How to Reduce Fever in Dogs

Updated: April 27, 2022

Seeing your furbaby not feeling well is one of the toughest sights for pet parents. That’s why we’ve come up with a guide for you on how to tell if a dog has a fever and how to reduce a dog's fever. You’ll learn about the common causes of fever in dogs, ways of reducing your dog's temperature, and ways you can potentially boost your dog's immune system.

A Dog's Normal Temperature

The first step in caring for a dog with a fever is knowing how to tell if a dog has a fever. As humans, our normal temperature ranges from 97.6-99.6F degrees. While our dog's normal temperature ranges from 99.5 to 102.5F degrees. Here are some ways how you can tell if a dog has a fever.

"There are instances when the cause of a dog’s fever cannot be specifically identified."

The following are signs of fever in dogs:

  • weakness, lack of energy
  • dry nose
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • shivering
  • red eyes
  • warm ears
  • changes in behavior

Causes of Fever in Dogs

A fever in your furbaby means that your dog's immune system is fighting off an infection, inflammation, or other foreign bodies. The immune system of your dog recognizes these as threats and is therefore increasing the body temperature to get rid of them.

Causes of fever in dogs can be internal, external, or both. These may include:

  • scratches, bites, cuts, and wounds that have been infected
  • ear infections
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • an infected tooth or infected gums
  • continuing viral, fungal, or bacterial disease
  • infected body organs (lungs or kidneys)
  • tick bites
  • complications after giving birth
  • underlying health conditions
  • ingestion of plants or substances that are harmful
  • side effects of medications
  • side effects of vaccinations

Additionally, according to Pets WebMD, there are instances when the cause of a dog’s fever cannot be specifically identified. This is referred to as “fever of unknown origin” or FUO. The most likely causes of this fever with unknown origin may include problems in the immune system, undiagnosed infections, problems in the bone marrow, and dog cancer.

Types of Fever That Can Happen in Dogs

How to tell if a dog has a fever can be more or less obvious depending on the type of fever you are dealing with. When looking into how to lower dogs’ fevers, it is helpful to know which type of dog fever. The following are some types of fever that can happen in dogs:

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dogs is caused by bacteria that are transmitted via tick bites, specifically by the American dog tick.

Symptoms include:

  • presence of blood in the urine
  • presence of blood in stools
  • bleeding of the nose
  • irregular heartbeat
  • discolored spots on the skin
  • loss of coordination
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • inflamed eyes

The usual treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dogs is to give them a 2 to 3-week course of antibiotics. The best way to prevent this is to always check your furbaby for fleas and ticks after spending time outdoors. You can also opt to give your dog tick prevention spot-on or oral medications or use natural tick prevention solutions.

Valley Fever in Dogs

What is valley fever in dogs and what are the signs of valley fever in dogs? Valley fever is a disease caused by fungi, usually found in certain parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and parts of Mexico, Central, and South America. This disease can also affect other animals like cows, horses, monkeys, and marine animals. Valley Fever in dogs is transmitted through the environment and dogs can be very susceptible since they love digging and sniffing on the ground, potentially inhaling the fungal spores. If your dog has a fever, be sure to look out for the other valley fever symptoms in dogs.

The most common early valley fever symptoms in dogs include:

  • coughing
  • fever
  • lethargy
  • lack/loss of appetite
  • eye inflammation with cloudiness or discharge
  • enlarged lymph nodes under the chin, in front of the shoulder blades

Treatment depends greatly on the severeness of the valley fever symptoms in dogs. So, consult your vet if you notice valley fever symptoms in dogs. Prevention of valley fever in dogs includes avoiding activities that deal with dust, preventing your furbaby from digging, sniffing the ground, and keeping them indoors or closely monitored.

Milk Fever in Dogs

What is milk fever in dogs? After whelping when high amounts of calcium drain from the mama's system into their milk, females can develop milk fever in dogs. They then exceed their ability to replace calcium in their own body.

The common symptoms of milk fever in dogs include:

  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • aggression
  • increased thirst and urination
  • panting
  • lethargy
  • vomiting

Treatment for milk fever in dogs can often be solved by calcium replacement therapies. You can help your mama dog avoid milk fever by providing them with a high-quality diet throughout their pregnancy and lactation and avoid supplementing them with calcium during their pregnancy as this can cause milk fever.

Dog fever, how to reduce fever in dogs

How to Tell if a Dog Has a Fever

Before learning how to reduce a dog's fever, you need to check if your dog actually has one. You might be wondering how to check if your dog has a fever. The best way how to tell if a dog has a fever is to check their temperature. To determine if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature with a digital rectal thermometer is specifically made for pets. This will display your furbaby's temperature in less than a minute. A thermometer is the best option to check fever in a dog because it is the most accurate.

Another method how to tell if a dog has a fever without a thermometer is through touch. Though this is not the best option, this can come in handy especially in emergencies. To do this, you can check on the following body parts and know what to look for:

  • Nose: dryness, nasal discharge
  • Gums: swelling, paleness or redness
  • Back of ears: very warm to touch
  • Groin: swelling or enlarged lymph nodes
  • Paws: very warm to touch

How to Reduce Fever in Dogs

Now that you know how to tell if your dog has a fever, it’s time to learn how to reduce a fever in dogs. High fever is harmful to dogs and it is always best to get a high temperature down as quickly as possible. Every pet parent should know how to lower a fever in a dog so that they can help their furbaby when the time comes. Here are some of the effective ways how to decrease dog fevers or break a fever in a dog. To reduce fever and how to cool down a dog with a fever:

  • Wet your furbaby's ears and paws and place a fan to dry the fur and cool them. Continue wetting the ears and paws until the temperature drops to 103F degrees.
  • Try to get your dog to drink small amounts of cold water periodically.
  • Wrap your dog in a damp towel and dry them afterward. You can also opt to wet a sponge and go over the warmest body parts of your furbaby (back of the ears, groin, paws, underarms, and snout).
  • Place packs of ice between their back legs or on their head. But remember not to place the ice directly on your dog as this can be uncomfortable for them. Always remember that it's not good to keep a sick dog wet for long periods. Always dry the body parts that got wet. You can have your dog lay on a Pawtect® Pad on a bed or couch to help keep them comfortable without getting your furniture wet while working to reduce their fever.
  • If you have done all that is mentioned above and your furbaby's fever still does not go down, it is time to go to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your dog's fever may be a sign of something more serious (like ingestion of toxic substances).

Boosting your Dog's Immune System to Prevent Fevers

A dog with a weak immune system can easily be vulnerable to parasites, infections, and diseases. Boosting your furbaby's immune system can help reduce the risks of having fever and here are ways you can do it:

Strengthen your furbaby's love for exercise and activities. Excess fats weaken the immune system of your furbaby, that's why exercise is very important. Things as simple as taking a daily walk, 15-minutes of playtime, swimming on the weekends, and playing fetch can greatly contribute to your furbaby's general health.

Feed the right diet. A good diet means a good immune system as the immune system's largest part is the gut. Feed your furbaby the right amount of protein, good fiber, and live bacteria but remember to consult your vet about it first.

Supplement. To help boost the immune system, supplements come in handy. Provide your dog with Pet Parents® Probiotic SoftSupps® that will provide them with valuable nutrients that help support their immune and digestive health. The ingredients used for these probiotic soft chews include pumpkin for dogs, natural digestive enzymes, and a proprietary probiotic blend. These should be given daily to aid their immune system.

Give the gift of touch. As simple as it may seem, petting your dog can be beneficial for them as it advances healing and relaxation. This is a win-win for you and your furbaby.

"Provide your dog with Pet Parents® Probiotic SoftSupps® that will provide them with valuable nutrients that help support the immune and digestive health."

Reducing fever in your dog is not something that happens instantly. A fever is a very serious thing to deal with and there are a lot of possible causes. How to lower dogs’ fevers may vary depending on the type of dog fever. Now that you know how to tell if a dog has a fever, you will recognize the symptoms of a dog fever and be ready to act! As a responsible pet parent, turn to your vet immediately if the temperature does not go down. To help prevent fever in the future, look for ways you can strengthen your furbaby's immune health, for a happier and healthier life.

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