Fever in Dogs: Signs to Watch for and Treatment Options in Limerick, PA

When it comes to the health of our beloved dogs, being aware of the signs and symptoms of fever is essential. As a caring pet owner, understanding what a fever could indicate and how to responsibly address it can make a significant difference in your dog’s well-being. In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about fever in dogs, from symptoms to treatment options. 

Remember, for personalized advice and care, you can always reach out to Limerick Veterinary Hospital at (610) 489-2848.

fever in dogs

Understanding Fever in Dogs

Fever in dogs, much like in humans, is an elevated body temperature. Normally, a dog’s temperature should be between 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. But if your dog’s temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit, that is officially considered a fever. It’s crucial to note that a fever reaching 106 degrees F can be fatal, so timely care is necessary. 

Symptoms of Fever in Dogs

When it comes to identifying a fever in dogs, there are several symptoms that pet owners should be aware of. It’s important to note that while a dry, warm nose can be a sign of fever, it’s not a definitive indicator. The most accurate way to confirm a fever is by taking your dog’s body temperature with a thermometer. A reading of about 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher indicates a fever. 

Here are some key symptoms you should watch out for:

  • Increased Body Temperature: As mentioned, a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit is a primary indicator of fever. If your dog feels unusually warm, you can check their temperature using a rectal thermometer to get the most accurate reading.
  • Lethargy: Dogs with a fever often show less interest in activities they normally enjoy. They may appear tired, sluggish, or unresponsive.
  • Shivering: Just like humans, dogs may shiver when they have a fever. This is a response to having an increased body temperature.
  • Loss of Appetite: A decrease in appetite or refusal to eat is a common symptom associated with fever.
  • Coughing: If the fever is related to a respiratory infection, coughing might be a noticeable symptom.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea: These symptoms can accompany fever, especially if the fever is caused by an infection or ingestion of a toxin.
  • Red Eyes or Nasal Discharge: Inflammation or infection can cause redness in the eyes and nasal discharge.
  • Panting or Rapid Breathing: Dogs might breathe faster than usual or pant excessively when they have a fever.
  • Warm Ears or Paws: While not as accurate as a thermometer, feeling your dog’s ears or paws for unusual warmth can be an initial check.

While a warm nose can be a sign of fever, it’s not a reliable method for making a definitive diagnosis. Observing your pet’s overall behavior and using a thermometer for an accurate temperature reading is key. If you notice these symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen, it’s important to contact Limerick Veterinary Hospital at (610) 489-2848 for professional advice and care.

Conditions that Can Trigger a Fever in Dogs, and Why

Fever in dogs is often a natural response to various health issues. It’s the body’s way of fighting off infection or inflammation. 

Here’s a closer look at common conditions that can cause fever in dogs and why:

Ear Infections

Dogs with ear infections often develop fever. This is because the body is trying to fight off the bacteria or yeast causing the infection. The warmth and moisture of the ear canal make it a conducive environment for these pathogens, prompting an immune response in the form of fever.

Bacterial Infections

Bacteria invading any part of a dog’s body can trigger an immune response. The body raises its temperature to create an environment less hospitable to the bacteria, effectively attempting to neutralize the infection.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs can cause inflammation and irritation in the urinary tract, leading to fever. The body’s response to the infection is to increase temperature to help eliminate the bacteria causing the UTI.

Tooth Infections or Abscesses

Oral infections or abscesses can be particularly painful and lead to fever. The body reacts to the infection by increasing temperature, which is a part of the immune system’s attempt to control the spread of infection.

Ingestion of Toxins

When a dog ingests something toxic, the body’s natural defense mechanism kicks in, often resulting in fever. This is a response to the foreign substance and the potential internal inflammation it causes.


Sometimes, dogs may develop a mild fever after vaccination. This is a normal immune response as the body reacts to the vaccine, which is designed to stimulate the immune system without causing the actual disease.

Each of these conditions triggers the dog’s immune system to respond, often resulting in an elevated body temperature or fever. Understanding these causes helps in identifying the need for timely veterinary care.

Immediate Steps and When to Contact a Vet If Your Dog Has a Fever

If you suspect your dog has a fever, it’s important not to panic. First, avoid giving your dog any human medications and focus on keeping them comfortable and hydrated. If you’re concerned about your dog’s condition, be sure to call our veterinary hospital at (610) 489-2848 for guidance.

Veterinary Care and Management Options for Treating Dog Fever

Treatment for fever in dogs depends on the fever’s underlying cause. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat an underlying bacterial infection or provide other medications for different causes and symptoms. Supportive care like hydration and rest is also crucial to your dog’s recovery. 

It’s essential to avoid self-medicating your dog, especially with human medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which can be highly toxic and potentially deadly to your dog. Always consult with a veterinarian for the safest course of action.

Preventative Measures and Ongoing Care

The best way to prevent fever in your dog is to take the necessary steps to keep them healthy. This means regular checkups, vaccinations, and good hygiene can all help prevent conditions that lead to fever. Being vigilant about your dog’s environment, especially regarding potential toxins, is also important!

Have Questions About Dog Fever? Need Help?

Understanding fever in dogs is a vital part of pet ownership. Recognizing the signs and knowing what to do can help keep your dog healthy, safe, and comfortable. If you ever find yourself in doubt or if your dog exhibits signs of fever as listed above, don’t hesitate to contact Limerick Veterinary Hospital at (610) 489-2848. Our team is here to provide the care and support your dog deserves. 

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