A dog's normal body temperature falls between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog has a temperature over 103 degrees, he has a fever. You might notice your dog acting listless or sluggish. He might also be shivering, panting, or coughing, or he may have glassy-looking eyes. You can take your dog's temperature using a digital thermometer made for rectal use.
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Low-grade canine fevers (anything under 104.5 degrees) are often treatable at home. There are several steps you can take for dog fever treatment at home to keep your dog as comfortable as possible while he recovers.
Keep your dog hydrated
To prevent dehydration, offer your dog plenty of fresh water. If your dog refuses to drink, you may be able to use a medicine dropper to squirt small amounts into her mouth. Ice chips also work well for dogs who have a fever.
If water is not tempting, encourage your dog to drink by offering chicken or beef broth. This might be more appealing. If your dog is especially dehydrated, you can also mix Pedialyte with her water to help replace electrolytes. You can purchase unflavored Pedialyte at a grocery store or drugstore.
Dog fever treatment at home
Reduce a low-grade dog fever by applying cool water around your dog's paws and ears using a soaked towel. Keep an eye on your dog's temperature. When it drops below 103, stop applying the water and encourage your dog to drink. It's also important to make sure your dog has a comfortable, quiet space to recover. Keep him away from other pets in the home in case the fever is contagious.
Use fever reducer for dogs
Ask your vet if you can give aspirin to your dog to reduce the fever. Aspirin is sometimes prescribed for dogs. However, it can have serious side effects. Do not give aspirin to your dog without talking to your vet first. Confirm the right dosage (10 to 40mg/kg is often recommended) and the right type of aspirin for your dog.
In most cases, you will want to have your dog examined before administering any over-the-counter medicine for dog fever. Aspirin or other medications can "mask" the underlying illness that's occurring. Your vet will be able to get a more accurate idea of what's happening if you have your dog examined first and treated later.
When to seek veterinary care
It's a good idea to seek veterinary care for any dog fever, even one as low as 103 degrees. If your dog's fever exceeds 104.5 degrees, you should seek immediate veterinary care, as this could be a sign of serious illness or disease.
Your vet will conduct a physical exam and may order further testing, such as blood tests or urinalysis. Potential causes of fever in dogs include an infected bite, an ear infection, a urinary tract infection, an infected tooth, a viral disease, or organ infection. Once your vet has examined your dog, you and your vet can work together to figure out the best course of dog fever treatment at home.