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How to Treat a Pet's Fever

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Bulb thermometer

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Towel

  • Washcloth

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Ice chips

A dog or cat that mopes around and loses its appetite may have a fever. Viruses and other temporary conditions can cause your furry friend's temperature to rise. While most pet fevers are not cause for serious alarm, there are things you can do to help ease the discomfort until your pet is back to his normal exuberant ways.

Take your pet's temperature if you suspect a fever. Coat the end of a thermometer with petroleum jelly and hold your pet securely. Insert the thermometer at least 1 inch into the animal's rectum. Speak calmly in soothing tones and hold the thermometer in for about three minutes. A dog or cat's normal body temperature is between 99 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Call your veterinarian if your pet's temperature is over 104 F. Your vet will want to know about any other symptoms you notice.

Soak a towel in cool water and wring it out. Wrap the damp towel around your pet to cool it. .

Mix a solution of equal amounts of water and rubbing alcohol. Dampen a washcloth with the mixture and pat it on the pads of the animal's feet, its groin and its ear flaps. The evaporation of the alcohol will help lower your pet's temperature.

Turn down the heat or turn up the air conditioner. Cooling the room your pet is resting in will help fight the fever. Keep the animal inside and secure to encourage more rest.

Provide plenty of water. A fever can cause your pet to dehydrate just as it does a human. Keep a bowl filled with fresh, cool water at all times to encourage drinking.

Offer your pet some ice shavings to suck on to reduce the fever. Even a pet that will not drink water will often eat some ice from your hand.


  • Call your veterinarian if your pet's fever lasts longer than 36 hours or if you notice other symptoms. Do not treat a pet with a medicine meant for humans unless instructed by your veterinarian.