Few things are more difficult for pet owners than dealing with a sick dog and not knowing how to help them to feel better.
As a pet parent, you want to do everything in your power to comfort your dog in their time of need.
But if you don’t know how, you may be left feeling helpless. Knowing how to comfort your dog with a fever at home and when to take him to the vet for treatment is vital for a pet owner.
What Is a Fever in a Dog?
Dogs have higher body temperatures than humans, so it’s important to understand this before going any further. On average, a body temperature higher than 103 F for a dog is a fever.
While your dog’s temperature may rise after activity or when they’re excited, it should never get past this 103 F mark.
If it does, that’s a sign that there is something wrong and that you should keep a close eye on them.
You can learn more about how to tell if your dog has a fever with or without a thermometer.
When Is My Dog’s Fever an Emergency?
If your dog’s fever is 106 or over, you definitely need to take him to an emergency vet immediately.
At this temperature, damage is being done to their organs. And if their body temperature continues to be that hot, it can cause severe irreversible damage or even death.
High temperatures are a serious matter and should be taken seriously, don’t wait until it’s too late! If your dog’s fever is under 106, you can attempt to comfort them and help to lower their fever.
Just remember to take their temperature regularly to ensure that it is not rising. And be mindful of signs of lethargy that indicate they need to be seen by a vet.
If your dog isn’t eating or drinking, they need to go to the vet to avoid dehydration which will make things severely worse. If they start panting, vomiting, or even shivering, they need to go to the vet.
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How to Reduce Your Dog’s Fever
To reduce your dog’s fever, apply cool water to his paws and ears first. You can use a towel or cloth soaked in water or a cooling vest for your dog until his temperature drops below 106 degrees.
Try to have him drink a bit of water and keep an eye on his temperature to make sure the fever doesn’t return. If your dog’s fever is not going away, you may need to pay a visit to your nearest veterinarian.
Below we go into detail about what you can do to lower your dog’s fever at home.
Don’t Medicate Your Dog Without Your Vet’s Approval
The first thing to remember when trying to lower your dog’s fever is that you should not be giving them any sort of medication without a vet’s approval.
While you may be trying to help, human medicines can be toxic to animals, and even some pet medications can do more harm than good if they are misused.
For example, common aspirin may seem like a great idea because it’s what we take to lower our fevers. However, it can actually counteract with a pet fever reducer and cause it not to be as effective.
If you can’t do anything to lower your dog’s fever other than giving it unauthorized medicine, please take them to the vet. That way, you can ensure you’re getting the medicine you need.
Keep Your Dog Hydrated
As with any illness in animals or humans, the most important thing is to ensure that your dog is staying properly hydrated.
This may mean pouring water over their food several times to ensure that they are drinking enough.
If at any point they seem dehydrated or they’ve stopped drinking or eating completely, they need to be seen by the vet so that they can administer an IV.
Dehydration can lead to death or other issues for our pets. So keep a close eye on them and make sure that they are drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day.
To help lower your dog’s fever, you’ll need to help your dog to cool down. A great way to do this is by keeping their environment cool and ensuring that your home is not too hot.
if you have any fans, turn them on and let them blow directly on your dog. This should help them a great deal.
Dog Fever Treatment at Home
Another way to lower your pet’s fever is by applying a cool towel to their body. To do this, soak a towel in cool water and apply it consistently to their paws and ears.
These are the two places on their body where heat escapes. So by applying a cold towel, you’re cooling them down much faster.
During this cool-down process, do not encourage activity and allow your dog to rest while they work to lower their body temperature.
Ensure that you are consistently checking their temperature throughout the process to make sure that it isn’t dropping too low or spiking too high.
When a Vet Visit Is Necessary
If nothing is working and their temperature continues to rise, they may need medical attention.
If you’ve been trying the above methods for three hours and their temperature is still high, it’s time to go to the vet.
Sometimes at-home methods work perfectly, but sometimes medical intervention is needed.
What to Expect at the Vet
If you’ve decided to bring your dog to the vet, you’ve made a sound choice.
Even if you only come home with a simple fever reducer, ensuring that your dog gets better quickly and has no underlying conditions is always a safe bet.
Has Your Dog Consumed Anything Poisonous?
When you arrive at the vet, they’ll want to know if your dog has consumed anything poisonous.
Even if there is nothing you saw them consume, think of things they could’ve gotten into and make sure they’re still locked away before coming to the vet.
The steps for helping a fever due to a pet consuming poison are much different than the process for helping a fever from a pet with an infection.
So it’s important that your vet knows of any possible poisonous substances that your dog could’ve gotten into.
While it’s important to keep these locked up consistently to avoid accidents, don’t be ashamed to tell your vet the truth.
They are there to help you and your dog, and the most important thing is ensuring that your dog receives the treatment that they need as soon as possible.
After your vet gets the background information that they need, they will want to start with a simple physical exam.
Expect your vet to examine things like temperature, weight, coat, teeth, and any other things going on with your dog.
After they complete the physical exam, laboratory tests, and even blood work may be ordered to determine the root cause of your dog’s fever.
They may also conduct a urinalysis or send off samples to a lab. All of these things are completely normal in diagnosing your pet, so don’t be alarmed.
Treatment Plan for Your Dog Fever
Depending on the root cause, your vet can better advise you on how to reduce your dog’s fever and eliminate the underlying cause.
This may consist of medications, ointments, or other treatment methods. Ensure that you are following this treatment plan consistently.
Things like antibiotics may relieve symptoms after a few days, but the symptoms will return again if the entire course of medication is not completed.
Final Thoughts on Comforting a Dog With Fever
When our furry friends are feeling sick, it is our job to ensure that we have the tools to help them.
When we don’t, it’s our job to get them to the vet so that they can get the medical attention that they need quickly and promptly.
Do you have any tips or tricks for cooling down a dog during a fever? Let us know in the comments! And if you found this article helpful, be sure to share it to help out another dog parent!