The Physics
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Temperature of Healthy Dog

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Carlson, Delbert G. and Griffin, James M. Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook. New York: Howell, 1992: 407. "Adult Dog: 100 to 102.5 degrees F. (rectal) (Average: 101.3 degrees F)." 37.8 39.2 °C
Geller, Roger. First Aid for Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Information Network, 1998. "Temperature is between 101 degrees and 102.5 degrees." 38.3–39.2 °C
Spadafori, Gina. Dogs for Dummies.IDG, 1996: 190. "anything below 99 degrees or above 102.5 degrees is worth a call to the veterinarian." 37.2–39.2 °C
Gerstenfeld, Sheldon L. The Dog Care Book. Canada: Addison Wesley, 1979: 33. "A normal temperature is from 101 degrees to 102.5 °F." 38.3–39.2 °C
Rivera, Angel M. and Gaveras, Peter. First Aid–A Summary of First Aid Tips For Pet Owners. USA: Waltham. "Normal temperature: Dogs and cats = 101 °F–102.5 °F. Temperatures below 100 °F or above 103 °F are abnormal." 38.3–39.2 °C

The average temperature of a healthy dog is 101 °F or 38 °C, however, the normal temperature of a healthy dog may range from 99 °F to 102.5 °F (37.2 °C–39.2 °C).

Dogs are homothermic or warm-blooded animals animals. Their body temperatures are maintained at a fairly constant level regardless to the temperature of their environment. The hypothalamus is the main part of the brain that regulates body temperature. When the body temperature is low, the hypothalamus stimulates the body's muscles to shiver. When the body temperature is high, the hypothalamus will stimulate the sweat glands and stimulate the blood vessels of the skin to allow more heat to escape from the body.

Like most animals, dogs are insulated by their fur against heat lost or gain. Since dogs don't have sweat glands other than the one's located on their footpads, they pant in order to reduce their body temperature. They exhale large volumes of air by panting. A dog might get heatstroke if it's locked up in an unventilated area on a hot day. In this case, panting would not be helpful in reducing the dog's body temperature.

A healthy dog is vibrant, alert and is enthusiastic about living. They are always ready for exercise or entertainment. Muscle movement is one of the main ways in which a dog can produce heat to maintain their body temperature. Another way is by food digestion. Like people healthy dogs have temperatures that varies one or two degrees depending on the time of day, emotional state, level of activity, and environment.

Jie Yao Huang (Janice) -- 1999