The dog will be very warm to touch – however this is not the most reliable way, as during the summer, the dog will naturally have a higher body temperature.
You can check the inside of the ears and the belly. One of the tell-tale signs is that the insides of the mouth also feel hot – this can be felt if the dog licks you or if you lightly graze the area when you pet the dog.
The other tell-tale sign is a dry nose.
All this is usually accompanied by a loss in appetite and lethargy (if not, it is often the best form of treatment to leave the dog to heal itself, while giving some supplementary treatment).
When signs of illness are observed, the first thing to do is to visit a trusted vet and get the dog medical attention. However this may not always be possible with a street dog. In this case, at least try to get a hold of a vet over the phone and send pictures.
The following may be considered for reference –
A small teaspoon of Baby Cronin may safely be given (5 mL) to bring down the temperature, if a fever is confirmed. A quarter or one-eighth of a tablet of paracetamol is also safe to use on an adult dog, per its weight
(don’t give the paracetamol tab if it’s a puppy though).
Please also ensure the dog has access to clean, drinking water.
Feeding her twice a day on a diet that is cool and light on the body is a good idea – dahi chawal/roti or chicken broth work well. Even plain dahi is wonderful (Often a dog may not start out having homemade curd. It’s a good idea to buy store bought dahi for the first couple of days and then switching over to homemade).
A supplementary treatment of Himalaya’s Liv 52 tablets and any probiotic capsule such as Vizylac can also be safely given (these can be given in general, as a small course for a healthy dog too. But do make sure you give these especially if a dog is ill and on an antibiotic).
If blood work can not be done to determine the cause of infection, consult a trusted vet and give him/her details of the dog and the situation. You may ask them if an Amoxycillin 375 tablet can be given once a day for 5-7 days, as this would take care of many relatively minor infections.
But as this is an antibiotic, consulting a vet before-hand is prudent.
If the temperature is alarmingly high, please do your best to take the dog to a vet. Or perhaps arrange for a paravet near your area to have a look.
Under no circumstances must ice be used to bring the temperature down as this is counter productive. Room temperature water can be used to soak a towel (make sure the towel isn’t sopping wet) and the dog may be wiped with it.
Please do NOT do this unless it is summer and the temperatures are already high.
If, however, the fever is accompanied by rapid, unexplained weight loss, bloody or diarrheal stools along with frequent vomiting and distinctive (often yellowish or green) eye discharge and nasal discharge please immediately consult a vet and do not attempt to treat the infection yourself. It could likely be canine distemper or canine parvovirus, neither of which affect humans, but are extremely serious illnesses for a dog.
The only course of action in such cases is religiously keeping up a schedule of IV fluids once or twice a day, per the vet’s instruction. Seek his/her professional opinion if any additional medication should be given. It may also be asked if the supplements (Liv52, probiotic or something else) should be given.