5 Easy Steps to Take Your Dog’s Temperature
14 October, 2013

If you think that your pup might have a cold or isn’t feeling well or you can see that your dog’s nose is running, it could mean your dog is sick.  But, before rushing off to the veterinarian, you should try to take your dog’s temperature as it is the most reliable way to detect if your pup is sick.

Below are 5 easy steps to take your dog’s temperature.  The most accurate way to get a reading is to do so from the behind.

1. You might need to two people to be effective

Most dogs, without understanding what you’re doing to them or why, will be resistant to having their temperature taken rectally. Have someone ready to help you in case you need a second set of hands. Even if your friend is only there for moral support, calming and soothing your dog, or feeding him treats during the measurement, it will make the process much easier on you both!

2. Prepare the thermometer

Clean the tip of the thermometer with a sterilizing agent such as alcohol. Then, make use of a probe cover to avoid any cross-contamination. Add a dab of petroleum jelly to the tip of the thermometer in order to make the insertion process a lot easier.

3.  Get your dog prepared

With your dog standing up (to avoid injury), lift his tail while your friend/helper keeps him calm and still. Speak to your dog in a soft, soothing voice as you slowly put the thermometer into your dog’s rectum about an inch. It isn’t necessary and could harm your dog, to insert the thermometer any further. Do not force the thermometer tip into your dog’s rectum. If you have difficulty with insertion, take your pet to his veterinarian for an accurate reading.

4. Take the reading

Because having his temperature taken isn’t fun for your dog, we recommend making use of a quick-reading digital thermometer. Follow the thermometer’s instructions for taking a temperature and wait for the temperature to be displayed before removing it from your dog’s rectum. Make a note of your dog’s temperature and monitor it for changes.

5. Your dog’s final temperature

A dog’s normal body temperature should be between 100.5 and 102.5.  If your dog’s temperature is within this range, he or she is not running a fever. If the temperature is higher or lower than this range, your dog might be sick. If your dog’s temperature is outside of the acceptable range by 1.5 degrees or more, immediately take him to see your veterinarian.

While some manufacturers have created infrared ear thermometers for taking your dog’s temperature, these devices do not take into account the drastic differences from one dog’s ear shape and size to the next. And, they require extreme precision and correct use to generate an accurate body temperature. A rectal temperature, although not the most fun for your dog, is the most accurate.

Knowing your dog’s body temperature before picking up the phone and calling your veterinarian can be a huge help in determining if immediate care is needed.   

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