Human’s love for animals has made us keep them as pets with us at home for many generations – and standing at the top of the list of man’s preferred pets are dogs of various breeds. These creatures are adorable, sweet and intelligent. No wonder they are regarded as man’s best friends. As members of our homes, we do not handle our pets’ illness any less than we would do to any other member of our family. Has your dog ever fallen sick? If yes, how did you feel about it?

According to experts, fever is a state of the body where the temperature is above normal, and it is usually due to the presence of inflammation and infection. It is, however, difficult to detect fever in dogs since their body temperature is always higher than ours. A dog’s normal body temperature should be between 101-102.5F. If your dog’s temperature ever rises to 103 or beyond, then it has a fever. Anything beyond 106°F is dangerous for the dog and can damage vital body organs. Fever is usually an indicator of different forms of illnesses, and below are some common reasons that will make your dog get feverish.

  • Vaccination
  • Infection
  • Toxins
  • Unknown Origin

Check your dog’s nose; it is supposed to be cool and wet; if it turns out to be hot and dry, it might be a sign that it is feverish. Other indicators of fever in dogs may include; nasal discharge, vomiting, lethargy, red eyes, depression, loss of appetite, shivering, warm ears, coughing. Running a rectal temperature scan is the best way to find out if truly your dog is feverish.

We are now going to look at the reasons your dogs may be feeling hot.

Why Your Dog is Hot

The first thing you should know about fever is that it is not a sickness of its own, but it is usually a sign of an illness or disease. Below is the common reason that your dog is feverish.


Dogs are prone to many types of infections, and almost all types, whether bacterial or fungal infection comes with fever. The infection can be hiding anywhere in your dog’s body, such as the kidney(resulting in pyelonephritis), lungs (resulting in pneumonia), brain (encephalitis), and even skin. Depending on the part of your dog that was affected, the symptom may differ. 

There are some cases where more than one body part is infected at a time, especially where the infection is fungal. Dogs can get infections from many sources, such as injuries like cuts or scratches. Others include ear infection, infection of vital organs like lung and kidney, ear infection, urinary tract, abscessed tooth, and viral or bacterial disease.


After administration of a vaccine to a dog, it is usually common for the canine to develop feverish signs, and this can last for up to 48 hours. If this occurs to your dog, do not worry, it will be fine. Other normal reactions that can occur due to the vaccination include the swelling of the area where the vaccine was injected, loss of appetite, decreased activity, nasal discharge, etc. 

Other reactions which are less common include vomiting, difficulty in breathing, coughing, swollen face, neck, or ears, bumpy or itchy skin, and diarrhea. If your dog shows any of these signs after vaccination, take it to a vet immediately.


Toxins are any substance that causes harm to the body when consumed. In some cases, substances that are safe for one organism to consume may be toxic for another.  A poorly trained dog may pick things from the floor to eat. When it consumes a poisonous substance, it will cause a rapid increase in temperature. Some items that are safe for human consumption such as antidepressants,  macadamia nuts, toxic plants, antifreeze, some human foods etc. are toxic for dogs.

Unknown Origin

In some cases, your dog may spontaneously develop fever without any exact reason. This is the type of fever that vets refer to as fever of unknown origin. This type of spontaneous fever is common with cats and dogs and comes with other symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, occasionally trembling, and loss of appetite. Although the cause of this fever is unknown, it is also nothing to worry about as it is not harmful. A study has shown that dogs prone to getting infections are more prone to developing this type of fever. Young pets are more at risk of getting this type of fever than older pets. Sometimes, if a dog gets an infection from a small injury that is not visible, it may be diagnosed as a fever of unknown origin. Typically, this form of fever will stop within 48 hours, and pets who suffer from it once may not have it again.

Solution for a Feverish Dog

If your dog’s temperature goes above 103F, seek the help of a Vet. Anything above 106F is an emergency, and help needs to be rendered immediately. The vet will give IV fluids and anti-inflammatory injection to the dog. The vet might also need to carry out urinalysis and blood tests to detect the exact cause of the fever. 

If the results turn out to be fever of unknown origin, the vet can administer treatment for dehydration and bacterial injection as this has been proven to work for similar cases in the past. Antibiotics, pain relievers, and intravenous fluids are mostly used in this case. In case the dog doesn’t show any sign of recovery after this treatment, it might have to be transferred to an intensive care unit, and other tests may be needed. 

Some of the tests include other urine and blood tests, x-ray, DNA test, culture of fungus and bacteria, ultrasound, sampling of joints, lymph nodes, and organs. In serious cases, the pet may need a 24 hrs supervision at a veterinary facility.

Prevention of Fever in Dogs

You might be tempted to give your feverish dog a human medication that is used to regulate fever, but it is not dangerous to do so. Drugs like Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are toxic to dogs and can lead to death. Always ensure that poisonous substances are kept safe from your dogs. These include rodenticide, insecticide, human drugs, pet medication (overdose), human food like chocolate, garden products, household products, etc.

It is advisable to keep a record of your dog’s normal body temperature so that you can determine when it is becoming feverish by a strong deviation from the normal temperature. There is no fixed body temperature for dogs as it changes at different times of the day. Therefore, you are to record the temperature at different times of the day. A temperature of 105F and above requires the attention of a vet. You can bring help to bring down your dog’s temperature by cleaning around the ears and feet with cold water. Once the temperature is back to 103F, you can stop the cooling process as reducing the temperature too far, and fast is not safe for your dog. 

Make sure your dog stays hydrated throughout by giving it small amounts of water to drink repeatedly. In the case of toxins, note down the type of toxin that the dog consumed. This will help the vet get to the root of the problem faster and provide adequate help in time. In case your dog is reacting to the administration of the vaccine as earlier stated,  it will need to receive an antihistamine when next it has to take a vaccine.

There are numerous pet hotlines to contact whenever there is an emergency, such as poisoning or high fever. As we stated earlier, store human medications away from your pet. Even the pet’s medication can result in overdose if consumed uncontrollably. Keep the floor of your house free from any harmful substances that your dog may swallow. Before giving any treatment to your dog, make sure you read about it to ensure they are safe for consumption. Read the back of the product label to see if there is any substance used in making the treat that is not secure. Keep rodenticides, pesticides, insecticides, and all chemical products away from your dog( preferably on a high shelf where your dog’s paw cannot reach. Finally, before planting a new flower or crop around your house, make sure that it is not harmful to dogs when consumed.

Cost of Treating Fever in Dogs

The cost of treating a feverish dog may vary differently depending on the underlying cause of the fever. The treatment for allergies that results from vaccination will cost around $1200; the cost of treating infection varies from $600-$2000 depending on the type of infection and location. The cost for treating toxins also varies based on the type of toxin involved. However, the average price for treating a feverish dog is anywhere around 1000$. Like we said at the beginning, our pets are a member of our family and no cost is too high to pay for their wellbeing.

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