Is your dog acting lethargic? Is its nose hotter than it usually is? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you dog may have caught a virus that's making it sick. Here are four steps you should take if your dog seems to have a fever.
Take its Temperature
Before you do anything else, it's important that you take your dog's temperature. A low-grade temperature is easy to handle but anything higher than 103 degrees will require a phone call to the local veterinarian. If you're not sure how to take your dog's temperature, here are some easy-to-follow instructions.
- Lay your dog down on its side.
- Lift its tail up with one hand.
- Carefully insert about 1 ½" of a rectal thermometer into your dog's rectum.
- Hold the thermometer in place for about two minutes.
- Remove the thermometer and make note of the temperature.
- Transport your dog to the veterinarian if the temperature is higher than 103 degrees.
Indulge in a Cool Bath
If your pet has a fever, you need to reduce it as quickly as possible. One way to do that is with a cool bath. Fill your tub with cool water and place your dog in the water. Use your hand—or a cup—to pour water over your dog. If your dog will stay still, keep it in the water for at least 15 minutes. Give several cool baths during the day until the fever breaks.
Wrap it up
If your dog won't sit still long enough for a cool bath, you can still provide it with the benefits of cool water. Soak a towel in cool water and wring out the excess water. Place the towel over your dog and have it lay down for several minutes. You can do this while you have your pet relaxing on the couch with you.
Provide Plenty of Water
Fevers can cause dehydration. While your dog has a fever, it's important that you encourage it to drink plenty of water. The water will keep it hydrated and will help flush out whatever sickness is causing the fever. If your dog refuses to drink water, place some ice cubes in the bowl and pour a small amount of beef broth over them. Your dog will lick the beef broth off the ice cubes, which will help melt the cubes so your dog can get water.
If a fever is making your dog feel miserable, use these simple tips to help reduce the fever quickly. If you're unable to get the fever to break—or your dog gets sicker—be sure to contact a veterinarian (like those at River View Veterinary Service LLC) as soon as possible.