Placing the thermometer on the dog is the only way to check its body temperature, and you may have to do it sometime throughout its life. Dogs are not usually collaborative in this task, so it is advisable to follow certain guidelines in order to do it well.
When does a dog have a fever?
How do you know if a dog has a fever? As a general rule, fever in dogs starts at 39º and can be considered very worrisome after 41º. A temperature of 41º, which cannot be lowered, can even lead to the death of the dog; therefore, you must urgently take it to the vet. To lower the fever to a dog, the professional must do it, never ourselves, since the fever itself is not a disease, but a symptom that something is happening to your dog.
Circumstances that can alter a dog’s normal body temperature
There are several situations that can momentarily alter the dog’s usual body temperature. A healthy dog can see its temperature affected by factors such as stress, moving, traveling, the presence of females in heat, or doing intense physical exercise.
It is important to take the temperature at different times, to check that there is no fever since, also depending on the time of day; the temperature varies: during the day it may be slightly higher (always within the values accepted as normal) since its metabolism is active to cope with the day, especially after eating food (which is why it is advisable to take its temperature before eating), while at night it usually drops slightly due to basal metabolism.
How to put the thermometer on the dog
To use the thermometer in a dog, keep in mind that the rectal temperature is taken because it is the most significant inside the body and the most stable, since not all parts of the body are always at the same temperature.
To take the dog’s body temperature rectally to the dog, a digital thermometer (because it is quick to read) and unbreakable material are necessary. Gently use a little petroleum jelly to gently insert the thermometer tip through the anal opening. The tip of the thermometer must remain inserted into the anus for a minimum of twenty to thirty seconds or until the thermometer warns us with its acoustic signal.
If it is a female, the temperature can also be taken through the vagina.
Placement of the dog to put the thermometer well
Generally, no dog welcomes us to put a thermometer on it, and we will probably need help holding it (at least the first few times until we catch up on practice). If our dog is small, we can place him on a table (which is something that will give us a few seconds of advantage while he is paralyzed at height), and with the help of another person so that he does not fall, we will proceed to take his temperature.
The correct posture of the dog must always be supported on all four legs, neither lying down, nor sitting, nor ‘standing.’
Sometimes it works that the dog is not focused on what is happening in the “back of his body,” and while one person puts the thermometer, another can be placed next to his head and can distract him by stroking him, but without a move.
What to do after putting the thermometer on the dog
You have to disinfect the thermometer with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and write down the result, the time and the day at which the temperature was taken, as well as any other observation that may be useful to the vet: if it was after the meal, before eating, the general condition and mood of the dog, etc.
Our vet will tell us how long we should do this check and how many times a day we should put the thermometer on. Generally, if it is for a long period, dogs get used to this maneuver.
Symptoms of fever in dogs
These are some of the symptoms of fever in the dog: the sudden rise in body temperature is usually preceded by a shiver. Other symptoms can be confusion, lack of coordination, gasping, increased heart rate, and constipation, followed by diarrhea.