Seeing your fur-baby not feeling well is one of the toughest sights for pet parents. That’s why we’ve come up with a guide for you about the common causes of fevers, ways of reducing the temperature, and ways you can potentially boost your dog's immune system.
A DOG'S NORMAL TEMPERATURE
As humans, our normal temperature ranges from 97.6-99.6F degrees. While our dog's normal temperature ranges from 99.5 to 102.5F degrees.
The following are signs of fever in dogs:
- weakness, lack of energy
- dry nose
- loss of appetite
- red eyes
- warm ears
- changes in behavior
CAUSES OF FEVER IN DOGS
A fever in your fur-baby means that your dog's immune system is fighting off an infection, inflammation or other foreign bodies. The immune system of your dog recognizes these as threats and is therefore increasing the body temperature to get rid of them.
Causes of fever in dogs can be internal, external, or both:
- scratches, bites, cuts, and wounds that have been infected
- ear infections
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- An infected tooth, gums
- continuing viral, fungal or bacterial disease
- infected body organs (lungs, kidneys)
- tick bites
- complications during birth
- underlying health conditions
- ingesting plants, medication or substances that are harmful to dogs
TYPES OF FEVER THAT CAN HAPPEN IN DOGS
The following are common types of fever that can happen in dogs:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dogs is caused by bacteria that are transmitted via tick bites, specifically by the American dog tick.
- presence of blood in the urine
- presence of blood in stools
- bleeding of the nose
- irregular heartbeat
- discolored spots on the skin
- loss of coordination
- swollen lymph nodes
- inflamed eyes
The usual treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in dogs is to give them a 2 to 3-week course of antibiotics. The best way to prevent this is to always check your fur-baby for fleas and ticks after spending time outdoors. You can also opt to give your dog tick prevention spot-on or oral medications or use natural tick prevention solutions.
Valley Fever. Valley fever in dogs is a disease caused by fungi. This disease can also affect other animals like cows, horses, monkeys, and marine animals. Valley Fever is transmitted through the environment and dogs can be very susceptible since they love digging and sniffing on the ground, potentially inhaling the fungal spores.
The most common early symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs include:
- lack/loss of appetite
- eye inflammation with cloudiness or discharge
- enlarged lymph nodes under the chin, in front of the shoulder blades
Treatment depends greatly on the severeness of the symptoms. Prevention includes avoiding activities that deal with dust, preventing your fur-baby from digging, sniffing the ground, and keeping him indoors.
Milk fever. Milk fever in dogs happens after whelping, when high amounts of calcium drain from the mama's system into her milk. She then exceeds her ability to replace calcium in her own body.
The common symptoms of milk fever in dogs include:
- increased thirst and urination
Treatment for milk fever can often be solved by calcium replacement therapies. You can help your mama dog avoid milk fever by providing her with a high-quality diet throughout the duration of her pregnancy and lactation and avoid supplementing her with calcium during her pregnancy as this can cause milk fever.
HOW TO CHECK FEVER IN A DOG
The best way to determine if your fur-baby has a fever is to take his temperature. A digital rectal thermometer is specifically made for pets as it will display your fur-baby's temperature in less than a minute.
Another method to know if your dog has a fever is through touch. Though this is not the best option, this can come in handy especially in emergencies. To do this, you can check on the following body parts and what to look for:
- Nose: dryness, nasal discharge
- Gums: swelling, paleness or redness
- Back of ears: very warm to touch
- Groin: swelling or enlarged lymph nodes
- Paws: very warm to touch
HOW TO REDUCE FEVER IN DOGS
High fever is harmful to dogs and it is always best to get a high temperature down as quickly as possible. Here are some of the effective ways to reduce fever in your fur-baby:
- Wet your fur-baby's ears and paws and place a fan to dry the fur and cool them. Continue wetting the ears and paws until the temperature drops to 103F degrees.
- Try to get your dog to drink small amounts of cold water every now and then.
- Wrap your fur-baby in a damp towel and dry him afterward. You can also opt to wet a sponge and go over the warmest body parts of your fur-baby (back of the ears, groin, paws, underarms, and snout).
- Place packs of ice between his back legs or on his head. But remember not to place the ice directly on your dog as this can be uncomfortable for them. Always remember that it's not good to keep a sick dog wet for long periods. Always dry the body parts that got wet.
- If you have done all that is mentioned above and your fur-baby's fever still does not go down, it is time to go to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your dog's fever may be a sign of something more serious (like ingestion of toxic substances).
BOOSTING YOUR DOG'S IMMUNE SYSTEM
A dog with a weak immune system can easily be vulnerable to parasites, infections, and diseases. Boosting your fur-baby's immune system can help reduce the risks of having fever and here are ways you can do it:
Strengthen your fur-baby's love for exercise and activities. Excess fats weaken the immune system of your fur-baby, that's why exercise is very important. Things as simple as taking a daily walk, 15-minutes of playtime, swimming on the weekends, and playing fetch can greatly contribute to your fur-baby's general health.
Feed the right diet. A good diet means a good immune system as the immune system's largest part is the gut. Feed your fur-baby the right amount of protein, good fiber, and live-bacteria but remember to consult your vet about it first.
Supplement. To help boost the immune system, supplements come in handy. Provide your dog with Probiotic supplements that will provide your fur-baby with valuable nutrients that can help support the immune & digestive health. Examples include pumpkin for dogs, natural digestive enzymes, and proprietary probiotic blend.
Give the gift of touch. As simple as it may seem, petting your dog can be beneficial for them as it advances healing and relaxation.
Reducing fever in your dog is not something that happens instantly. A fever is a very serious thing to deal with and there are a lot of possible causes. As a responsible pet parent, turn to your vet immediately if the temperature does not go down. To help prevent fevers in the future, look for ways you can possibly strengthen your fur-baby's immune health, for a happier and healthier life.