Dogs can get fevers just like people do, but determining whether it’s a true fever and what the underlying cause is a bit tricker. A normal healthy dog has a body temperature of 101-102.5°F (or 38.3-39.2°C), but a fever should never be diagnosed purely based on how a dog feels to the touch – a thermometer is the only way to accurately determine this. Elevated body temperatures in dogs can also occur due to or hyperthermia, which occurs when your dog becomes overheated from external factors such as overexertion, heat stroke, excitement or fear.
The most common causes of fever are infections, inflammation and autoimmune diseases, and should be brought to the attention of a vet within 12-24 hours. Never use over the counter medications for humans to treat your dog’s fever – this usually causes an upset stomach, liver or kidney damage. On the other hand, if you believe your dog is hyperthermic, you can cool them down and offer cold water. Watch out for signs of heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition most often caused by dogs being inadvertently left in a too-hot environment.