How can I relieve my dog’s temperature?

Our question this week was:

My vet stated my dog was running a temperature. I brought her home but have no idea what to do to help relieve the temperature. She had blood work done and there were no significant findings. What can I do as an owner to help with the temperature?

John Cordova

Answer

Hi John– thanks for your email. You wrote that your dog has a temperature (fever). A fever is produced by the body to help rid itself of a problem. Many viruses or bacteria can’t survive in higher temperatures and when the body increases its thermostat – the goal is that these invaders will not survive. Although extremely high fevers are worrisome, low-grade fevers can be good and the body’s way of treating itself.

If the blood work was normal, your veterinarian may still prescribe antibiotics or do additional tests such as a urinalysis, urine culture or blood culture depending on your dog’s particular situation.

My best advice is – take your dogs temperature if you can and see what it REALLY is. Read “Taking Your Dogs Temperature” to determine what it really is. You can by a digital thermometer at most stores – I like the ones with a soft tip that beep when they are done. Those are easy and pretty inexpensive. Your dog’s normal rectal temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above certain extremes (>103.5 degrees F. to 104.5 degrees F.) can be more severe and may require additional treatment.

So I guess to answer your questions, there is not much you can do at home for a dogs fever. A fever can actually be good as it is the bodies’ way of helping to eliminate an infection. Many people don’t treat fevers at all unless they are extremely high. What you can do at home is to encourage your dog to eat and drink and keep him clean and dry. Keep him comfortable. If there is any concern about him – see your veterinarian.

An article that might be helpful to you is Fever in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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