How to take a dog’s temperature

If you suspect your dog is sick then taking your dog’s temperature is important. It is not difficult, but it is a task best performed by two people. Have someone hold the dog still, preferably someone the dog knows and likes. Digital Rectal Thermometer  I recommend a digital thermometer that can be used rectally.  DO NOT USE A THERMOMETER THAT IS NOT LABELED FOR RECTAL USE!  I also recommend you label the case for dog use only.  Especially if you have children.  You don’t want to mix them up and use the dog’s thermometer on a human.

With the dog STANDING:

  • Clean the thermometer with alcohol. Wipe off excess with a cotton ball.
  • Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly (vaseline) to the head or bulb of a rectal thermometer. Just enough to lubricate the tip.
  • Slowly slide the thermometer into the dog’s rectum about 1 inch deep.
  • Wait 2 minutes for a mercury thermometer or until the digital thermometer beeps.

Remove slowly and read the thermometer. Shake down the thermometer (or shut off a digital one) and clean it with alcohol after every use.

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100.5 Fahrenheit (38.1°C) and 102.5 Fahrenheit (39.2°C).  If the temperature is 103º (39.4º C) or over, call your veterinarian as your dog could be beginning to have a serious problem. 

A dog’s temperature below 99º Fahrenheit (37.2°C) and temperatures above 104º Fahrenheit (40°C) are considered extremely serious and your dog should be brought to a veterinarian immediately.