Dog Health

How To Measure Your Dog’s Temperature Safely

Taking your dog’s temperature provides vital information regarding your dog’s condition.

But, in a life-threatening situation, taking a body temperature may be ignored in order to speed up the dog to an emergency facility.

What is a dog’s normal temperature?

A dog’s normal body temperature is generally between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) (37.5 to 39.5 °C).

How to tell if your dog has a fever

dog's temperature

To see whether your dog has a fever, check his nose first.

Place your palm on his nose and check for warmth.

Normally, the temperature of your dog’s nose is usually anywhere from cold to just slightly warm and slightly wet.

If your dog has a slight or severe fever, his nose will be anywhere from very warm to hot, and it will be dry.

It might even feel a bit wrinkled (as fingers and toes are after being in a long bath).

How to take a dog’s temperature

The best way to measure the temperature of your dog is with a rectal thermometer which you can purchase from any pharmacy.

Vet-Temp Rapid Flexible Digital Pet Thermometer

  • Can measure your pet’s temperature in as little as 10 seconds
  • Digital thermometer designed with an easy-to-read screen
  • Recommended by veterinarians.

To take a rectal temperature of your dog, follow these instructions:

Shake the glass thermometer

(this is unnecessary with a digital model).

Lubricate the thermometer

Use some Vaseline, lubricating jelly, petroleum jelly, liquid soap, or other lubricants that won’t affect the thermometer’s reading.

Slowly raise the tail of the dog

The anus should be visible. If needed, part your dog’s hair so that you have a better view of your target.

Place the tip of the thermometer against the anus

You may note that the anal sphincter may be momentarily tight.

Slowly push the thermometer approximately 1 inch into the rectum.

For the most accurate reading, slide the thermometer approximately one-fourth to one-third of the length of the instrument.

Leave the instrument in about thirty to sixty seconds.

When using a glass thermometer, you can witness the mercury rise for about a minute;

once it stops, your reading is complete.

For a digital model, you’ll hear a beep once the measurement is done.

Slowly remove the thermometer and clean it

You can use a tissue or a cotton ball.

If you’re not in an emergency, it’s also a good idea to disinfect your thermometer with soap and water, followed by an alcohol swab.

Additional Tips:

If you have disposable gloves, wear them.

If you don’t, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after taking the temperature of your dog.

If your dog moves aggressively or vigorously, have someone to help you restrain your dog; otherwise, the thermometer can break inside your dog, which will require an unnecessary visit to the vet.

How to take your dog’s temperature by ear

Ear thermometers are generally favored by dog owners to prevent much of the stress and discomfort that can be induced by rectal thermometers.

There are a few things to consider when using an ear thermometer.

In particular: they are commonly known to be less accurate than rectal temperatures.

You may want to check your dog’s temperature in the ear a few times to get a good reading.

The anatomy of the dog’s ear makes it more difficult to get an accurate measurement.

The dog’s ear is shaped with a 90-degree angle between the eardrum and the end of the ear canal, making it difficult to get an accurate result.

Follow these tips to get an accurate reading from an ear thermometer:

  • Do not take the thermometer out unless you hear the audible beep confirming the temperature has been recorded.
  • Gently pull the ear up and out to flatten the ear canal for the thermometer to get the correct reading.
  • Note that it will always take between 1 and 3 minutes to get a reading, just like with the rectal thermometer.


Never try using a thermometer in the mouth of a puppy. Your dog’s sharp teeth are likely to break it, and if it’s made of glass, your dog’s tongue will get cut.

Dog fever treatment at home

Here are some of the treatments that I would use if my dog had a fever:

Keep your pooch dehydrated

Place plenty of freshwater in various locations around the house. As an extra boost, add Pedialyte, an electrolyte solution.

The minerals will dissolve when the dog becomes dehydrated. Some dogs prefer chicken or beef broth or tuna juice; give them whatever they want.

If your dog refuses to drink, get an eyedropper or a turkey baster to squirt water on the side of his mouth.

Call your veterinarian

Call your vet if the fever lasts for more than 24 hours, and your dog keeps refusing to drink.

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Last update on 2024-04-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Walter Perez

My name is Walter, and I'm a huge dog lover, I have made this blog to share my experience and help dog owners make better decisions in term of improving the quality of their pet's life. I have shared my life with pets since childhood, and I currently own a golden retriever named Bailey.

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