How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature Safely

You’re dog can’t tell you when she is sick, so it is important to watch her behavior carefully and get to the vet if you think something is wrong. It’s helpful to know if she has a fever, but many owners aren’t sure how to take their dog’s temperature. The process is fairly easy, however, and can be accomplished in two ways.

The first is by ear. To do this, gently place an ear thermometer horizontally into your dog’s ear canal. Go far enough into his ear to read the temperature around his ear drum. Ear thermometers are only accurate when used properly, so consider having your vet demonstrate for you so you know you’ve got it right.

A more accurate reading can be taken rectally. To accomplish this, lubricate a mercury thermometer with petroleum jelly and then lay your dog on her side. Hold her there gently while talking soothingly to her. Then lift her tail and gently insert the thermometer to a depth of one to three inches, depending on her size. Using a slight twisting motion helps ease the thermometer in more comfortably. Hold the thermometer in place for two minutes, then remove it, wipe it clean and read the result. This is easier if someone else holds the dog, so get someone the dog knows and trusts to help you if you can.

No matter which method you use, a temperature reading between 100 and 102 Fahrenheit is normal. If your dog’s temperature drops below 99 degrees or climbs above 103 it is time to see the vet.

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