If you believe the old wives' tales, you can gauge a dog's temperature by touching their nose. By this measure - if a dog's nose is cool and wet they're fine, and if it's hot and dry, they're sick. This isn't true, and the only way to accurately determine if your dog has a fever is to take their temperature using a rectal thermometer.
Temperature spikes can be caused by a myriad of things, from canine influenza, to infection from a small cut or scratch, right through to ingestion of food that may be toxic to your pooch. Nevertheless, a fever is a sign that your dog’s body is at war against an unwanted invader.
Here are some signs that your dog may have a fever:
· Unusually warm ears
· Loss of appetite (food & water)
· Glassy or red eyes
If you notice these symptoms, it’s time to pull out the trusty thermometer.
How to take your dog’s temperature
As you can imagine, the process can be unsettling and quite uncomfortable for your dog so enlist someone else to help you hold your pooch and give them comfort. If you are not familiar with the process you should also only attempt to take your dog’s temperature once you have a good bond and a trusting relationship. If you dog is new and you don’t know their personality enlist the help of your vet.
It’s a good idea to coat the tip in some baby oil or Vaseline to reduce friction during insertion. Lift your dog’s tail and put the thermometer in about 2-3cm. For larger dogs, you may need to insert about 4-5cm.
Hold the thermometer and your dog as still as possible until you hear a beep.
A normal temperature should be anywhere from 38.3-39.2°C. If your dog’s temperate is above 40.0°C you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.