How to Take a Puppy’s Temperature


Like with humans, dogs register a temperature. And temperature would be its body warmth as taken by a dog thermometer. Now, for puppies, the normal temperature is not the same as humans, and it’s not the same for all canines.

Puppy’s temperatures would be normal at degrees lower than what an adult dog’s normal level registers at. This is true up until your puppy reaches 4 weeks old. So don’t be too concerned if your dog seems to have lower temperatures than usual.

Now, let’s talk about how you should take your puppy’s temperature. Knowing this information will give you better insight into what’s normal and a cause of concern in your dog.

What is the Temperature Like for Puppies?

Did you know that newborn puppies cannot regulate their body temperature? In the first weeks of its life, your puppy has to get warmth from its mother and siblings. That’s why they stick so close together. You’d often see them on top of one another, right? That’s how they maintain a stable temperature.

For newborn puppies, the normal temperature should fall between 95°F to 99°F. If temperatures go below 92°F, that’s a cause of concern. Likewise, if temperatures go over 106°F, there may be a health problem. You should consult a vet for proper guidance in these situations.

Dog body temperature

When your puppy gets to the second or third week, its normal body temperature will register between 97°F to 100°F. By the fourth week of its life, your pup should have normal body temperatures like adult dogs have. That’s between 99.5°F to 102.5°F.

So now you just learned that normal body temperature levels will change based on the age of your canine pet. Remember this as you monitor the temperature ranges of your puppy until it reaches adulthood.

Is It Important to Frequently Take Your Puppy’s Temperature?

There are 2 good reasons why you should take your puppy’s temperature frequently. One is that you can immediately know when something is wrong. And you can seek immediate treatment when needed.

Another is that getting your puppy used to having its temperature taken is a good experience for your pet. When a veterinarian takes its temperature someday, the experience will be familiar and your pet will be less inclined to wriggling or running away from the thermometer.

Dog temperature taken
Getty Images

How Do You Take a Puppy’s Temperature?

Now let’s guide you into the proper way to take your puppy’s temperature. Here are the steps below.

  1. Get a rectal thermometer. Yes, for humans. Using this type of thermometer gives better readings. An ear thermometer is not that reliable for canines. Rectal thermometers may either be a bulb type or a digital one.
  2. If you’re using a bulb thermometer, shake it down first. The thermometer should be around 96°F.
  3. If you’re using a digital thermometer, turn it on. Remember to check that the batteries are good. Else, you may get a poor reading.
  4. Put some lubricant at the tip of that thermometer. You may use mineral oil, baby oil, or even petroleum jelly.
  5. Position your dog into a comfortable lying or even sitting pose. Pat down your puppy and reassure it to ease its nerves.
  6. Lift the tail of your pup with one firm (but not forceful) hand. With the other, slowly insert the rectal thermometer into the rectum.
  7. Maintain your grip of the thermometer as you take the temperature. Don’t let go because it might slide out. At the same time, be careful not to put it in too far in.
  8. Speak calm tones to your pup and try to distract it with a toy or a treat.
  9. When you’re done taking the temperature, take the thermometer out. Record the reading.
  10. Sanitize or clean the thermometer afterward. Use an efficient disinfectant to cleanse it. Or try rubbing alcohol.

The first tries may be challenging. Your dog may become anxious. And it might try to wiggle away and resist. Just be patient and always assure your dog with slow strokes on the head down towards the back.

Final Thoughts

Taking your pup’s temperature may be hard at first. But don’t get frustrated and don’t act out. Your dog will pick up on that and it might dislike the whole experience. And it might even be harder to get its temperature the next time around. Be patient. It will pay off. And it will get easier as you do this more frequently.


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