taking dog temperature

How do I take my dog’s temperature?

If you want to be a well-equipped pet owner for times of illness, one of the easiest and most essential skills to master is learning how to take your pet’s temperature. Just like in people, a high or low temperature can indicate a serious illness and may help in determining whether your pet is ill and needs to be seen by a vet. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions for temperature-taking success!

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

To safely measure your dog’s temperature, you’ll need:

  • Thermometer (digital, dedicated ONLY to use in pets!)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Helper or assistant


How to take your dog’s temperature:

Unfortunately, the adage of testing noses and foreheads doesn’t quite ring true in pets. Temperatures in pets must be obtained rectally for the most accurate result.

  1. Have a helper hold onto your pet, facing away from you. The best way to do this is by placing one arm gently under their belly and one arm cradled around their chest with your elbow under their chin. This will help keep your pet standing and still for their temperature.
  2. Lubricate the tip of your thermometer using petroleum jelly.
  3. Insert the tip of the thermometer approximately 1 inch into the anus, and wait for the result after pressing the button appropriately.

What should I do if my dog’s temperature is too high? Too low?

Your pet’s temperature should be between 99.5-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

This can sometimes deviate with times of excitement or from environmental influences (like a very hot day). If your pet’s temperature is mildly elevated after exercise or on a hot day, try wetting their paws or belly with lukewarm water to see if their temperature decreases.

If your dog or can has any elevation above 103, or persistent elevation above 102.5, they should be seen by a vet.

Any temperature below 99.5 is also of concern, and the pet should be gently warmed with blankets (no electric or hot pads!). Seek veterinary care immediately if your pet seems weak, depressed, or you have other concerns about their health.

Is your pet’s temperature elevated? For more information on the causes of increased temperature in dogs, click HERE!

Read more:

First Aid Kit Checklist for the Dog Owner

How to Examine Your Pet at Home: A Step-By-Step Guide

Have more questions about taking your dog’s temperature?

Schedule a video consult to speak with one of our vets.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Schedule a video appointment
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