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What Is a Dog's Normal Body Temperature?

By Laura Payne | Updated September 26, 2017

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When a dog’s body temperature is above normal, it is a sign that something is amiss. The normal body temperature of a healthy adult dog ranges between 99.5 and 102.5 F. If your dog is running a fever of 103.5 or higher, contact your veterinarian immediately. Also contact your veterinarian if your dog's temperature is below 99 F. Low body temperature can indicate that your dog is going into shock or is hypothermic.

Causes of Fever in a Dog

There are many reasons your dog could be running a temperature. That's why it is so important to contact your veterinarian to determine the cause. Some of the possible causes are infections, tumors, parasites, reactions to drugs, endocrine and metabolic disorders, poisoning and heatstroke. If your dog has a fever and shows other signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy, call your veterinarian immediately.

Exceptions to Temperature Norms

There are two exceptions to the normal canine body temperature: puppies and female dogs about to give birth. Newborn puppies do not reach normal body temperatures until they are more than 3 weeks of age. Their temperature during the first week should be between 95 and 99 F. Female dogs who are about to give birth also have a lower than normal temperature. According to the American Kennel Club, about 24 hours before whelping, the mother dog’s temperature will drop to 99 F.

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Laura Payne has been freelance writing for several online publications in her free time since 2006. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Oakland University. Payne teaches linguistics classes at both universities on an adjunct basis.

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