus and distemper, can be life-threatening if not addressed.

First aid for a fever in dogs

Just like you would a child, you can bring down your dog's fever by cooling them with water. This is the recommended first aid for a fever but should not be used as a substitute for veterinary care. Dampen a washcloth with cool water (not cold water) and apply it to their ears and feet. You can also use a fan on your damp dog to further bring down their temperature.

Never give your dog human medications, like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, to try to reduce your dog's fever. These medications are not safe for dogs and could poison them, causing serious health problems.

In summary

Whether your dog has a mild fever or a seriously high temperature, they need to see a veterinarian to be properly treated. Encourage your dog to drink small, frequent amounts of water to avoid dehydration while you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If your dog has a high fever over 104 degrees or is showing signs of dehydration, they need to see a veterinarian immediately. If it's after hours, this warrants a trip to your local emergency clinic.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...