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Dogs/Fever in Pets.


QUESTION: Dear Karen

Can we check and measure the Body Temperature in Pets viz dog, cat, Horse etc with a thermometer?.

Similar to Human Body Temperature exceeding 104 Fahrenheit which could be fatal, What will be the maximum Temperature which if exceeds could be fatal for pets?.


ANSWER: My expertise is dogs, but cats and horses are not that dissimilar, and all can have their temperatures taken rectally. (Normal temps for cats are 100.4-102.5F and horses are 99-101F.)

Normal temperature for dogs is 100-102F, and anything over that is concerning.... and 104 could quickly be deadly as dogs can only cool themselves down by panting, which helps to bring cooler air into their bodies. If that air is warmer than they are, they will go into hyperthermia (heat stroke) and die quickly.  

Very young and very old dogs have a higher risk of developing hyperthermia than do dogs in the prime of their lives. Brachycephalic breeds (pushed-in faces), obese animals, long-haired dogs, and dogs that are black or dark in color are also predisposed to developing heat stroke. Dogs with hyperthyroidism, heart disease, lung disease, or thick hair coats have an increased risk as well.

I would say that any internal temperature one or two degrees over normal in any animal will kill it if it goes untreated, particularly if it has no access to water as it will then dehydrate quickly.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Karen


1 The primary reason for fever in Pets could be food poisoning?.

2 Can we check Body Temperature in Birds?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

I seriously doubt that the primary reason for fever in pets is food poisoning. I have seen my dogs eat some things that would have had me in bed moaning if I had eaten it<G> Some dogs here (USA) are fed raw foods, but the majority are fed kibble (dry dog food), and kibble just doesn't "spoil" like raw foods can. As long as the bag of dry dog food doesn't get moldy or get too warm, it will last for a few weeks.

Most fevers occur in dogs because of illness or disease, and any dog with a temperature should be seen by a veterinarian to determine the problem and proper course of treatment.

The other reason for running a temperature would be overheating due to being allowed to get too warm outside or in an enclosed car where the inside of the car can rise to 160 degrees in just a few minutes in the sun. That will kill a dog *very* quickly.

As to pet birds, apparently their temperatures are also taken rectally. I would assume that would be more the larger parrots than the smaller ones like canaries as they can be pretty small.


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Karen Brittan


I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs:

Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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