As a dog owner, you want to make sure your furry friend is happy, healthy, and comfortable. One crucial aspect of your dog’s health is monitoring their body temperature. A dog’s normal body temperature is slightly higher than a human’s, so knowing what range is considered safe for your pup is crucial.

This Temperature Chart for Dogs guide will cover everything you need to know about your dog’s temperature, including the normal range and how to measure it and recognize when it’s time to seek veterinary care.

What is the Normal Temperature Range for Dogs?

The normal temperature range for dogs is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). Puppies and older dogs may have slightly different ranges, but this is the general guideline for adult dogs. Anything outside this range could indicate a fever or another health issue, so keeping a close eye on your dog’s temperature is crucial.

Note that a dog’s body temperature can fluctuate throughout the day and can be affected by factors such as exercise, stress, and environmental temperature.

This is our Temperature Chart for Dogs:

This image shows a temperature chart for dogs with normal temperatures as follows:
Normal: 99.5°F to 102.5°F (37.5°C to 39.2°C)
Average: 101.3°F (38.5°C)
Newborn puppy: 94° to 97°F at birth (34.4° to 36.1°C); 100°F (37.3°C) at 4 weeks old
Puppies have a lower temperature than adult dogs, that is 94° to 97°F at birth (34.4° to 36.1°C) and approximately 100°F (37.3°C) at four weeks of age.

Normal: 99.5°F to 102.5°F (37.5°C to 39.2°C)

Average: 101.3°F (38.5°C)

Newborn puppy: 94° to 97°F at birth (34.4° to 36.1°C); 100°F (37.3°C) at 4 weeks old

Knowing Your Dog’s Abnormal Temperature Range

Anything outside the normal temperature range can indicate a health issue and may require veterinary attention. Although higher than normal temperatures can usually be considered as fever, this can be caused by other reasons (see below).

Here are the temperature ranges in case of fever in a dog:

Mild fever: 102.6°F to 103.5°F (39.2°C to 39.7°C)

Moderate fever: 103.6°F to 105.5°F (39.8°C to 40.8°C)

High fever: 105.6°F and above (40.9°C and above)

Hypothermia: 99.5 °F (37.5 °C) and below

How to Take Your Dog’s Temperature

The most accurate way to take your dog’s temperature is rectally using a digital thermometer.

Use a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly or preferably a water-based lubricant, to make the process more comfortable for your dog.

Try to use a separate thermometer for your dog and not the same thermometer you use for humans. Avoid using glass thermometers (for safety reasons).

There are thermometers specially designed for pets. These thermometers are less invasive and more comfortable for your furry friend. There are excellent inexpensive such veterinary thermometers on the market.

Here’s how to take your dog’s temperature step by step:

  • Lubricate the tip of the thermometer
  • Lift your dog’s tail and insert the thermometer into the rectum
  • You can give support to your dog by placing a hand on their belly (they will tend to kneel down)
  • Hold the thermometer in place for about 20 seconds or until it beeps
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature
  • Disinfect your thermometer by wiping it with alcohol

If you’re unsure about taking your dog’s temperature, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. They can show you the proper technique and give you tips on how to make the process as stress-free as possible for your dog.

You may want to see some illustrated directions on how to take your dogs temperature

Signs of a Fever in Dogs

As veterinarians, we often see dogs with fevers.

A fever is defined as an increase in body temperature above the normal range, as the body’s natural response to infection or inflammation, and it serves a useful physiological purpose by helping the immune system fight off invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

When the body detects an infection, it releases chemicals that signal the hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain that regulates body temperature, to increase the set point for body temperature. This increase in set point triggers a series of physiological responses that raise the body’s temperature to the new set point, which in turn helps to create a less hospitable environment for the invading pathogens.

Knowing the signs of a fever in dogs is essential for monitoring your dog’s health.

Here are some common signs of a fever in dogs:

  • Lethargy and decreased activity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Dry nose*
  • Warm ears and paws
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

If you notice any of these signs, take your dog’s temperature and monitor their behavior closely. If their temperature is above the normal range, it’s time to seek veterinary care.

(*) Note: It’s common knowledge that a dog’s nose is typically cool and damp, but it’s worth noting that this can vary based on factors such as the dog’s activity level, hydration status, and environmental conditions like temperature and humidity. While it’s true that a warm, dry nose can sometimes be a sign of fever, it’s not a reliable indicator on its own. If you’re concerned that your dog may have a fever, other signs like the above may be present simultaneously, but using a rectal thermometer is the best way to confirm it.

If you notice any concerning symptoms or changes in your dog’s behavior, consult your veterinarian.

What other causes can generate a temperature rise?

  • Fear or excitement
  • Extreme heat conditions (Heatstroke)
  • Exercise (especially with excessive efforts)
  • Tissue inflammation or trauma
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Cancer
  • Drug therapy (i.e., penicillin and cephalosporins antibiotics)
  • Seizures
  • Endocrine disorders (i.e., hyperthyroidism)

When to Check Your Dog’s Temperature?

It is a good idea to check your dog’s temperature regularly to establish their baseline and monitor any changes. Ideally, it would help if you took your dog’s temperature at the same hour each day, such as during their morning walk or mealtime.

It is imperative to take your dog’s temperature if you notice any changes in their behavior or physical condition. Symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting could be signs of a fever or other health issues.

What to Do If Your Dog Has a High Temperature?

If your dog’s temperature falls outside the normal range, it is essential to take immediate action. As mentioned before, high temperatures can indicate a fever, infection, or another underlying health condition requiring prompt medical attention.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog’s temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius). In the meantime, you can help your dog feel more comfortable by providing plenty of water, rest, and a cool environment.

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help lower your dog’s fever. However, only do this under your veterinarian’s guidance.

What are heat stress and heat stroke?

Heat stress and heat stroke are serious conditions that can be life-threatening for dogs and cats.

Most cases of heat stroke in pets occur due to owner neglect, such as leaving pets in cars or keeping them outdoors without adequate shelter, shade, and water.

Other factors predisposing pets to heat stroke include obesity, poor conditioning, seizures, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, lung disease, and flat noses (brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Boxer Dogs, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese, among others).

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bright red mucous membranes (for instance inside the mouth)
  • Thickened saliva
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lying down
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect your pet is suffering from this problem, take their temperature with a digital thermometer and:

Situation A: If their body temperature is less than 105 °F or 40.5 °C (heat stress), move them to a cool, shady area, offer cool (not cold*) water in small portions, and place cool, moistened towels over their neck and back.

Situation B: If their body temperature exceeds 105 °F or 40.5 °C (heat stroke), immerse them in cool (not cold*) water or spray them down with a water hose. Monitor their rectal temperature every 5 minutes and discontinue the cooling procedure when their temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit or after 10 minutes of first aid. Seek immediate veterinary care for your pet.

(*) Some more details: do not use ice-cold water or an ice pack, as this can actually be harmful and cause the blood vessels to constrict, making it harder for the body to cool down mainly because the blood flow becomes difficult on reduced blood vessels.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If your dog’s body temperature continues to rise, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian can provide intravenous fluids and medications to help lower your dog’s body temperature and prevent further complications.

How to avoid heat stroke from happening to your dog?

To avoid hyperthermia in dogs, take certain precautions, especially during the hot summer months. Ensure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water and a shaded area where they can rest. Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest parts of the day, and make sure that they are not left in a hot car or any other confined space with limited ventilation.

What is hypothermia?

Dogs, just like humans, can be susceptible to hypothermia during cold weather. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below its normal range, and it can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

When a dog spends too much time in subzero temperatures, hypothermia can lead to serious health consequences. Initially, the dog may experience shivering, lethargy, and lack of coordination. As hypothermia progresses, the dog’s heart rate and breathing may slow down, and become unconscious. In severe cases, hypothermia can even lead to organ failure and death.

The organs that suffer the most in dogs exposed to prolonged subzero temperatures are the kidneys, which can be damaged due to decreased blood flow, and the lungs, which can suffer from inflammation and fluid buildup. The heart can also be affected due to the increased workload required to maintain the dog’s body temperature. Other organs, such as the liver and brain, can also be impacted due to decreased oxygen supply and possible tissue damage.

How much time can a dog be outside in winter to not get hypothermia or frostbite?

To prevent hypothermia, try to limit your dog’s time in cold temperatures and provide adequate shelter and protection from the elements.

The amount of time a dog can safely spend outside in the winter will depend on several factors, such as the breed, size, and overall health of the dog, as well as the temperature, wind chill, and weather conditions. A general rule of thumb is to limit outdoor activities to 30 minutes or less when the temperature drops below freezing. However, monitor your dog closely for any signs of discomfort or distress.

To help prevent hypothermia in dogs, provide them with a coat or sweater to help retain body heat, especially for breeds with short hair.

What body temperature is considered hypothermia?

A dog is hypothermic if the body temperature is 98 °F (36.7 °C) or below.

What are the signs of hypothermia?

The signs of hypothermia in dogs include:

  • Shivering
  • Lethargy (sleepy)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Decreased heart and respiratory rates

What can be done about hypothermia in a dog?

If you suspect your dog is suffering from hypothermia, it is vital to take immediate action.

Move your dog to a warm, dry area.

Help your dog warm up by covering them with a blanket or towel and placing hot water bottles or a heating pad (wrapped in a towel and set on low) against their torso. Be careful not to apply heat directly to the extremities, which can cause burns.

A solar blanket can also help conserve body heat. Finally, please keep your pet as still as possible to avoid cardiac arrhythmias, and monitor their temperature every 15 minutes.

Once their body temperature reaches 100 to 102 °F (37.7 °C  to 38.8 °C), remove any external heat sources.

If your dog’s body temperature continues to drop, seek veterinary care immediately. A veterinarian can provide warm fluids and other treatments to help raise your dog’s body temperature and prevent further complications.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite occurs when the skin and other tissues freeze due to exposure to cold temperatures, leading to tissue damage and severe health problems.

Look for signs such as discoloration, swelling, pain, or a lack of sensation in the affected area. In some cases, blisters and hair loss may also occur.

Frostbite most commonly affects dogs’ ears, tail, scrotum, and feet.

Frostbite most commonly affects dogs' ears, tail, scrotum, and feet
Most common places where frostbite can affect the dog’s body

Frostbite can range in severity from mild (involving only superficial skin layers) to severe (involving deeper tissues such as muscle and bone).

Symptoms of frostbite in dogs include:

  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Blisters

In severe cases, frostbite can lead to tissue death and may require amputation of affected body parts. Therefore, prevention is key, and dog owners should take steps to keep their pets warm and protected from freezing temperatures by having their dogs wear winter clothes, avoiding going out when temperatures are below zero, or limiting the time outside to 30 minutes or less.

Do not try to rub the affected area if you notice frostbitten body parts. Instead, keep the injured body part elevated if possible and apply a sterile dressing and bandage.

Seek veterinary help as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Beyond cold exposure, are there other causes of low body temperature in dogs?

During the pre-labor phase, the body temperature of female dogs typically drops to around 98.5 °F (37 °C). However, the body temperature usually returns to normal once labor begins.

Talking about dog reproduction, notice that during estrus (heat) in female dogs, there may be a slight increase in body temperature due to hormonal changes. However, this increase is usually within a normal range and is not considered a significant change in body temperature.

Low body temperatures in dogs may arise from shock resulting from a traumatic event or experiencing extreme fear.

A scared chihuahua is shown in the image. Dogs may experience low body temperatures due to shock caused by a traumatic event or extreme fear.
Dogs may experience low body temperatures due to shock caused by a traumatic event or extreme fear

There are several other reasons why a dog’s body temperature might drop below normal levels, most of them medical, which include hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, other diseases, and certain medications.
The use of anesthesia in surgery causes the temperature to drop
Sometimes, a drop in body temperature may indicate a serious underlying health condition.
Seek veterinary care if you notice any abnormal changes in your dog’s body temperature

Are there differences in rectal temperature observed among dog breeds?

In general, larger dogs (such as a Great Dane) have a lower daily average body temperature than smaller dogs (like Chihuahuas).

Brachycephalic breeds have higher temperatures than non-brachycephalic breeds.

Brachycephalic breeds are, for instance, Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Shih Tzu

Non-brachycephalic breed examples are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies


Q: What is the normal body temperature for a dog?

A: The normal body temperature for a dog is between 99.5°F and 102.5°F (37.5°C and 39.2°C).

Q: What is the most accurate way to measure my dog’s temperature?

A: The most accurate way to measure your dog’s temperature is by taking a rectal reading with a digital thermometer designed for pets.

Q: How can I take my dog’s temperature?

A: The most accurate way to take a dog’s temperature is rectally using a digital thermometer. Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or a water-based lubricant, insert it into the rectum about an inch, and hold it in place for 60 seconds.

Q: How often should I check my dog’s temperature?

A: Establishing a baseline and monitoring changes in your dog’s temperature regularly is an excellent idea. Ideally, taking their temperature at the same hour each day would be best.

Q: Can stress or exercise affect my dog’s temperature?

A: Yes, stress or exercise can cause a temporary increase in your dog’s temperature. It is recommended to take your dog’s temperature when relaxed and not immediately after a workout.

Wrapping up

We hope our temperature chart for dogs article has been informative and helpful for you in understanding the normal range of body temperatures in dogs. However, if you ever suspect that your furry friend’s temperature is outside this range, it’s essential to act fast and accurately measure their temperature with a reliable tool. That’s why we invite you to check out our article on dog thermometers, where we review some of the best options available on the market and provide you with valuable information for you to make an informed decision. Don’t let your dog suffer from a fever or hypothermia without knowing how to monitor their temperature properly.
Keep on visiting and continue learning with us how to keep your pet healthy and happy.


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