No Thermometer? How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Fever And What You Can Do.

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Having a dog means you are responsible for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs like people sometimes get a little under the weather only they can’t tell us what is bothering them.

When we suspect a child may be running a fever and want to do a quick check we roll up our sleeve and touch our forearm to their forehead. If they feel warm to the touch we stick a thermometer under their tongue to find out the severity of the temperature and are able to treat accordingly.

An arm to your fur baby’s furry head won’t tell you anything about your dog’s body temperature. How do you know if your dog has fever? Obviously The only way to get an accurate reading is by using a thermometer but you don’t have one handy, so how do you know if your dog has fever?

Keep reading and you will have the knowledge you need to know if your dog has fever and what can be done to get the fever under control.

What To Look For:

As a dog mom, I and most pet parents know right away when our fur babies are under the weather. Usually, when a dog has fever there will be other symptoms that are more obvious.

A lot of people will tell you that if your pooch has a warm dry nose it means they are sick and have a fever although a dry warm nose could possibly mean they are not feeling well, more often than not that is NOT the case.

There can be a number of reasons that your dog has a dry warm nose a fever is one of the more serious reasons if no other symptoms appear it is likely something minor and a wet nose doesn’t necessarily mean your dog isn’t sick either.

Some of the signs to look for 

  • Warm ears
  • Excessive panting
  • Shivering
  • Red eyes
  • Red Gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Lower energy level
  • Not drinking water

If your dog has any of these symptoms it is important to know if your dog has fever too. If your dog has any of the above symptoms I do recommend either getting a thermometer to monitor his temp and make sure it doesn’t get too high or drop too low as can cause major problems.

Without a thermometer, there is no way to accurately know your pooches temperature and that can be dangerous.

Don’t have a thermometer and really aren’t sure what kind to get or what type of thermometer will fit your needs well we researched and tested different brands with different prices and different features so you can confidently decide which best fits your need. To see our results click here.

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Regular Temperature For Dogs:

In order to know if your dog has fever for sure and to what degree you need to know what his body temperature should be when normal.

Like people, a dog’s temperature can vary and their normal is a bit higher than ours. Your dog’s temp should range somewhere between 100*F and 102.5*F (roughly 38 to 39.2*C).

Anything below 99*f or 37.2*C or above 104*F or 40*C, you should get your fur baby to your vet as soon as possible. If your dog has fever of 106*F or 41.1*C  or higher can seriously damage your fur baby’s insides and can kill your dog.

If your pooch is showing any of the symptoms above and has anything below 99*F it means your dog is hypothermic and if its above 103*F accompanied with symptoms your dog is hyperthermic and should get medical attention.

When you see that your fur baby is showing signs of the above-mentioned symptoms you should know if your dog has fever also.

The best way to know if your dog has a fever without going to your vet is to check his/her temperature yourself. Not sure how to take your dog’s temperature?

No worries it’s not very hard as long as you have a helper, you may need them to help hold your dog while waiting for final reading on the thermometer.

Accurate Reading:

There is a couple of different ways to take the temperature of your fur baby, through an ear reading, armpit, and the most accurate method is a rectal reading.

Never use a glass mercury thermometer they can brake inside and hurt your dog. Most vets use human digital thermometer with a flexible end because they are safer.

Rectal Reading:

First for your pooches comfort you will want to put petroleum jelly or baby oil on the end of the thermometer then with your helper holding your dog you are going to insert the thermometer in the rectum at least an inch maybe an inch and a half depending on your dog’s size.

Hold the thermometer in place for a minute or until the thermometer beeps then gently take the thermometer wipe and read to find out if your dog has a fever.

Not sure you can stomach having to take a rectal reading? No worries you can use the other methods as well you just have to remember if not done correctly they aren’t as accurate.

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Alternative Readings:

Getting an ear temperature on a dog is not reliable if you don’t know exactly how to position the thermometer in the ear canals and close enough to the eardrum your reading may not be accurate.

Another method you can try is holding it against the body with the leg if you can get your pooch to cooperate that is.

The final method is to use a no-touch thermometer if you can get a clear shot of the skin in the ear

Slightly Elevated Temperature: Before Hyperthermic

If your dog’s temperature is slightly elevated and not dangerously high, you can do a couple of things to help get his temp back down. 103*F or higher temp is considered a fever.

  • Try to get him/her to drink small amounts of water regularly to stay hydrated.
  •  I personally use unflavored Pedialyte in small doses, a medium dog getting no more than a quarter of a cup every 20 minutes.
  • You can also take cold wet rags and wipe your dog paws, belly, and ears to help get your dog’s fever dog’s body temp back down.

If your dog’s temp is below 104*F and you choose not to visit a vet yet you will need to monitor closely and if the fever doesn’t go down or goes over 104*F a visit to the vet is warranted.

If your dog shows any other symptoms with fever you should at least contact your vet for your pooch’s sake. Whenever in doubt at least contact a vet for specific advice on handling your dog’s health.

Slightly lower Temperature: Before Hypothermia

If your dog’s temp is slightly lower than 99.5*F but not below 97*F which is dangerously low there are a few things you can do to bring his/her temp back up to safe temps.

  • Make sure your dog is completely dry wet fur will make your dog cold
  • Heat some blankets in the dryer and wrap your dog up in them.
  • Wrap a heating pad in a towel on low under your dog if your dog is a cord chewer keep an eye on that.
  • Wrap warm hot-water bottles in towels so your dog doesn’t get burnt and place them on his/her belly

If your dog’s temp is only slightly low 97*F and above and you have chosen to try to bring your dog temperature back up at home you should monitor closely and if it doesn’t get any better within 24 hours or if it goes below 97*F you should go visit your vet as soon as possible.

If your dog’s body temperature gets as low as 95*F it can start to damage the insides of your fur baby and could kill them.

If you are ever in doubt about your fur baby’s health always seek a vets help at the very least call your vet and see what his /her thoughts are, if you should take your pooch to see them they will tell you.


Pet parents, dog owners, or however you refer to your pet the one thing every dog owner and dog mom have in common is it is our responsibility to take care of them.

One day you will need to know if your dog has fever and knowing how to take your dog’s temperature so you know if your dog has fever without having to visit the vet just to take his/her temperature will be much easier on you and your dog.

If you spend a lot of time with your fur baby they do become like a child and before long you will know your dog so well that you will pick up on any behavior that is off almost instantly.

Any of the information or advice is given at comes from my personal experiences with my fur babies and should never be a substitute for your vet.

3 thoughts on “No Thermometer? How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Fever And What You Can Do.

  1. I really enjoy your article and site. I have bookmarked your site as I have a young dog myself and you never know when a situation like this may arise.

    1. Thank you, Russ, I hope you and your young dog have many many healthy years together. Whenever I am unsure about one of my dogs being ill for more than 12 hours which is a long time for a younger dog, I have found that a quick visit to the vet is worth it to know for sure what you’re really dealing with.

      Best wishes to you and your young pal
      Lisa Waa-Adame

    2. Hi Russ,
      Thank you for bookmarking I will be publishing many more articles in the months ahead and hope that more puppy parents find us and find the information as valuable as you have. So with the help of folks like yourself, we will keep growing.
      Best wishes
      Lisa Waa-Adame

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