Taking your dog's temperature
If your dog seems to be feeling ill, you may need to take its temperature in order to determine whether or not it has a fever. Fortunately, taking the temperature of a dog is a relatively easy procedure. In addition, by learning how to properly take your pet s temperature, you can give your veterinarian more complete information that will help him or her diagnose your pet.
Taking Your Dog's Rectal Temperature
Most dogs do not like having their temperatures taken rectally, but it may be necessary. If so, you can successfully take its temperature by following these procedures:
- Get someone to assist you with holding your pet in place
- Use a substance such as KY jelly, petroleum jelly, or other lubricant with a water base to lubricate the thermometer
- Have your assistant hug the front of your dog s body tightly in place
- Lift your dog s tail and insert the thermometer into the rectum carefully and slowly
- Hold the thermometer in place once it is about one inch inside the rectum
- Keep the thermometer in place for two minutes when using a mercury thermometer or until it beeps if using a digital thermometer
Your pet s temperature should be anywhere between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit when taken rectally.
Taking Your Dog's Ear Temperature
You can also take your pet's temperature through its ear. The ear drum is actually a good place to acquire body temperature because it takes a measurement of the brain blood temperature. With the help of an ear thermometer, the infrared heat waves emitted from the area are measured.
When taking your pet's temperature with an ear thermometer, be certain to insert the thermometer deep into the ear canal. It is also a good idea to use an ear thermometer that was specifically made for pets, as these thermometers have longer arms that make it possible to place the probe deep inside the ear.
It is a good idea to take both a rectal temperature and an ear temperature the first few times you use an ear thermometer. This way, you can compare the temperatures and see how closely the readings compare. A normal ear temperature is anywhere between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
When to Contact the Vet
Any time a pet's temperature falls below 99 degrees or rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you should contact your veterinarian. If your dog has a high temperature, it is a sign that it is suffering from an infection or an illness related to heat. A low temperature, on the other hand, can indicate shock or other serious illness.
If your dog is showing any of the following signs, you should take its temperature and contact your veterinarian if it is out of the normal range:
- Eating and drinking less than usual
- General behavior change, particularly acting cranky
- The appearance of lumps or swelling
- Draining wounds
When you contact your veterinarian, he or she will likely run some blood tests in order to better pinpoint the problem and provide your pet with the proper treatment.