How much above a normal temperature is considered a fever in dogs; what's
the purpose of fever and what you can do at home.
The body, whether ours or our dogs, is a miraculous thing.
It has many ways to repair itself and fight off invading forces.
One of those is an above normal dog temperature.
Let's look at a dog fever. First of all, the normal dog temperature is 101.5 so a range of 100.5 to 102.5 is considered normal.
(I think that's one of the reasons they feel so good to cuddle.)
A canine fever is an ingenious way to kill an invading force in a sick dog.
Let's say you get the flu. Your temperature rises. While you are uncomfortable, the body's temperature stays high until it kills the virus or bacteria trying to harm you, and it works!
We have become so trained we attack a fever with pills to stop the fever. What we are really doing is attacking the very thing trying to heal us. In other words we are stopping the symptom rather than the disease, all in the sake of comfort. This just prolongs the healing process.
I'm not saying to ignore a dog fever, I'm saying rushing to fix it has effects as well.
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Here is an example using two of my own children with a case the flu:
My 10-year-old son didn't feel well and had a slight rise in body temperature.
He felt awful and had a fever of 102 degrees, and then it rose that night. Trying to let nature take its course, I put him on the couch where I could watch him. Of course I was worried and nervous and took his temperature every few hours while I gave him water to sip and healthy frozen lime juice bars to keep him hydrated. He ate nothing. The thermometer reading rose to 104 degrees and his eyes looked glassy. Very late that night his head felt a bit cooler, so I slept. The next morning it was gone and he looked completely normal.
He felt fine and his appetite returned.
My 15-year-old daughter caught the flu and insisted on taking ibuprofen and she insisted she needed to eat to keep up her strength. (She was at the age of knowing everything.) There was no fever with medicine.
She felt much worse and gave up eating since she couldn't keep anything down. Her temperature increased to 100.5 with ibuprofen.
Days 3 & 4:
Exhausted, she slept both days while continuing the ibuprofen and I made her Healing Broth to sip on. Temperature hovered around 101.5
Dizzy and achy, she slept less and temperature stayed at 100 degrees.
Days 6 - 10:
She returned to school, while her temperature elevated slightly each night and she slept a great deal.
She finally felt better and stopped the ibuprofin.
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I'm not telling you to treat a fever in dogs by putting your dog on the sofa and giving him lime juice bars.
The illustration is the power the body has to self heal and rushing to lower the body temperature isn't critical unless it's very high.
Had my son's fever gone up one more degree I probably would have packed him off to the emergency room.
So what would I do if my dog had a fever?
First, I would get curious instead of panic.
I would take her temperature to see where we stand, keeping in mind, if she's been active or even been barking, her temperature will be slightly higher.
Then I would do the dehydration test because I know dog dehydration is more likely to cause problems than a fever in dogs.
This gives me a starting point and allows me to monitor any progress. I would do the fun physical exam and do the steps of Taking Care of a Dog the Right Way way under Basic Dog Care.
After all, the more you know, the more you can help and if you need to make a trip to the vet you will make the vet's job easier as well.
I would not feed her any food at all but would encourage water.
To understand there are actual health benefits to not eating, please read Fasting for Health .
Fasting: When it comes to illness and fever in dogs, food is not essential and will slow down the healing process.
Digestion uses a LOT of the body's energy. In fact, fasting helps the
body rid itself of toxins.
If you're one of my regular readers, here's a perfect time to get out the NSP Silver Shield liquid and give a teaspoon twice a day.
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always, the information I share is to help you help your dog. It is not
my intention to replace your veterinarian, but to understand more about
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