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The 3 best dog thermometers in 2023, according to vets

Updated November 21, 2023

Our top choices of dog thermometers and how to use them to measure your dog’s body temperature.

The essentials

  • Choose the type of thermometer that will work best for your pet — The best thermometer for your pet depends on their temperament and whether they have any underlying medical conditions such as ear infections.
  • There is no need to overspend on the most expensive digital dog thermometer — Just make sure that the thermometer that you choose can obtain an accurate reading, and that you are comfortable using it.
  • Regularly monitor your dog’s temperature, so you have a baseline — Frequently checking your dog’s temperature helps dog owners form a baseline of what is normal for their pup.

Detecting abnormally high or low temperatures can be a crucial step in determining how to care for your dog. A single degree can make the difference between a normal and a medical emergency, so it’s important to find a thermometer that provides accurate measurements and works with your pet’s personality. We reviewed three highly-regarded products on the market to help you find the best dog thermometer for your special pup.

Dog thermometers we reviewed

iProven Pet Thermometer

No dog enjoys the rectal temperature reading process, but thankfully the iProven Pet Thermometer DT-K117 quickly provides temperature readings in 20 seconds or less. The flexible tip is designed for safety and minimal discomfort.

This product is compatible for use with most disposable probe covers, which helps reduce the spread of germs. The waterproof design allows for easy cleaning since you can simply rinse it off with soap and water after use. It even has an auto-off function if you accidentally leave it on while tending to your pet.

The iProven Pet Thermometer is also good for keeping track of changes in your pet’s temperature since it saves the most recent reading.

ICARE-PET Dog Ear Temperature Monitor

If you’re going for an in-ear thermometer, the ICARE-PET Dog Ear Temperature Monitor is at the top of its class. Its long probe enables you to comfortably reach your pet’s ear canal with no awkward maneuvers required.

This thermometer can register your pet’s temperature in as little as one second, which makes this digital thermometer much faster than rectal thermometers while being more accurate than non-contact options. Due to its speed and noninvasive nature, your pet may not even realize they’re having their temperature taken.

Our favorite feature about this thermometer is the ability to turn off the beeping sound that occurs once it’s finished registering temperature. It’s also voice-enabled so you can verbally turn the device on or off without pressing buttons that may startle your pet.

Aurynns Pet Thermometer Dog Thermometer

Larger dogs need a rectal thermometer with a longer reach. Aurynns Pet Thermometer Dog Thermometer fits the bill—and your giant dog’s rectum.

This digital thermometer recalls the most recent reading after turning on the device and beeps when it’s ready to register the new number. Once it reads the temperature, the device will beep, or an alarm will sound if the temperature is too high. With an accuracy of +/- 0.2°F, this device lets you know whether your pet’s temperature is in the danger zone.

Unfortunately, this thermometer isn’t waterproof, so it’s a good idea to use it with disposable probe covers and wipe it clean afterward.

How we picked our favorites

We started with the users — We scoured review sites to understand the full product landscape. Then we dug through customer reviews and product details to bring you the best options on the market today.

We confirmed with our vets — We don’t just stop at customer reviews. Our in-house vets weigh in on any health, wellness, and safety products with their expert insights and advice, giving their stamp of approval on everything that gets featured on the site.

How to pick the best dog thermometer 

Ultimately, the best dog thermometer for you depends on what your dog is willing to deal with. Rectal thermometers are vet-preferred because they give the most accurate reading. However, some dogs may be overly fearful or even aggressive over a stick shoved up their rear. Digital thermometers made for their ears may be better choices for anxious pets.

While you’ll find many infrared and non-contact options on the market, most vets won’t recommend them because they tend to be the least accurate, due to the interference of fur and skin pigmentation.

The types of dog thermometers you want

Rectal thermometers — the gold standard: Veterinarians use rectal thermometers because they’re accurate. Unfortunately, your dog may not share their high opinion, as most absolutely hate getting a temperature check, especially with this invasive method. Pet owners should never force a dog (or cat for that matter) to accept a rectal thermometer. One potential downside is the presence of feces may affect readings, so only use this method on clean pup butts.

Digital ear thermometers — the next-best thing: Digital thermometers take a temperature reading from your dog’s inner ear. They aren’t as accurate as a rectal thermometer, but they can be a good compromise for some dogs who simply can’t handle a probe in their rectum. If your dog has an ear infection or excessive debris in the ear, however, the reading won’t be accurate at all, so make sure their ears are clean.

What about non-contact and infrared thermometers?

While these thermometers can give you useful information about a dog’s baseline temperature compared to an abnormal temperature, the reading isn’t nearly as accurate as other methods. If you decide to use a non-contact thermometer, make sure that you take your dog’s temperature in a spot in their body that doesn’t have a lot of fur, since the extra fluff can interfere with receiving a correct reading.

Features to look for

Let’s be real – shopping for a thermometer isn’t exactly rocket science. But when we asked our vets what they consider before they buy a thermometer, they shared a few logical tips:

Resistant to breaking. Your dog may wiggle while you are taking their temperature, so it is important to choose a thermometer that is resistant to breaking. If you’re using a rectal thermometer, make sure to find one with flexible tips.

Temperature history. If you want to keep track of your dog’s temperature over time, you might keep a little book with the various readings, but it can be nice to choose a thermometer that automatically remembers the numbers so that you can easily compare.

Works with disposable covers. Using a thermometer can be kind of gross, especially if it’s a rectal thermometer. Disposable covers are useful so that you don’t have to worry about sanitizing the thermometer between uses. This is especially important if you’re going to be using the thermometer on multiple pets.

How to take your dog’s temperature 

The type of dog thermometer you choose determines the steps to take their temperature. Familiarizing yourself with the process can help you decide which type of thermometer seems like the best fit for pet owners and their particular pup.

Rectal technique

  1. Hold your dog in a secure position or have somebody help you. If your dog has an appetite, distract them with a delicious treat like peanut butter. Dogs are not thrilled with this activity and generally will squirm.
  2. Slide a disposable thermometer cover over the tip of the thermometer and lubricate it with petroleum jelly.
  3. Slowly insert the thermometer into the rectum, about an inch for smaller dogs or as much as two to three inches for larger dogs. Some dogs clamp down on the muscles in their sphincter, which means that you can cause pain or even injury if you keep pushing in. If you wait, most dogs will relax their muscles. Distracting them with a delicious treat can help.
  4. If you feel stool, try to move the thermometer around it rather than pushing it through.
  5. Leave the thermometer in place according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Remove the thermometer, wipe it clean, and then read your dog’s temperature.

Digital technique

  1. Using a brand-new probe cover, slide the thermometer into the ear canal, holding the base of the ear out at a 90-degree angle to your pet’s head.

Most dogs do not resist having the thermometer put in their ear except for perhaps to wiggle a bit, but if your dog has an ear infection, then the insertion of the thermometer will be very painful. Furthermore, dogs with ear infections will produce inaccurate readings, but will often have a fever.

dog temperature check

Non-contact technique

  1. Find a spot on your dog’s body that isn’t covered with fur, such as their belly.
  2. Position the thermometer near your dog and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to receive the most accurate reading.

What’s the normal temperature range for dogs? 

A normal dog body temperature ranges from 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Your dog’s individual baseline temperature may hover nearer one end of the spectrum over the other, which is why it can be helpful to regularly monitor their temperature so that you can be familiar with their normal range. In general, though, a dog’s body temperature is around 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

🚨 A temperature of greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit is an emergency. Do not wait to take your dog to an emergency clinic if they have this symptom.

Signs that your dog has an abnormal temperature

Taking your dog’s temperature is the best predictor of whether they have a fever. Some dogs will show outward signs of an abnormally high or low temperature, such as:

  • Abnormally low temps — A dog with an abnormally low temperature will generally be lethargic and not as responsive as usual. There’s also a good chance that they will shake, shiver, or tremble no matter how many blankets you put around them.
  • Abnormally high temps — Dogs whose temperature is too high also have a high probability of being lethargic and less responsive than usual. They might pant or lie on a cool surface to try and cool off. Dark red gums are also a sign of fever.

Any of these symptoms may occur in dogs for a variety of reasons, not just abnormal temperature. It is important to use a thermometer to take a reading to determine what is going on with your pup when they aren’t acting normally and call your vet if you notice any of these signs.

Vaccinations and certain medications can cause false readings

Many dogs develop a fever after regular vaccinations. Your veterinarian should warn you that a fever is possible. Generally, monitoring the fever is sufficient and it will go away on its own, but bring your dog to the vet if your dog’s temperature is in the danger zone.

Certain medications can also impact a dog’s temperature. The fever should go away on its own but monitor it carefully to make sure it doesn’t reach dangerous levels.

What to do if your dog has a fever

If your dog’s temperature is abnormally high or low, re-check to make sure that you did not do something wrong while taking the reading. Slightly low temperatures may be managed at home by raising your pet’s temperature using warm towels or blankets and hot water bottles.

A slightly high temperature can be brought down using cool cloths on the paws and by giving your dog cool water or ice chips to eat. Ear infections are common culprits behind low-grade fevers, so you might want to check your pup’s ears to make sure they don’t need medical attention. If the temperature remains abnormal or if it is in the emergency range above 104 or below 99, bring your dog to the veterinarian.

So, do I need a dog thermometer?

An abnormally high or low body temperature can be a sign that there’s something wrong with your dog. Since your dog’s individual baseline temperature can deviate slightly from the average, it is a good idea to get into the routine of periodically checking their temperature to recognize their normal range.

Catching a fever before it has a chance to progress too high can help you handle the problem sooner, which will get your pup back to playtime sooner. Rectal thermometers like the iProven Pet Thermometer are the best way to receive the most accurate reading. However, some dogs won’t deal with this method, so thankfully you have other options.

Frequently asked questions

What is the normal body temperature for a dog?

Dogs register higher normal body temperatures than humans. It’s normal for dogs to have a body temperature that fluctuates between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than 103 is considered a fever. If your dog’s temperature registers below 99 or over 104, call the vet immediately.

What type of thermometer is most accurate for dogs?

Rectal thermometers give the most accurate reading. Digital dog thermometers that register ear temperature are secondary options for canines who can’t sit still or can’t handle a rectal thermometer for other reasons. While infrared and non-contact thermometers are on the market, they aren’t the most reliable. Still, they are better than nothing in a pinch.

Can I use a thermometer made for humans on my dog?

Yes, you can use an infrared thermometer or flexible digital thermometer on your dog, even if it’s marketed for people. Some pet parents prefer using digital thermometers made for infants. You should only use non-contact or flexible thermometers on your dog. Never use non-pliable or mercury-based thermometers on your dog because they can hurt them if they squirm.

Can I tell if my dog has a fever without taking their temperature?

Dogs running a fever often display outward signs of sickness, like lethargy, excessive panting, or shivering. Ears that feel hot to the touch can also indicate fever, infection, or both. It’s important to take your dog to the vet if they start showing signs of a fever, especially if you can’t take their temperature at home.

My dog won’t sit still for a rectal thermometer reading. What should I do?

Rectal thermometers give you the most accurate result, but they won’t be the best fit for every dog. See if you can coax your pet to hold still by letting them lick peanut butter or some other long-lasting treat that they love while you get a reading. Never force your dog to get their temperature taken, especially since rectal thermometers can hurt them if you accidentally push them in too deep. If your dog won’t cooperate, consider another type of thermometer made for their ears or even a non-contact option.