This is probably the least fun thing you will have to do for your pet but following these tips will make the process easier.
If you get all your supplies ready before you get your pet, you can make taking his temperature go much more smoothly. You will need a rectal thermometer, petroleum jelly, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls and someone who is willing to help hold your pet still while you work.
Gather all of these items in one place. Shake down the thermometer if you are using an older one. If you have a newer digital one, make sure it is turned on and set at the low setting. Lightly coat it with petroleum jelly. Soak a cotton ball in alcohol and set it aside. Now you are ready for your pet.
Have your helper hold your pet steady and lift his tail. With the older thermometer, gently twirl the thermometer into the rectum about 1 to 3 inches. For larger animals you may have to go in further to get a reading. The newer ones you only need to get the tip inside the rectum. Hold it in place for 2 minutes or for however long your thermometer directions say. Some of the newer ones can take a readying in seconds. Pull it out when the time is up, wipe it clean and take a reading.
Normal temperature for dogs and cat is between 100.5 and 102.5 F. If your pet is a degree or more over the normal range, he may have a fever and you should call the vet. Use the alcohol soaked cotton ball to clean the thermometer.