Do you think you would know if your dog had a fever? These 3 warning signs are urgent indicators!

Fever (pyrexia) in dogs is defined as a body temperature above the range that is considered normal for a healthy animal. Time and experience have shown us what these ranges are and we know that fever is one of the body’s signs that it is dealing with an infection. It is important for dog caregivers to be able to recognize signs that their dog might have a fever and be fighting an infection, so that they know when to seek help from their veterinarian.

1. Lethargy

Animals whose bodies are actively fighting infection feel tired. All of their reserve energy is allocated to the fight. Their bodies are using up energy and resources for the battle they are waging, so they often do not feel like engaging in their usual activities. Lethargic animals might be seen lying around or they might not be seen much at all because they have found a cool place to rest out of sight. If you think that your dog is lethargic, especially if he has any specific signs of disease, like vomiting, diarrhea, cough, sneezing, or nasal discharge, he might have a fever and need a trip to the vet.

2. Anorexia

Anorexia is a term for not eating. People think that it refers only to the human disorder, anorexia nervosa, but actually “anorexia” is a medical term that refers to a patient that is not eating for any number of reasons.  Fever can certainly create a sense of malaise and a feeling of overall illness that will curb appetite. It is not normal for dogs to completely refuse food for days at a time. Sometimes a single missed meal is not a cause for concern, but a pet that shows no interest in eating certainly should see a veterinarian.

3. Feels warm to touch

They say “a mother knows” and I find that my clients (of both genders) know the way their dogs feel on a normal day and often report that they thought their dog felt too warm. A dog’s normal body temperature can range up to 102.5, but if your dog feels too warm to the touch, particularly on her ears and abdomen, it might be time to get more info. A sick dog’s temperature can be measured with a human thermometer used rectally. The thermometer should only be inserted into the rectum as far as the end of the silver bulb. Be sure that you label the thermometer appropriately. Mine at home says “DOG BUTT” on it, so that no human tries to obtain their own temperature orally by mistake!

Don’t underestimate your own senses when it comes to your dog. If you think she is ill, she probably is. Your veterinarian should be willing to check your dog out for you to be sure.

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They just don’t live long enough! Do you know how to manage your cat’s end of life?

Every dog/cat owner knows that one day they will have to say goodbye to their beloved friend, but the most important part is knowing when there are still things that can be done to make life good for them. Pet hospice is palliative care for the dying and is fairly new on the scene. It can make a difference for pets and their families. Dr. Cherie Buisson from Helping Hands Pet Hospice is our guest and she shares with us tips to help you know when your pet needs care. She talks about what to expect and what to watch for as you manage aging and ill pets.

It is important that pet owners know how to keep their friends feeling good, no matter what the issues are.  You might not realize that your cat/dog could be suffering until you hear what Dr. Buisson has to say! We all know that living well and living long are both paramount. Dr. Buisson can put your mind at ease about dealing with chronic disease.  Euthanasia can be a valid option and your veterinarian is a partner in deciding how your pet’s quality of life can be restored and maintained. Do not feel alone. All as animal lovers, we understand your fear and concern and as caregivers, we want to teach you what to expect and how to help.

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Questions you wanted to ask your vet, but forgot!

Lots of fun AND learning. Steve Dale and I talk cats! Controversial topics like nutrition and declawing, get Steve and I “fired up”. Check it out by clicking the appropriate link below to listen FREE.

Out of the Shadows: Elusive wildcats you have never heard of…and they need help.

Elusive, obscure, and eclipsed in popularity by their larger cousins, small cats are amazing, high-performance predators. Dr. Kat takes a look at these small wildcats with Christine Dell’Amore, the online natural history editor for the award-winning National Geographic News. – See more at:

What is the most important resolution your dog is dying for you to keep?

Let’s face it, we are looking a new year in the eye and it is the YEAR OF THE DOG. Guess what, there is a resolution that your dog really needs you to make and keep.

The Most Important Resolution will keep your dog alive longer.

It might not be the winter coat making Fido look fat. It does make a difference! Obesity is an epidemic that robs us of time with our dogs. Purina’s Life Span Study proved that normal weight dogs lived an extra 1.8 years over their overweight counterparts.You must make sure that you are meeting nutritional needs while still reducing his calorie intake. A premium weight loss formula dog food or nutrition plan designed by a veterinary nutritionist will help you make sure.

Make sure your dog keeps a healthy body weight.

Here is how:

Involve your veterinarian.

If you think about it, your veterinarian has really put her “money where her mouth is”.  She has probably borrowed nearly $200,000 just to get her doctorate of veterinary medicine. There is no one that loves your dog more than you do, but your vet is pretty close.  If veterinary bills are difficult for you, resolve to set aside a health savings account for your dog. Even a small amount from each paycheck can build up quickly enough to take the sting out of the yearly visit. Just say no to a few little extras and save the money to help your dog.  As a part of your dog’s wellness, your vet will assess body weight and be happy to discuss it with you to help you make a plan.

Specified mealtimes are important.

Few animals in natural existence have unlimited access to food. Our dogs are not wired to be couch potatoes with limitless snacking capabilities. Give your pet the amount of food that you and your vet have calculated and allow 5-10 minutes for her to eat. At the end of that time, take the bowl away, preventing indulgence and boredom eating throughout the day.

Increase her exercise to improve weight and wellness.

Winter time blues can get us all. The days are short and the temperatures discouraging at best. Make time every day to get her moving! If you can train her to run on your treadmill, she can get some exercise even when it is cold. With a new workout buddy that always thinks you are great, you will like it too and you will never have to wait for her. She is always ready. Provide her with active toys and play games with her. It is good for your both!


Our dogs love us every day of every year. Let’s make the Year of the Dog really The Year of the HEALTHY Dog!

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  1. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002 May 1;220(9):1315-2 Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs.Kealy RD, Lawler DF, Ballam JM, Mantz SL, Biery DN, Greeley EH, Lust G, Segre M, Smith GK, Stowe HD.


Help! My Dog Ate Chocolate. What Do I Do?

It is holiday season and treats are everywhere. Some of my patients have already raided the stocking stash and after Santa comes, even more goodies will be lying around. We are baking and snacking and our dogs are a part of the family.  Why can your dog not be a part of all the merry making like everyone else? Well, there is a very good reason. Many of our treats and goodies contain chocolate. Dogs are different from humans. There are ingredients in the chocolate that can make them very ill, or could even be fatal.

There are two ingredients toxic to dogs in chocolate, theobromine and caffeine. Caffeine can cause tremors, increased heart rate, and other cardiovascular side effects. Theobromine is actually the more dangerous of the two, as even low doses of it will require medical treatment.

Each dog will react differently to the ingestion of chocolate, so if you see your dog eat it, don’t waste time searching for the answer online. If your regular vet is open, they are your first stop. If not, then call the animal ER, or even the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.  If suspect your dog ate chocolate, you need to call!

It will help if you know what type of chocolate it was and how much was in the package. Different kinds of chocolate contain differing amounts of the toxic components. White chocolate and milk chocolate are the least hazardous. Dark chocolate and Baker’s chocolate are the most hazardous, since they contain the highest amounts of theobromine.

Your vet will need to know how roughly much was consumed and then will then be able to calculate the toxic dose to use as a guide for the aggressiveness of treatment. Also,  bring the label because it contains information about any other ingredients, like xylitol (which is toxic on its own). It helps to know what kind of wrapper might have gone down with the chocolate too, in case it could cause a physical obstruction.

Also, if you can remember how much of the chocolate was left in the bag, the vet would appreciate an idea of how much was consumed. Ask your family members if they know before you leave. If you are not sure, it is always better to assume the dog ate more than he did and be aggressive in treatment, rather than be sorry because you were too conservative.

Chocolate is not the only holiday offender, but is one of the more common ones.  Other kinds of “people food” can cause problems too. Be overly cautious about keeping things out of reach of nosey canines. Have a happy and safe holiday with no visits to the animal ER!