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How to Take Your Dogs Temperature

How to Take Your Dogs Temperature

Getting to Know Your Dog’s Thermometer

You may have noticed how warm and toasty your furry friend feels when you’re snuggling up on the couch together. Well, it turns out that a dog’s normal body temperature is actually higher than ours – around 101.5°F on average. According to the American Kennel Club, smaller breeds tend to run a bit hotter, while larger pups stay a little cooler. So don’t be alarmed if your Great Dane clocks in at 99°F – that’s perfectly normal for their size.

As a pet parent, it’s important to know how to accurately take your dog’s temperature, especially when they’re not feeling their best. You see, dogs can’t exactly tell us when they have a fever. Instead, we have to play detective and look for subtle clues like lethargy, loss of appetite, and excessive panting. But the only way to know for sure is to break out the trusty thermometer.

Now, you may be tempted to try the old “feel the nose” trick that works for humans. But WebMD warns that a warm, dry nose doesn’t necessarily mean your pup is running a fever. Their normal nose temperature can fluctuate based on factors like excitement, stress, and the great outdoors. The only way to get an accurate reading is to take their temperature the old-fashioned way – with a good ol’ thermometer.

Choosing the Right Thermometer for Your Pooch

When it comes to taking your dog’s temperature, you’ve got a few different options. The most common are digital and rectal thermometers. VCA Hospitals explains that digital thermometers are inserted into the ear canal, while rectal thermometers go, well, you know where.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Ew, I have to stick a thermometer where?!” Trust me, I felt the same way the first time I had to take my dog’s temperature. But it’s really the best way to get an accurate reading, and it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just make sure to have a helping hand nearby to keep your pup nice and still.

Digital ear thermometers are the easiest option, but they aren’t always 100% reliable. You see, a dog’s ear canal is a unique shape, and any wax or debris can throw off the reading. Rectal thermometers, on the other hand, provide the most precise measurement of your pup’s internal temperature. Just be gentle, use a little lubricant, and you’ll be in and out in no time.

If you’re really not keen on the rectal route, you can also try an armpit reading. But the American Kennel Club says this is a distant third choice, as it won’t give you as accurate a reading as the other two methods.

One more thing to note – never, ever use a mercury thermometer on your pup. The glass is super fragile and the mercury inside is highly toxic. Stick to the digital or old-school rectal version to keep your furry friend safe.

The Thermometer Tango: How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature

Okay, so now you know the ins and outs of dog thermometers. But how do you actually go about taking your pup’s temperature? Well, it’s a bit of a dance, but with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time.

First, make sure you have a second pair of hands on deck. VCA Hospitals recommends having one person hold and comfort your dog, while the other handles the thermometer. This is especially important if you’re using the rectal method, as your pup may try to sit down on the thing.

For digital ear thermometers, gently insert the probe into your dog’s ear canal, angling it towards the eardrum. Many models will beep or flash when they’ve got a reading. Just be sure not to force it if your pup seems uncomfortable – an infected or sore ear can make the process painful.

If you’re going the rectal route, first coat the tip of the thermometer with a little lubricant. Then, slowly insert it about an inch for small dogs and 2-3 inches for larger breeds. Hold onto the end so you can easily remove it when it’s done. And whatever you do, don’t force it if your dog clamps down – that’s a one-way ticket to injury town.

Once you’ve got your reading, make sure to wipe down the thermometer and store it somewhere clean and easy to find. That way, you’ll be ready to go the next time your pup needs a temperature check.

When to Call the Vet

Alright, so you’ve taken your dog’s temperature – now what? Well, that all depends on the number you see on the display. As a general rule, the American Kennel Club says anything over 104°F is considered a fever and warrants a call to the vet. Anything over 106°F is an absolute emergency – you need to get your pup cooled down and to the animal hospital ASAP.

On the flip side, if your dog’s temperature dips below 99°F, that’s also cause for concern. Low body temperatures can be a sign of kidney issues, dehydration, or other underlying health problems. In that case, it’s time to grab some warm towels and get in touch with your vet.

Now, I know it can be tempting to try to “fix” the problem yourself, especially if the thermometer is just a little high or low. But WebMD cautions against giving your dog any human medications to lower their fever. Stuff like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be downright deadly for our four-legged friends. Instead, try offering small sips of cool water, applying damp towels to their body, and getting them into a well-ventilated area. But if the temperature doesn’t come down quickly, it’s time to get the professionals involved.

Putting it All Together

Alright, fellow pet parents, let’s recap what we’ve learned about taking your dog’s temperature:

  • A normal dog temperature ranges from 101-102.5°F, with smaller breeds running a bit hotter and larger pups a little cooler.
  • Digital ear and rectal thermometers are the best options for getting an accurate reading.
  • Enlist a helper to keep your pup still and comfortable during the process.
  • Temperatures over 104°F or under 99°F are cause for concern and require a vet visit.
  • Never give your dog human fever-reducing meds – that can be extremely dangerous.

So there you have it – the ins and outs of checking your furry friend’s temperature. Remember, staying on top of your pup’s health is one of the most important jobs of a responsible pet parent. And with a little practice, taking their temperature will become as easy as giving them a good belly rub.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for some cuddle time with my own four-legged friend. After all, what’s the point of having a warm, snuggly dog if you can’t take advantage of it every now and then? Happy temperature-taking, my fellow dog lovers! And don’t forget to give your pup an extra treat for being such a good sport.

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