It is false to say that it’s not possible to take a dog’s temperature. It is also false to say that a dog’s temperature can only be taken rectally. There are different ways you can take a dog’s temperature.

To find out if your dog has a fever, check his nose first. Put the palm of your hand on his nose and cheek to feel if it’s warm. Dogs’ noses are slightly wet and usually cold to barely warm. If your dog has a slight fever or a severe fever, his nose will feel warm or hot and it will be dry. You might even see his nose wrinkled, similar to how your fingers and toes look after coming out of a long bath.

But before you decide whether your dog has a fever or not, you need to know that the normal temperature of his body is 99.5 degrees to 102.5 degrees. Anything above that will indicate that he has a fever.

How to take your dog’s temperature rectally: The mercury thermometer is the most common type used to take a dog’s temperature rectally. However, there is a new model that you can get that contains a non-toxic red gel instead of mercury. So, to take your dog’s temperature rectally, follow the instructions listed below.

  •  Before you take your dog’s temperature, lubricate the thermometer with Vaseline or some other lubricant. Make sure that the lubricant does not interfere with the thermometer’s reading.
  •  Wear disposable gloves. If you do not have any, wash your hands thoroughly before and after you take your dog’s temperature.
  • Get someone to help restrain your dog while you take his temperature. Try not to make him move violently because the thermometer can break inside his rectum and injure him. If this happens, you will need to take him to the veterinarian.
  • Slide the thermometer along the rectal wall well into his rectum to get an accurate reading. Leave enough of the thermometer out so you can hold on to it to pull it out. If you have difficulty sliding the thermometer in, it could be that there is stool in the way. Remove the thermometer and wait until your dog defecates before you try again.
  •  It takes a few seconds for these types of thermometers to stabilize. It also takes between 1 to 3 minutes to get a temperature reading. Once you get a temperature reading and it stays on for about 15 seconds, you can be certain of the reading and remove the thermometer.
  • If you need to remove the thermometer and take your dog’s temperature again, make sure that you shake the thermometer until it goes all the way down below a dog’s regular temperature level before you insert it again.
  •  When you are finished taking your dog’s temperature, clean the thermometer with soap and water then disinfect it with alcohol using a swab.

How to take your dog’s temperature through his ear: The ear thermometer is not as accurate as of the rectal thermometer. But dog owners prefer to use it because this way they avoid all the mess and discomfort caused by the rectal thermometer.

However, using the ear thermometer requires you to exercise caution because of the way a dog’s ear is built. The ear is built with a 90-degree angle between the eardrum and the ear canal exit. This makes it difficult to get an accurate reading so you may want to take your dog’s temperature several times before you get a satisfactory reading.

The following tips will help you get an accurate reading from an ear thermometer:

  1.  Do not remove the thermometer until you hear an audible beep. The beep will indicate that the temperature has been recorded.
  2.  To make it easier for you to get an accurate reading, gently pull the ear up and out to straighten the ear canal so that you can insert the thermometer.
  3.  Similar to the rectal thermometer, the ear thermometer also takes about 1 to 3 minutes for you to get a reading.

There are thermometers that are used by people which they place on the forehead to get a temperature reading. This type of thermometer is not recommended for use on dogs. Their fur makes this thermometer reading very inaccurate.

Also, never place a thermometer inside a dog’s mouth to take his temperature. Your dog has sharp teeth and if he bites on the thermometer he can break it. If the thermometer is made from glass, it can cut your dog’s