Do Warm Ears Mean Fever In Dogs?

As a dog owner, it’s natural to be concerned when you feel your furry friend’s ears are warmer than usual. You might wonder if it’s a sign of something serious, such as a fever. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between ear temperature and fever in dogs. We’ll also cover the science behind dog ear temperature and its interpretation, factors that affect dog ear temperature, the importance of monitoring dog ear temperature, common health conditions that may cause warm ears in dogs, when to worry about warm ears in dogs, how to take accurate ear temperature readings in dogs, treating fever in dogs, and preventing fever and other health issues in dogs.

You might also want to check out Why Are My Dogs Ears Cold and Why Are My Dog’s Ears Hot But They Don’t Have a Fever?

Understanding the Relationship between Ear Temperature and Fever in Dogs

In dogs, fever is defined as an increase in body temperature above its normal range. The normal body temperature for dogs ranges between 99.5 °F (37.5 °C) and 102.5 °F (39.2 °C). When a dog’s body temperature rises above 103 °F (39.5 °C), it’s considered to have a fever.

Ear temperature is often used as an indicator of a dog’s body temperature. A dog’s ear temperature typically ranges between 100.5 °F and 102.5 °F (38.0 °C and 39.2 °C), which is within its normal body temperature range. However, the ear temperature might slightly vary depending on the breed, age, and activity level of the dog.

It’s important to note that ear temperature might not always accurately reflect a dog’s body temperature. Factors such as ear infections, ear wax buildup, and improper use of the ear thermometer can affect the accuracy of the reading. Therefore, it’s recommended to use other methods, such as rectal temperature measurement, to confirm a dog’s body temperature if there is suspicion of fever.

The Science behind Dog Ear Temperature and its Interpretation

The temperature of a dog’s ears is influenced by the blood flow in the ear tissues. The inner part of the ear is rich in blood vessels, which helps regulate the dog’s body temperature. When a dog’s body temperature rises, the blood vessels in the ear dilate, allowing more blood flow to the surface of the ear. This increases the heat loss and results in a cooler body temperature. Conversely, when a dog’s body temperature drops, the blood flow to the ear decreases, conserving heat and resulting in a warmer body temperature.

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Interpreting ear temperature as an indicator of a dog’s body temperature requires accurate measurement and evaluation of other symptoms. Ear temperature alone cannot confirm a fever in dogs. It would be best to take other clinical observations into account before making a diagnosis.

It is important to note that the normal range of ear temperature in dogs can vary depending on the breed, age, and activity level of the dog. For example, a Greyhound may have a lower normal ear temperature than a Bulldog. Additionally, ear infections or injuries can also affect the accuracy of ear temperature readings. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a baseline temperature for each individual dog and monitor any changes over time.

Factors that Affect Dog Ear Temperature

Several factors can affect a dog’s ear temperature. Some of these include:

  • Breed: Some breeds have naturally warmer or cooler ears compared to others.
  • Activity level: When a dog is active, its body produces more heat, which might result in warmer ears.
  • Environmental temperature: The ambient temperature can affect the dog’s ear temperature, and the fur around the ears can influence heat loss.
  • Time of day: A dog’s body temperature fluctuates throughout the day, with the highest temperature being observed in the afternoon.

The Importance of Monitoring Dog Ear Temperature

Regular monitoring of a dog’s ear temperature can help detect changes in its body temperature early enough. Temperature monitoring can assist in identifying health problems and providing timely treatment.

For instance, a sustained increase in a dog’s ear temperature might be an early indication of a brewing infection or an underlying health condition. In contrast, a sudden drop in ear temperature may signal a severe health issue that requires immediate medical attention.

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Common Health Conditions that May Cause Warm Ears in Dogs

Several health conditions can result in a dog’s ears feeling warmer than usual. Some of these include:

  • Fever: As highlighted earlier, a fever is the most common cause of warm ears in dogs.
  • Ear infections: An ear infection can cause inflammation in the ear canal, increasing blood flow and resulting in warmer ears.
  • Reactions to medication: Some medications may cause a rise in body temperature and result in warm ears.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions can cause inflammation and increased blood flow in the ears, resulting in warm ears.

When to Worry about Warm Ears in Dogs

While a slight increase in a dog’s ear temperature is relatively normal, sustained high ear temperature might indicate an underlying health issue that requires medical attention. A dog owner should worry when:

  • The ear temperature is over 103 °F (39.5 °C) for a prolonged amount of time.
  • The dog exhibits other symptoms besides warm ears, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting.
  • The warm ear is associated with pain or discomfort.
  • The dog has a known underlying health condition that predisposes it to develop a fever.

How to Take Accurate Ear Temperature Readings in Dogs

To take accurate ear temperature readings in dogs, follow these steps:

  • Clean the ear with a cotton ball to remove any debris or wax.
  • Insert the thermometer probe into the ear canal, ensuring full contact with the ear canal walls.
  • Hold the thermometer in place and wait for the temperature reading to stabilize. This usually takes a few seconds.
  • Record the temperature reading.

It’s essential to follow the thermometer’s manufacturer’s instructions for accuracy and safety reasons.

Treating Fever in Dogs: Home Remedies Vs Veterinary Care

If your dog has a fever, you might consider home remedies to reduce the fever. Some of these remedies include applying a cool compress on the ear area, giving plenty of water to drink, and placing the dog in a cool, well-ventilated room.

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However, if the fever persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy, vomiting, or loss of appetite, it’s advisable to seek veterinary care. The vet can perform a thorough workup to identify the underlying cause of the fever and provide appropriate treatment.

Preventing Fever and Other Health Issues in Dogs

Preventing health issues in dogs involves proper nutrition, regular exercise, and regular veterinary checkups. Ensure that your dog eats a balanced diet, gets enough exercise, and receives essential vaccinations and parasite preventions. Additionally, monitor your dog’s behavior and temperature regularly to identify and address any health concerns early enough.


In conclusion, a slight increase in a dog’s ear temperature might not necessarily indicate a fever. However, sustained high ear temperature could be an indication of an underlying health problem. As a dog owner, monitoring your dog’s ear temperature regularly is essential in identifying and addressing health concerns early enough. In case of high fever or accompanying symptoms, seeking veterinary care is advisable. You can prevent health issues in dogs by providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and regular veterinary checkups.

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