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What is Feeling Hot?

Fever can be described as a high body temperature due to infection or inflammation. Since dogs have body temperatures that are naturally higher than humans, fevers can often go undetected. The normal body temperature for canines is between 101 and 102.5 F, and if it rises to over 103 F it can be considered fever. If your pet’s temperature rises above 106 F, it can be dangerous and fatal as it can cause damage to their internal organs. Fever is a fairly common symptom for many illnesses. Here are some of the most common causes that your dog may be feeling hot:

  • Infection
  • Vaccination
  • Toxins
  • Fever of unknown origin

If your dog has a dry and hot nose, as opposed to a wet and cool one, it can be a sign of a fever. Other signs are lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, shivering, vomiting, coughing, warm ears, red eyes and nasal discharge. The most accurate way to determine if your dog has a fever is to take its rectal temperature.

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Why Feeling Hot Occurs in Dogs

Feeling hot and thus having a fever can occur as a symptom of many diseases or illnesses and for many reasons. Some of them are easy to diagnose, although in some cases the cause is never discovered. 


There are many types of infection, and they can all result in fever for your dog. This includes fungal, bacterial or a viral disease. These can take place anywhere in your pet’s body, like the lungs, which would result in pneumonia, the kidneys, causing pyelonephritis, the brain, called encephalitis, or the skin. The symptoms will vary depending on the location of the infection and the underlying cause. Sometimes an infection can affect several parts of the body at the same time, especially in the case of a fungal disease. There are many ways for your dog to obtain an infection. These include a cut or scratch that got infected, a urinary tract infection, an ear infection, an infection in the kidney and lungs or any other organ, a bacterial or viral disease, and lastly an infected or abscessed tooth.


It is common for your dog to develop a low grade-fever and feel hot after receiving a vaccination, as the injection comes into contact with the dog’s immune system. These fevers can often last 24 to 48 hours and are nothing to worry about. Some common reactions after receiving a vaccine can include swelling at the vaccination site, a mild fever, a decrease in activity and appetite as well as nasal discharge. Some less common but more serious side effects of vaccines are persistent diarrhea or vomiting, itchy or bumpy skin, swelling on the neck, ears or face, collapse, or severe coughing and difficulty breathing. If your pet has these symptoms, you should bring them to the vet immediately. If swelling at the place of vaccination does not begin to shrink after three weeks or appears to be getting larger, it can also call for a visit to the vet.


If your dog consumes a poisonous substance it can cause an increase in body temperature. Some of these toxic substances include macadamia nuts and some types of human antidepressants. Other sources of toxins include antifreeze, toxic plants and human foods or medications. 

Fever of Unknown Origin

Sometimes the source of your dog’s fever may not have an answer. If your vet cannot determine the cause of the fever, they will diagnose it as a fever of an unknown origin. It can be common in both dogs and cats, and it is when they experience an elevated body temperature for an unknown reason. The fever will usually be accompanied by a loss of appetite, lethargy, occasionally trembling and overall weakness. As this syndrome is unknown, it does not have any known risks. However, pets with an increased chance of getting infections will have an increased risk of getting the syndrome. For example, pets that go outside and potentially get an infection from a small and undetectable wound may be put under the category of unidentified fever. Young pets suffer from unknown fevers more often than pets of older age. In most cases, symptoms of this illness will resolve within 48 hours and most pets do not suffer from recurring episodes.

What to do if your Dog is Feeling Hot

If your dog’s temperature is over 103 F, you should contact your vet. Fevers of above 106 F are considered emergencies and must be dealt with immediately. If brought to the vet, your pet will most likely be given anti-inflammatory medication and could be put on IV fluids. Blood tests and urinalysis may also be recommended in order to narrow down the potential causes of the fever. In the case of a fever of unknown origin, many pets are successfully treated for bacterial infections and dehydration. They will often receive painkillers, intravenous fluids and antibiotics. If patients do not respond to this treatment, hospitalization and intensive care and testing may be needed. Before starting treatment, x-rays and basic blood and urine tests are taken. If pets do not respond to the treatments they may require an ultrasound, culture for bacteria and fungus, DNA testing for pathogens, sampling of lymph nodes, joints and organs, as well as titers that are specific blood tests for exposure to pathogen organisms. Some pets with unknown fever may require supervision at a 24 hour veterinary facility.

Prevention of Feeling Hot

If your dog has a fever, do not give them any human medication intended to lower a temperature. These medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be poisonous and cause death. Keep your dog from coming into contact with any known toxic substances, such as prescription medication or over the counter medications meant for humans, insecticides or rodenticides, an overdose of pet medications, household products, certain human foods, especially chocolate, certain plants and lawn or garden products. 

In order to determine more easily if your dog is running a fever, document their healthy temperature. That way, when you suspect that they are sick you will be able to compare it to their usual temperature. Keep in mind that your dog’s temperature may change throughout the day and that this is normal, and you should document their temperature at different times throughout the day. If your dog has a body temperature of above 105 F, consult the veterinarian. He may suggest you attempt to lower it by applying cool water to their fur, mainly around the ears and feet. Use a fan on the damp fur to further lower the temperature. Stop the cooling procedure once your dog’s temperature drops to 103 F, as you don’t want to lower it too fast. Your vet may ask you to bring your pet in rather than attempt to cool him yourself. 

Keep your dog hydrated by seeing that he regularly drinks small amounts of water. If you suspect a type of poisoning, keep note of the toxins that your pet may have consumed. This could help the vet diagnose and treat your pet’s fever more easily. If you are aware that your pet has had an allergic reaction to a vaccine previously, they should be given an antihistamine before receiving certain future vaccinations. If you suspect poisoning, you should contact either your vet, the Animal Poison Control Center or the Pet Poison Hotline as soon as possible. Keep all medications in places that are inaccessible to your pets and if you drop a pill or medication on the floor, pick it up immediately. Follow closely the guidelines on flea or tick products, and be sure that the people food that you are giving to your pet as a treat is indeed safe for them. If you are unsure, look it up before feeding it to them. Keep rodenticides and pesticides out of reach of your pet’s paws, along with all your cleaners and chemicals. Lastly, when buying plants for your home, do some research to ensure that they are not toxic to dogs.

Cost of Feeling Hot

Depending on the underlying cause, treating a dog who feels hot can have different costs. Treating allergic reactions to vaccines will cost about $1200. Treatments for poisoning can have an array of costs, depending on the type of toxin consumed. The same goes for infections, which can cost between $650 and $2000 depending on the type and location. Treating fever, in general. will cost about $1000.

Feeling Hot Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Labrador Husky
4 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


a service dog Been on several plane rides this time on the plane he fell asleep would not respond I picked his head up called his name and he wouldn't respond .

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2974 Recommendations
As a service dog I am assuming that he was in the cabin with you during the plane journey. In these cases you should visit Veterinarian immediately given Thor’s capacity as a service dogs, there are various possible causes which may have caused him to be unresponsive many of which would have been ruled out before him being selected for being a service dog (congenital heart defects etc…). Poisoning, neurological issues among other causes may also have been attributable; you should have Thor thoroughly checked over by a Veterinarian and blood tests run to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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5 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Localized fever
Hot spot

My pup Molly gets localized fever behind her ear/neck area, as well as her rear. The rest of her body is at normal temperature, but when I pet in the above stated areas she feels hot touch. No skin irritation, no fleas and it just started happenening in the past 2 years. It is off & on, and it doesn't seem to effect her. I was wondering if they are almost like "hot flashes"?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1397 Recommendations
If you don't notice any irritation, infection, or problem with the skin behind her ears when it gets hot, it may be a normal cooling mechanism for her. It would be a good idea to continue to keep an eye on it for abnormalities, but it seems something that you can monitor.

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