How to Take a Dog’s Temperature with a Thermometer

At some point or another, your pup might get sick, and you will need to determine if he needs to be seen by a vet. If your dog has been experiencing some signs of illness and not acting like his usual self, you may want to check his temperature.

Fever in dogs can be a sign of several things like infection, hormonal changes, or he may just have gotten overheated. Be sure to assess the situation and likely the causes before making a trip to the vet.

Types Of Dog Thermometers

There are three main types of pet thermometers to check your dog’s temperature.

  • Mercury Rectal Thermometer
  • Digital Rectal Thermometer
  • Digital Ear Thermometer

For the fastest and most precise reading, we recommend a digital rectal thermometer. These thermometers show the result instantly, and you won’t have to worry about them breaking or reading incorrectly.

Digital Ear Thermometers are quick and easier to use, but they are not as accurate. This is because the ears can be warmer or colder, depending on the climate the dog is in.

Mercury thermometers are accurate, but your dog will be uncomfortable for a prolonged amount of time. The longer he waits, the more irritated he can get. And there is always a risk of the thermometer breaking during insertion. This is why we do not recommend using these types.

No matter what thermometer you decide to use, make sure that it was designed for dogs. Human thermometers will not read as accurately because dogs have a higher body temperature than we do.

How To Take A Dog’s Temperature With A Thermometer

This always goes easier if you have a person who your dog trusts to help. They can give reassurance to your dog that everything is ok and give them treats to distract. They can also act as a restraint should your dog become aggressive.

First, have your distraction ready and a helper to hold your dog’s collar. If you don’t have a helper, give your dog an extra special treat like wet food or peanut butter on a toy to distract him.

Next, Take a small amount of petroleum jelly or other water-based lubricants and apply it to the tip of the digital rectal thermometer.

Then, take your dog by the base of the tail and lift it up and away from the anus. Insert the thermometer gently 1-2 inches deep depending on the size of your dog. If you are doing this alone, drape your dog’s tail over your arm while you restrain him by the collar.

Wait for the thermometer to signal that it’s done and gently pull the thermometer out. The average healthy temperature should read anywhere from 100 degrees F to 102.5 degrees F. If your dog has a temperature below or above that speak to your vet immediately.

Digital Ear Thermometers

Each brand differs slightly on how to insert and place the thermometer. Be sure to read all the instructions first before use.

The digital ear thermometers are more comfortable to use for a person who is doing it by themselves. All you need to do is distract your dog while you insert the thermometer. Holding the collar may be necessary to keep the dog’s head still until finished.

Having a sick dog is never fun. But, with these tips hopefully, you can get them feeling better soon.

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