Why every dog owner should know how to safely take your dogs temperature – Learn the expert techniques

Pets’ body temperature can increase for several reasons, such as infection, inflammation, fever, or stress. However, pets cannot tell when they are feeling hot, so taking their temperature is important as it helps you decide whether or not your pet needs veterinary attention. Keep reading to learn how to take your dog’s temperature at home.

The Normal Body Temperature

  • The normal body temperature for cats range from 100.5 to 102.5 degree Fahrenheit, and for dogs, it’s between 100.2 to 103.8. If the temperature readings of your pet are elevated without any apparent cause, it’s best to double-check. Let your pet rest for about 10 minutes before taking their temperature again. Visit a veterinarian if the temperature is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or below 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

Taking Your Pet’s Temperature

  • Even a well-behaved pet can become upset when trying to take temperature. Don’t ignore safety; stop taking your pet’s temperature if they become aggressive. Here’s how you can safely take your pet’s body temperature through different methods:

Rectal Temperature

This is a simple method used in many veterinary hospitals. Use a digital thermometer for this purpose.

  • Use a sterile lube to lubricate the tip of the thermometer, as it allows easier insertion.
  • Gently lift the tail or move it to the side to insert the lubricated thermometer into the rectum.
  • For cats and small dogs, insert the thermometer about an inch. For large dogs, insert it to about two to three inches. Never use force when doing so.
  • Let your pet relax for a few moments before advancing.
  • A digital thermometer will beep when a reading is obtained, usually within 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the thermometer when you are done.

Axilla Temperature

It is a non-invasive method to measure your pet’s temperature. Use a reliable and fear-free-approved device to take your pet’s temperature.

  • Allow your pet to sit or stand comfortably to ensure they remain still.
  • Place the probe tip of the thermometer in the armpit. No lubrication is needed in this method.
  • Insert it as far forward and upwards as possible and maintain this position until you obtain a final reading.

Ear (aural) Temperature

safely take your dogs temperatureThe ear (aural) temperature is a commonly used method to measure a pet’s body temperature. However, accurate readings depend on the correct positioning of the probe in the ear. Follow these guidelines to ensure accurate and safe measurements:

  • Ensure the thermometer probe is clean and free from dirt, dust, fingerprints, and earwax. Gently clean the probe with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol if needed.
  • Allow the probe to air dry for ten minutes before using it.
  • Some ear thermometers may require calibration before use. Read the instructions in the user manual to determine if your specific thermometer needs calibration or other specific preparations.
  • Measure the temperature from the horizontal canal of the ear by gently pulling the pinna (ear flap) out to straighten the ear canal.
  • Carefully insert the probe straight into the ear canal.
  • Insert the probe as deep as possible to ensure it fits snugly within the horizontal canal.
  • Once the probe is properly inserted, press the start button on the thermometer. Most thermometers will signal when the measurement is complete.

If you are unsure about the process or worried about your pet’s condition, don’t wait any longer and consult the vet. At Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center, we provide the best urgent care services that keep your pets healthy and comfortable. We offer veterinary services in Charlottesville, VA. To book an appointment, contact us at (434) 971-9800.