How do I know if my puppy has a fever? What’s normal for a puppy?

Puppy with Fever

Puppies run hotter than we humans do. It’s just a matter of degrees...

While the rest of your family clocks in at a cool 98.6º, your puppy’s temperature should always range between 99.5º and 102.5º.

And even though your puppy feels warm to the touch, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s wrong.

But how can you tell if something’s wrong? How can you tell if he has a fever or illness?

Because your puppy is not able to tell you what’s wrong, it’s up to you to look for signs. Here is a list of the most common signs. If you see ANY of these signs, it’s time to call your veterinarian:

  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Depression
  • Red eyes
  • Warm ears 
  • Warm, dry nose
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal discharge

Taking the Temperature

If you feel comfortable, you can take your puppy’s temperature using a special ear or rectal thermometer (made especially for puppies).

If your puppy’s resting temperature is above 103º (which is considered a fever) or below 99º, contact your veterinarian immediately. There are a number of possible causes for your puppy’s fever including:

  • Infection (bacterial, viral, fungal). There are a variety of infections your puppy could have contracted. Consult your veterinarian if you think an infection might be to blame.
  • Recent vaccination. It’s normal for a puppy to develop a low-grade fever within the 24-48 hours following a vaccination.
  • Toxins. Your puppy may have ingested something he is not supposed to, such as human medication, household cleaning products or other toxins.

Like people, puppies can get sick too.

So remember: temperature matters. And it’s always best to turn to a veterinary professional for the sake of the puppy’s health, and the peace of mind of the entire family.

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