What Do I Do if My Dog Has a Low Temperature?

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    A warm blanket or heating pad can help to raise your dog's temperature.

    A warm blanket or heating pad can help to raise your dog's temperature.

    Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images

    While most dog owners worry when their dog has a fever, a low temperature can be just as worrisome, unless of course, your female dog is expecting a litter. A healthy dog’s temperature runs between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this normal range can signify hypothermia or impending labor.

    More Than Just a Chill

    Hypothermia is a condition where your dog’s temperature drops below the normal range. Mild cases occur when the temperature drops between 90 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, while severe cases can cause the temperature to drop below 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia, especially in small breeds, older dogs or young puppies. Other causes of hypothermia include diseases of the hypothalamus and hypothyroidism. If your dog has a low temperature, wrap her in a blanket to help warm her up. In severe cases, consult your veterinarian, as internal core warming with warm intravenous fluids may be necessary.

    Puppies on the Way

    If your female dog is expecting a litter of puppies, a drop in rectal temperature near her due date indicates labor is likely to occur within 24 hours. In the hours before active labor begins, a female dog’s temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When her temperature drops, ensure she is in her whelping box and you are prepared to assist with delivery if necessary.

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    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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