If your puppy’s stomach appears hot, it may raise a question in your mind: What Does It Mean When A Puppy’s Stomach Is Hot? That’s okay since we usually associate a warm body with fever. But, when should you actually worry?
Well, not to worry! In this post, we will discuss in-depth:
- 13 reasons why a puppy’s stomach is warm
- How you can help your pup when its stomach is hot
- And much more…
What Does It Mean When A Puppy’s Stomach Is Hot?
Puppies’ bodies keep modulating their temperature and their stomach may become warm to suit the outdoor temperature. Warm puppy’s stomach does necessarily mean that the puppy is sick or has a fever. However, if you can’t figure out the root cause of why your puppy’s stomach is warm, don’t hesitate to get the help of a vet.
13 Reasons Why A Puppy’s Stomach Is Hot?
1. It Is Normal As Dogs Have A Higher Body Temperature
Dogs have a higher normal body temperature than humans which is why if you place your cooler hand on your pup’s belly, it will feel warmer.
As per Dr.Krista Williams, BSc, DVM from VCA hospitals, the average temperature of dogs is between 100F to 102.5F which is a few degrees higher than the normal human body temperature of 98.6F.
2. It Is Normal If Your Dog Has Less Fur
If your puppy has comparatively less fur then that could be the cause of your dog’s stomach being hot. Fur acts as insulation for your little dog to keep the cold out and trap the body heat in.
A puppy’s stomach already has less fur and you might have noticed that it remains warmer than the rest of its body.
Also, if your pup just got a haircut, then the lack of insulation may turn up your puppy’s body heat, leading to your pup’s stomach being a bit hot.
3. You Just Gave Your Puppy A Vaccine
It is common for your puppy to develop a low-grade fever after getting a vaccination. Some dogs develop mild side effects after the injection comes in contact with the immune system of dogs. The fever due to vaccination lasts for 24 to 48 hours and there is nothing to worry about.
According to a study, the rates of inflammatory reactions in dogs after vaccination per 10,000 doses were:
- 0.25 for pain
- 0.017 for malaise
- 0.13 for fever
- 1.92 for lethargy.
This means that the odds of your puppy suffering from a fever after vaccination is quite low, at 0.0013% whereas, there is a higher chance that your puppy may experience a bout of lethargy at 0.019% probability.
Some serious side effects of vaccination in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation on the neck or the face, and severe coughing. If your pup shows any of these signs, then you should take your puppy to the vet instantly.
4. Your Puppy Has Fever
Your puppy might have a fever if it has a warm belly and a dry nose but it may not be that serious. The fever may be a result of some minor illness.
According to Dr. Cathy Meeks, DVM, the general reasons for dog fever include:
- Fever of unknown origin
How do you know if your dog has a fever?
The first step to determine if your dog has fever is to take their temperature at home.
- Normal dog’s body temperature is: 100°F to 102.5°F
- Moderate fever temperature: 102.5°F to 104.5°F
- High fever temperature: Above 104.5°F
Observe your dog for other tell-tale signs of fever such as:
Never give your dog over-the-counter medications
It is recommended to never feed your dog OTC medications like ibuprofen, to reduce their fever. These OTC drugs are made for the human body and can be toxic to your pets if administered incorrectly.
It is best to consult a vet for treatment options for your dog’s fever. Most cases of dog’s fever can be successfully treated if diagnosed early.
5. Your Puppy Over-Exercised
If your puppy exercised more than its usual workout routine, then your pup’s body temperature will increase. Most of the time, this is not a reason to worry because the temperature will go back to normal as soon as your dog’s heart rate settles down.
However, if your puppy has exercised more than its regular dose of activities, monitor your dog for any signs of increased body temperature such as at its belly area.
According to Dr. Dana A. Vamvakias, DVM, from the AKC, it is important to check the temperature of your puppy after intense exercises because if your dog’s body temperature keeps rising after workouts, then your dog possibly has hyperthermia.
Dr. Vamvakias explains that hypothermia is a condition where your dog’s body temperature significantly exceeds the normal body temperature range of between 100°F to 102.5°F.
Two Types Of Hyperthermia In Dogs:
There are 2 types of hyperthermia: classical hyperthermia (nonexertional) and exertional hyperthermia. Over-exercising falls under exertional hyperthermia.
To treat exertional hyperthermia, the first step is to stop your dog’s activity and cool it down immediately. As mentioned by Dr Vamvakia, what is important is not how high the temperature goes, but how long the temperature stays at the excessive level.
The best way to cool a dog’s body temperature is to use cool water from a hose or partially submerge the dog in a cool water environment like a swimming pool or bathtub. Focus on main arterial and venous areas of the body like groin, armpit and jugular regions.
Check your dog’s temperature regularly while cooling it down and make sure you do not cool a dog beyond 103°F.
6. There Is A Sudden Change In Temperature
It is normal for a dog’s body temperature to rise as the outdoor temperature changes. Just like us humans, a dog’s body also tries to cope up with the outdoor changes in temperature to regulate its body temperature. It takes time for a puppy to adjust to the new environmental changes, so just give your pup some time to settle down.
Meanwhile, you can try making your pup comfortable by providing a cozy bed with a layer of puffy blankets for it to lie on.
7. Your Puppy Has Some Scratches Or Stings On Their Body
If your puppy has been bitten by some insect, stung by a bee, cut by a sharp object, and scratched by one of your other pets, he might develop a fever. It is advised that you get the wound checked by a vet to see if your puppy developed any infection in the affected area.
According to PetMD, some dogs are more sensitive to insect stings and bites than others, so you need to make sure that there are no insects around your pup. To prevent any stings from insects, you can try using an anti-repellant dog spray.
8. Your Puppy Has A Ear Infection
Ear infections in puppies can cause their body temperature to rise. According to Dr. Amanda Simonson, DVM ear infections in puppies are caused due to bacterial and fungal growth in their ears. It may also be a cause of yeast or ear mites. Pups also develop an ear infection from foreign objects that enter their ears.
Look out for other signs of ear infection such as:
- Funky or foul smell
- Pawing its ear in pain
- Frequently shaking of the head
- Walks or stands with head tilted
PetMD says that while all dogs can get an ear infection, some dog breeds such as Cocker spaniels, Labradors, Poodles, Pitbulls, and Shar-Peis are more prone to getting ear infections.
A pup with an ear infection will shake its head frequently and wildly. You can take medical help from a vet for the ear infection.
9. Your Puppy Has Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) could be another reason why your dog’s stomach is hot to touch. UTI is usually caused in dogs by a bacteria named Escherichia coli (E. coli) whose common symptom is fever. Some of the other symptoms include blood in urine and whimpering of your dog while urinating.
A study suggests that 14% of dogs develop bacterial urinary tract infections in their lifetime at varied ages.
It is easy to treat urinary tract infections in dogs with early diagnosis. Dr.Jennifer Coates, DVM inferred that high doses of the antibiotic enrofloxacin work way faster than any previous treatments for urinary tract infections in dogs.
10. Your Puppy Has Viral Or Bacterial Infection
Viral or bacterial infections in dogs can cause their bellies to get hot. You need to take your puppy to a vet because only a vet can accurately diagnose a bacterial or viral infection. Some of the other symptoms that you can look for are lethargy and an unpleasant odor from your puppy’s ears. In severe cases, your pup might also develop pus in its ears.
According to the National Animal Supplement Council, dogs with bacterial infections have mild symptoms of fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite, while dogs with viral infections develop more serious symptoms.
If your puppy is experiencing discomfort or won’t move from its place, then you can approach a vet for advice but usually, there is no reason to worry. You can ask your vet for proper medication instead of trying to medicate it at home.
11. Your Puppy Has Tick Infestation
If your pup got bit by a tick, then it may exhibit signs of fever which may last for 24 hours. This can cause your puppy’s stomach to be hot.
The other signs of fever in your dog may include loss of appetite, weakness, and extreme panting. While the fever may be a sign of some other sickness, it is advised to get your dog looked for ticks if he has a fever.
According to PetMD, the 5 signs that signal that your puppy has ticks are:
- There are ticks in your house
- Your pup has a fever
- There is a small bump on your dog’s body
- Unexplained scabs on your dog’s body
- Frequent shaking of your dog’s head
12. Your Puppy Has Some Kind Of Poisoning
Poisoning is also one of the causes of fever in dogs and this can be a mortal illness that your dog faces. Poisoning can cause irreparable damage to dogs in a short time and lead to death in serious cases as well.
If your puppy’s stomach is hot, then there is a chance that your pup has poisoning of some kind.
If you suspect that your pup has eaten something toxic or has been exposed to toxic plants, then get help from a veterinarian. Some common symptoms of food poisoning in puppies include digestive distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
13. Your Puppy Has Some Sort Of Minor Illness
When you bring home a little puppy, you don’t want anything more than to keep the pup healthy and happy. However, there are some common illnesses that puppies are prone to that can cause their body temperature to rise. The most common illnesses include intestinal infections, having parasites, and infectious diseases.
If there are no other symptoms other than the hot belly, then you should check your pup’s temperature rectally. In case your pup’s temperature is more than 103F then you can put a cool damp towel on your puppy’s abdomen to lower its body temperature.
In case your puppy’s temperature is over 104.5°F then take your little friend to a vet immediately. The symptoms that automatically trigger a trip to the vet include:
- If your puppy is vomiting or has diarrhea over 24 hours
- If your puppy seems dehydrated
- If your pup can’t breathe properly
- If the puppy’s tongue and gums turn pale
- If your pup becomes lethargic and keeps sitting in one place
How Can You Help If Your Puppy’s Stomach Is Hot?
Here are a few things according to WebMD that you can do to make your pup feel better:
- Apply cold damp clothes to your dog’s body to help it cool down. Alternatively, you can also apply ice to your dog’s body to help regulate the temperature.
- Place a fan near the damp areas of your dog’s body to help cool it down
- Monitor your dog’s rectal temperature
- Set up a cozy place for your dog to rest in
- Visit a vet to find the root cause of the temperature rise especially if it rises about 103°F
What To Do If My Puppy Is Hot But Is Acting Fine?
If your puppy is acting fine but his stomach feels hot, then you can try the home remedies mentioned above. It is possible that the temperature rise is just a result of some environmental changes in your dog’s routine and will go back to normal after a few hours.
However, a vet’s opinion on such matters is advisable if your dog’s fever does not dial down.
WebMD suggests that you offer water to your puppy every now and then to ensure that it remains hydrated, but don’t force it. Also, do not try to give any human medicines for the fever to your dog.
Do Puppies Run Hotter Than Dogs?
Puppies do not run hotter than dogs; in fact, their normal body temperature is lower by a few degrees than an adult dog. As the puppies develop, their body temperature gradually increases, and by the 4th week of age, their temperature is almost similar to that of a healthy adult dog.
Below is a summary of the healthy body temperature of a puppy as per VCA hospitals.
|1 week||95 F to 99 F|
|2 to 3 weeks||97 F to 100 F|
|4 weeks||100 F to 102 F|
Table: Age and Body Temperature of A Newborn Puppy
How To Check Your Puppy’s Temperature?
For an accurate reading of your puppy’s temperature, you will need a rectal thermometer because taking ear temperature is not effective in puppies.
- Switch on the thermometer and lubricate its tip with baby oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly
- Place your pup in a comfortable standing or reclining position for at least a minute
- Using one hand, lift the puppy’s tail to expose its anus, and use your other hand to gently insert the lubricated thermometer into the dog’s rectum
- Do not let go of the thermometer when taking your dog’s temperature or it might fall out or get too deep in your pup’s anus.
- Speak in a calm voice to your puppy while you take its temperature. You can also give it a chew toy so that your dog won’t wiggle away.
6. Remove the thermometer after the specified time and clean it to read the temperature
7. Clean the thermometer and disinfect it after every use