Normal body temperature of a dog – VOSD Expert Vet Advice™

Normal body temperature of a dog| VOSD Blog
  • Unlike humans dogs’ normal temperate range is higher. 99-102 degree Fahrenheit is considered normal for dogs. If the temperature is a little higher say 12-104 please call your vet and take the dog to a vet. The vet will treat the dog for the underlying cause that is causing the fever and the fever itself. 
  • In case the fever is very high (105+) you may be required to take action before reaching the vet. Sustained fever at these levels can cause brain damage and cause the breakdown of the regulatory mechanism through which the brain regulates body temperature – ultimately causing death. Several steps can be taken to reduce very high fever. 
    1. Applying ice packs on the head and on the sides of the body above the lungs
    2. If ice packs can be applied using a wet towel and wrap the dog and keep a fan one to cool the dog. Avoid making the dog wet with water because in case of sustained fever their ability to manage temperature is compromised and if the dog is wet and the temperature is low you will find it very difficult to raise it and it will keep falling. 
    3. Administering an injection of a common vet antipyretic such as Melonex 1ml/10-20kg bodyweight depending on the temperature range. This is generally administered sub-cut (subcutaneously – please refer section on giving injections to dogs). Please remember that human antipyretics such as paracetamol are generally not administered to dogs other than in very small quantities so please do not do so. 
    4. It is always a good idea to keep checking the temperature of the dog you suspect of fever or treating every hour and keep a record of this. 
  • In case the temperature is low <99F please treat this as critical. 
    1. A dogs temperature may be low for one of the following reasons: 
      • The dog has a disease that has severely compromised its blood values such as in the case of tick fever or if the dog is anaemic. Both these conditions can go undetected for weeks and generally found when the dog stops eating completely and/ or the temperature is fallen below normal.  
      • The dog had a very high fever and has been wet with water and the temperature has started falling and fallen below normal.
    2. Temperature below normal is critical and has to be raised. The following emergency procedures may be adopted:
      • Keep the dog warm with a blanket and keep checking the temperature every 5 minutes, if the temperature does not rise
      • Keep the dog warm with a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel such as to maximise the contact area of the dog and the bottles. Keep checking the temperature as before. This is preferred to:
      • Radiation methods such as using a lightbulb, an IR lamp or using a convection heater because this can raise the temperature very quickly usually over a localised area and send the dog into shock or create burns. But may have to be used if a water bottle is not available. The best way to provide heat this way is to keep your hand in contact close to where the heat is touching the dog. If it is too hot for you it is too hot for him. Keep moving the contact area. And keep checking the temperature.