Fever In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Have temperature. Silhouette of upset Labrador that showing his tongue and sitting on the table while looking sideways

(Picture Credit: yacobchuk/Getty Images)

A fever is your dog’s body’s way of fighting off infection or inflammation, which can range from mild to life-threatening. Dogs’ temperatures run a bit higher than humans, usually between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than that would be considered a fever in a dog.

Dogs get fevers to fight off infections for both external and internal reasons. Some issues that can cause fever in dogs include infected open wounds, like cuts, bites, or scratches; an organ infection, like an infection of your dog’s kidney or liver; or ongoing bacterial or viral illnesses, among many other conditions.

To help figure out why your dog has a fever, look for any areas on your dog’s body that are red, swollen, or otherwise irritated. Be sure to let your veterinarian know about any found or existing conditions when you tell them about your dog’s high temperature.

If you see the signs of fever in your dog, then you must consult your vet right away so they can treat it. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for fever in dogs.

Symptoms Of Fever In Dogs

There are other symptoms of fever in dogs aside from a higher-than-normal temperature, and they require a vigilant eye.

Dogs with fevers generally act more “blah” than normal, appearing sluggish, tired, and uninterested in their usual activities.

Here are some of the symptoms that might appear in dogs who suffer from a fever:

  • Lethargy
  • Depressed Mood
  • Shivering
  • Red Eyes
  • Warm Ears
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Coughing
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Causes Of Fevers In Dogs

Adorable sick beagle puppy cuddling with female owner

(Picture Credit: Ocskaymark/Getty Images)

There are many reasons why your dog could have a fever. Several issues can cause a low-grade fever, including the 24 to 48 hours after certain vaccinations. There are also lots of illnesses and conditions that can cause higher, potentially deadly fevers.

Here are several common causes of fever in dogs:

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Infected bite, scratch, or cut
  • Poison or toxic ingestion, like antifreeze and toxic plants
  • Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme Disease
  • Inflammation, including that caused by autoimmune conditions
  • Viral or bacterial infection of the organs

Treatments For Fevers In Dogs

Even if you find your dog only has a mild fever after taking your their temperature, be sure to contact your veterinarian and let them know of any other symptoms your dog has.

The treatment of fevers in dogs depends on the cause. If there’s an infection, your vet will likely run some tests and prescribe antibiotics or medications your dog needs to fight it off. If an infection is severe enough, your vet may put your dog in emergency care for fluids and other treatments.

Chewy’s online pharmacy can help fill your vet’s prescription and deliver your dog’s medication to your door.

To help lower your dog’s fever, apply cool water to your dog’s paws and around their ears. Give your dog any prescribed medication as directed by your vet.

Encourage your dog to drink a little water, but don’t go overboard and let them gulp, as this could induce vomiting and further dehydrate your pup.

Do not give your dog human fever medication, as some, like aspirin, are extremely toxic to dogs when given incorrectly.

Has your dog ever had a fever before? What was the cause of the fever? How did you help them feel better? Let us know your dog fever-fighting methods in the comments below!