I want to buy a digital thermometer to check the (rectal) temperature of my dog when needed[*]. I'm not sure if any digital thermometer will do, or if I should look for a specific "animal-grade" digital thermometer?

[*]: I have a hairless mexican and I live in a country with some severely hot summer days, which affects him. I want to make sure his temperature is ok when this happens.

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    you need to know when your pet gets an elevated body temparature the body have been struggling for a long time to keep the temparature down so it might very well be too late to save the pet.it is better to provide shade-air circulation and water to keep your pet comfortable and avoid any type of stress/play activity. Feb 6, 2020 at 17:01
  • Dogs' body temperature is 38-39 degrees, so while it's a bit warmer than for humans this is well within the operating range of a medical thermometer.
    – quant
    Oct 25, 2020 at 6:54

1 Answer 1


Temperature is a form of physical energy. It's the same for humans and animals, so any body thermometer for human use is suitable for dogs as well. Since the regulations and requirements for medical products for humans are often higher than those for animals, any thermometer intended for human use should be safe for a dog as well.

If you intended to use a thermometer that is not a body thermometer (like one to measure the air temperature outside) then I have to disappoint you. Since the range between healthy and unhealthy body temperature is so small, you need a thermometer with high accuracy and low measuring error. Most consumer grade air thermometers don't specify the accuracy and are not suited to take body temperature.

One thing to keep in mind is that the normal body temperature of dogs is higher than that for humans.

Some things to consider:

  • When taking the body temperature of a dog rectally, most dogs react to the intrusion by sitting down. You must make sure your dog doesn't sit down on the thermometer by holding his tail high enough he cannot lower his bum to the ground.
  • I wouldn't use the same thermometer on humans once you used it on a dog.
  • There are less intrusive ways of measuring body temperature like infrared body thermometers. These can measure the temperature by pointing them into the ear or open mouth of the dog, but the measurement might not be as accurate as a rectal measurement.

You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of both types of thermometers here. The article also includes instructions on how to measure a dog's temperature correctly.

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