Cat and Dog Fever

Just like humans, your pets can have a rise in temperature and have a fever. Unfortunately, identifying a fever in dogs and cats isn’t as easy as it is in people. They can’t tell us they don’t feel well, and we can’t place our hand on their foreheads to detect a rise in temperature.

There are also misconceptions about fevers among pets. Some people think that feeling their nose to see if it is warm and dry is proof that there’s no fever – that’s simply not the case.

What’s Causing Your Pet’s Fever

There are several potential causes for a dog or cat’s fever. They’re all linked from other medical issues, including:

  • Infection (bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Heat stroke
  • Certain toxins

Identifying the Fever

So how can you tell if your pet has a fever? There are some clinical signs that can be associated with this condition:

  • Lethargy
  • Not wanting to eat or drink
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Coughing, sneezing or a runny nose

Taking Your Pet’s Temperature

The only accurate way to determine your pet’s temperature is to take it rectally. You don’t need a special instrument; it can be done using a human thermometer.  The thermometer should be lubricated with petroleum jelly and then inserted into your pet’s rectum. Having a second person hold your pet’s head while you are attempting to do this can help make the process easier.

Leave an electric thermometer in until it beeps. If it’s a standard thermometer, keep it inserted for at least two minutes. Normal temperatures for a cat and dog are between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F). If your pet has a temperature that is greater than 103 degrees F, then a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

Remember to never give human medications to your pet. Drugs such as acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen can be toxic to your pet.

Learn More

The best way to keep your pet healthy is through preventive care. Consider enrolling your dog or cat on an Optimum Wellness Plan. Each plan is designed to cater to your pet’s specific needs, but each plan does include early screenings for illnesses and unlimited office visits.

You can read even more about your pet’s health in the Preventive Care section of our website, or by reading these suggested articles.