Canine Care: What Can I Give My Dog for Fever and How to Ensure Their Well-being?


Every dog owner knows the joy of having a furry companion by their side. But with that joy comes the responsibility of ensuring their health and well-being. One common concern many dog owners share is, “What can I give my dog for fever?” Just like humans, dogs can fall ill, and understanding how to care for them during these times is crucial.


Recognizing Fever in Dogs

A fever is the body’s natural response to fighting off infections or illnesses. But unlike humans, dogs can’t verbally communicate when they’re feeling under the weather. So, how can you tell if your beloved pet has a fever?

Checking the Temperature: The most accurate way to determine if your dog has a fever is by taking its temperature. A rectal thermometer is the preferred method. While the average human body temperature hovers around 98.6°F, a dog’s normal temperature range is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F. If your dog’s temperature falls outside this range, especially if it’s 1 degree higher or lower, it could indicate a fever.


Physical Signs: Apart from the temperature, there are other signs to watch out for. Warm ears, a warm, dry nose, and shivering can all be indicators. Additionally, if your dog seems more lethargic than usual, it might be worth checking their temperature.

Common Symptoms of Fever in Dogs

While an elevated temperature is a clear sign of a fever, other symptoms can accompany it:

  • Nasal Discharge: A runny nose can be a sign of various ailments in dogs, fever being one of them.
  • Depressed Mood: If your usually energetic pup seems down and out, it might be more than just an off day.
  • Coughing/Heavy Panting: Respiratory symptoms can often accompany a fever, signalling a potential respiratory infection.
  • Shivering: Just like humans, dogs can shiver when they have a fever, even if the environment isn’t cold.
  • Vomiting: Gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, can be a sign of many illnesses in dogs, including those that cause fever.
  • Loss of Appetite: A dog with a fever might not be interested in its food, even if it’s their favourite treat.
  • Lethargy: An overall lack of energy or enthusiasm can be a clear sign that something’s amiss.
  • Red or Glassy Eyes: This can be a sign of discomfort or pain, often accompanying fever.
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Recognizing these symptoms early on can make all the difference in ensuring your dog gets the care it needs.

Causes of Fever in Dogs

Understanding the root cause of a fever is essential for effective treatment. A fever is the body’s way of signalling that it’s fighting off an infection or other ailment. Here are some common causes:

  • Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can lead to fever. This includes infections of the skin, organs, or even tick-borne diseases.
  • Toxins: If a dog ingests something toxic, it can result in a fever. Common toxins include certain plants, foods, or chemicals.
  • Vaccinations: It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop a mild fever after getting vaccinated. This is usually temporary and subsides within a day or two.
  • Immune-mediated Diseases: Sometimes, the body’s immune system can attack its cells, leading to conditions like autoimmune hemolytic anaemia, which can cause fever.
  • Other Underlying Conditions: Issues like pancreatitis, cancer, or endocrine disorders can also manifest with a fever.

Safe Over-the-Counter Medications

Before giving any medication to your dog, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian. However, some over-the-counter medications can be safe for dogs in the right doses:

  • Buffered Aspirin: This can help reduce fever and inflammation in dogs. However, it’s essential to ensure the correct dosage and ensure it’s given with food to prevent stomach upset.
  • Tylenol (Acetaminophen): While it can be used in very specific doses, it’s crucial to consult with a vet. Overdose can be harmful.

Always ensure you’re using the correct dosage and watching for any signs of an allergic reaction or side effects.

Dangerous Over-the-Counter Medications

Just as there are safe medications, there are those that should never be given to dogs:

  • Ibuprofen: Commonly found in many households, even small doses can be toxic to dogs, leading to stomach ulcers, kidney failure, or worse.
  • Naproxen (Aleve): Extremely toxic, even in small amounts. It can cause stomach ulcers, kidney failure, and other severe conditions.
  • Other Human Medications: Always keep human medications out of reach and never administer them without consulting a vet.

Natural Remedies for Dog Fever

While medications can be effective, some pet owners prefer natural remedies to alleviate their dog’s symptoms. Here are some holistic approaches to consider:

  • Cool Water: Ensure your dog stays hydrated. Offering cool water can help bring down the fever. Additionally, dampening a cloth with cool water and gently wiping your dog can provide relief.
  • Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can be added to your dog’s food in small amounts. It can help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
  • Boswellia: Often referred to as Indian frankincense, Boswellia has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Available in supplement form, it can be a natural way to combat fever.
  • CBD Oil: Gaining popularity for its range of health benefits, CBD oil can help reduce inflammation and pain in dogs. Ensure you’re using a product specifically designed for pets.
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While natural remedies can offer relief, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new treatment to ensure it’s safe and effective for your dog.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

While mild fevers can sometimes be treated at home, there are instances when professional intervention is necessary:

  • Prolonged Fever: If your dog’s fever lasts more than 24 hours, it’s time to see a vet.
  • Severe Symptoms: Signs like unresponsiveness, difficulty breathing, or seizures warrant immediate medical attention.
  • Unknown Cause: If you’re unsure what’s causing the fever, it’s always best to consult with a professional to get to the root of the issue.

Your veterinarian can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the best course of action to ensure your dog’s swift recovery.


Our dogs are more than just pets; they’re family. Ensuring their health and well-being is a responsibility we all share as pet owners. While fevers can be concerning, understanding their causes, recognizing the symptoms, and knowing when and how to treat them can make all the difference. Always prioritize your dog’s health, stay informed, and never hesitate to seek professional advice when in doubt.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dog Fevers

1. How can I tell if my dog has a fever without a thermometer?

While a thermometer provides the most accurate reading, signs like a warm, dry nose, shivering, lethargy, and red or glassy eyes can indicate a fever.

2. Are there any home remedies to reduce my dog’s fever?

Yes, keeping your dog hydrated with cool water and using a damp cloth to wipe them down can help. However, always consult a vet before trying any remedies.

3. How high is too high for a dog’s temperature?

A dog’s normal temperature ranges from 99.5°F to 102.5°F. Anything above this range is considered a fever and should be monitored closely.

4. Can I give my dog human fever medicine?

Some human medications, like buffered aspirin, can be given in specific doses. However, many human medicines are toxic to dogs. Always consult a vet before administering any medication.

5. How long should I wait before taking my dog to the vet for a fever?

If the fever persists for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by severe symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian immediately.

6. Can vaccinations cause fever in dogs?

Yes, it’s not uncommon for dogs to develop a mild fever after vaccinations. This usually subsides within a day or two.

7. Are puppies more susceptible to fevers than adult dogs?

Puppies can be more vulnerable to infections and illnesses, which can lead to fevers. It’s essential to monitor their health closely and ensure they receive all recommended vaccinations.

8. Can a fever be a sign of something more serious in dogs?

While fevers often indicate the body is fighting off an infection, they can also be a symptom of more severe conditions like immune-mediated diseases or toxins ingestion.

9. What should I feed my dog when they have a fever?

Offering bland foods like boiled chicken or rice can be gentle on their stomach. Ensure they stay hydrated and consult a vet for specific dietary recommendations.

10. Can stress or anxiety cause a fever in dogs?

While stress itself doesn’t directly cause a fever, it can weaken the immune system, making dogs more susceptible to infections that can lead to fevers.

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