When you’re felling sick or under the weather, one of the first things you do is check your temperature to see if you have a fever. Fevers can indicate different illnesses, ranging from minor colds to high-grade fevers. Humans are not the only ones whose body temperature is a sign of sickness, dog’s bodies operate similarly to ours in that respect.
When Should You Check Your Dog’s Temperature?
How do you know when it is necessary to take your pup’s temperature? Obviously our furry friends lack the gift of speech in order to tell us when they are feeling bad, so what are some signs you can look for? Some signs are more obvious than others but here are some explained. Sudden lethargy can be a sign of a fever, meaning your pup suddenly lacks energy and seems to be dragging themselves around, not wanting to play, lack of appetite, or would rather lay and sleep all day. One minute your pup could be running around the yard and then a couple minutes later is seen lying in the grass and barely lifting their head or acknowledging your presence. Shivering is another common sign, your dog could suddenly be shaking all over and can’t seem to control it nor does it stop. Excessively warm ears can indicate a rise in temperature, dogs ears typically feel like room temperature to the touch, so if they are extremely hot that could be a sign that you should probably check their temperature. Sudden loss in appetite is a well-known sign of a dog that is not feeling well, this can be especially obvious if you know that your pup eats regularly and has never been picky. Coughing can be another symptom of an illness, if your pup is coughing for any length of time, absolutely check their temperature. Nasal discharge can indicate an illness, especially if it is excessive or an abnormal color, definitely take the time to check your pup’s temperature once you notice this.
How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature
There are many different ways to take your dog’s temperature, thanks to technology developments. Three common choices for types of thermometers are mercury, digital, and infrared. Mercury thermometers can be dangerous because of the amount of the chemical and are usually fragile. Digital thermometers are user-friendly and beep once the temperature has been read correctly. Infrared thermometers are even more user friendly, they are non-invasive and no-touch. You should always be cautious when taking your dog’s temperature, most dog’s dislike the discomfort that comes with the rectal thermometer, some might show discomfort to having their temperature read via their ear.
How and Where you Should Check Your Dog’s Temperature
Whichever method is chosen, make your dog is calm and comfortable. Do not use force and if they are extremely anxious about having their temperature taken, seek out a professional for help. If the rectal thermometer method is chosen, it is best to do it efficiently and quickly. An ear thermometer requires you to put it in your pup’s ear for a few seconds, most dogs do not mind this method because it is not as invasive as the rectal thermometer. Infrared thermometers are able to be held up to your pup’s ear, rectum, or mouth to obtain an accurate reading. Your pup’s temperature can be accurately recorded through their ears, rectum, or mouth by a digital or infrared thermometer, mercury thermometers should only be used for the rectum.
Human v.s. Dog Temperature
Even though dog’s may feel like they would have the same body temperature as us, their temperature is different than ours. The normal temperature range for humans is 98.6, dogs are slightly higher beginning at 99.5 and can be up to 102.5 degrees. When a dog’s temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher, that is a sign that you should probably take them to the vet. The most accurate temperature readings are through the rectal method, the ear method can possibly produce a slightly higher reading.
Emergency Treatment: What To Do If Your Pup Has A High Fever
You took your pup’s temperature and it turns out that they have a fever, now what? There are some methods to bring their temperature down, especially if they have a high fever. Grabbing a washcloth and running it under cold water, wringing it out, and gently wiping your pup’s paws and ears can be one way to lower their temperature. Wrapping an ice pack in a towel and placing it on their chest and abdomen can provide relief. Having a fan nearby to help cool down the room temperature can help them feel better and less warm. Make sure that your pup is still drinking water, that can also help, and if they are not moving much then keep it near their reach.
Is Human Medicine Okay for Dogs?
It is not okay to give your dog any form of human medicine, most medicines for humans are absolutely not safe for your pup. If you are unsure, at least call a vet and consult with them. The immediate answer is that it is never a good idea and can cause further harm to your pup.
Types of Thermometers for Dogs
The type of thermometer to have for your dog is one that is reliable, and can provide an accurate reading. Glass thermometers with mercury are not recommended for dogs, that isn’t to say that you cannot use one, just that there is a lot of risk when using one on your pup. Glass can break and injure your pup while trying to get an accurate read, or worse, the mercury is ingested and is very toxic to them. Digital and infrared thermometers are safe and reliable for your pup, as well as user friendly.
This used to be the common way to measure your dog’s temperature, now it has become less preferred. Majority of dog’s do not take kindly to having a thermometer inserted into their rectum, owners are not thrilled about it either. Glass mercury thermometers used to be used for rectal readings, however it is not safe for your pup so digital thermometers are much preferred for a rectal reading. If a rectal thermometer is your choice, you can choose either a digital thermometer or an infrared. Some owners have noted the infrared does not always provide accurate readings, and others say that it works just fine. There have been very few complaints about the accuracy of digital thermometers.
In-Ear Dog Thermometers
In-ear dog thermometers can be either digital or infrared. Infrared in-ear thermometers do require a bit of maneuvering to properly read your dog’s temperature. This method is far more comfortable than the rectal method. Digital thermometers are available that are designed specially for dog’s ears in order to achieve the best accurate reading.
Ideally, non-touch thermometers are the best method as this avoids causing any anxiety or discomfort for your pup. Infrared thermometers and stick-on thermometers are the only type of non-touch, non-invasive thermometer. If your dog is prone to anxiety or discomfort when it comes to new things being introduced, a non-touch thermometer would be ideal for them. Non-touch thermometers are not considered to be the most accurate, but it is up to the owner to decide whether or not that will be an issue.
This type of thermometer is a non-touch, so it will not be put anywhere on your pup. Instead, the stick-on thermometer is usually stuck inside of kennels, crates, or whelping boxes. These are not as accurate because they’re typically not close to your dog and usually read the temperature of that environment that the dog is in. This is a handy thermometer to have if you are planning to breed or want to help keep track of when your dog is in heat.
Best Thermometers for Dogs: Our Picks
Below, we will give you our choices for dog thermometers and descriptions of them.
iSnow-Med Non-contact Infrared Pet Thermometer
This thermometer is a non-touch, non-invasive thermometer and can be used to read your dog’s temperature via their ears. The tool boasts that it can register your pup’s temperature no matter the size of their ears. The thermometer features a display screen, backlight, a buzzer for when your pup’s temperature is above the normal range, a Celsius and Fahrenheit switch, as well as a memory recall that can store up to 32 reads. The iSnow is battery operated and small enough that it is easily maneuverable. Like other infrareds, consumers have noted that the temperature readings are not as accurate as they would like them to be.
Advanced Monitors Pet-Temp Ear Thermometer
The advanced monitors ear thermometer can be used to read your dogs temperature by inserting it into their ear. A moveable probe makes it easier to put in your dog’s ear and it features a small display screen. The thermometer can take approximately one second to register your dog’s temperature, it comes with different cushioned tips, beeps when it has finished reading your dog’s temperature, and the screen displays the numbers in a large easy-to-read font. Many consumers liked how quickly the thermometer read their dog’s temperature, but disliked that the item has to be shipped back to the manufacturer once the battery dies in order to get a new battery.
Care Touch Digital Thermometer
The care touch digital thermometer can be used to read your pup’s temperature through their armpit or rectum. The care touch is easy to use and features a flexible probe tip, approximately a ten-second read time, and 50 different probe covers. Customers loved how user-friendly it is, but they were disappointed that it does not have an illuminated LED display.
Anikuv Digital Pet Thermometer
The Anikuv is a non-touch, non-invasive infrared thermometer for pets. This thermometer can read your pup’s temperature via their ears, mouth, or rectum. Readings are provided in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, and take approximately five to six seconds. Other features include the ability to be a touch thermometer, features heavy duty plastic, and boasts it’s accuracy which is compared to the classic glass mercury thermometer. Consumers liked the accuracy of this thermometer, speed, and the overall user-friendly aspect. This thermometer is not waterproof, which was the only problem customers found.
Enji Digital Thermometer
The Enji digital thermometer can be used to read your pup’s temperature via their ears, rectum or armpit. It boasts a flexible tip, digital display window for easy reading, and that it is waterproof. The Enji comes with probe covers and a case for storage. Approximate reading time is between 20 to 35 seconds, but it lacks a backlight to help users see the reading more clearly. Consumers did enjoy the accuracy of the thermometer but were disappointed with the lack of backlight.
After researching many different types of thermometers, our pick would be the Anikuv Digital Pet Thermometer. This was one infrared thermometer that provided the accuracy of a digital thermometer yet maintained being non-touch and non-invasive. This thermometer can be used to read multiple areas and is very time efficient, which makes it much easier on the dog and owners. Even though the thermometer is not waterproof, it can still be sanitized properly by following the care instructions. The display on the Anikuv is also color coded, so the color changes depending on your pet’s temperature. If the color is green, that means your pet is at their normal temperature range. If the color changes to orange, this means that your pup could have a slight temperature, but not a high fever. If the color changes to red, this means your pup has a very high fever and you should probably take them to the vet. There is a buzzer feature for when it is done reading your pup’s temperature, but what if your pup doesn’t like the noise? There is an off button in case your pup is not keen on noises near them. There is a large amount of storage on this device, it can record approximately 99 readings. The thermometer also features an energy save mode, if you don’t use the device for approximately seven seconds, it will shut down as to not waste energy. The Anikuv does come with a two-year warranty and an affordable price tag.