Dogs And Hypothermia

by Colleen Fernandez

in Health Problems

The Cold Weather May Pose A Threat To Your Dog

Hypothermia occurs in dogs when they’re temperature falls below its normal range, which is between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

With all these snow storms and cold weather in the news, I started thinking about all the dogs that live up north, and began to wonder how they’re being affected with the cold weather and snow. Hypothermia is just one of many health problems, that may affect your Boston terrier.

Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about it … I live in Florida!

Which Dogs Are Most Susceptible To Hypothermia

  • Small dogs
  • Wet dogs
  • Short haired dogs
  • Dogs without access to shelter

Dogs do go into self-preservation mode when they are in extreme temperatures. Dogs try to maintain their normal body temperature by:

  • Shivering
  • Piloerection (similar to goose bumps) – this is when your dog’s hair stands up.
  • Vasoconstriction – this is the process where your dog’s blood vessels narrow to restrict the amount of blood (heat) that flows through them. This helps your dog survive, because it ensures that the most important areas of your dog (brain, liver, lungs) are protected and blood is flowing freely.

Preventing Hypothermia

You should take precautions in the cold weather to prevent hypothermia. Here are some steps you can take to do so:

1. Keep your dog inside as much as possible
2. Consider getting a coat and booties for your dog
3. Try to keep your dog dry, when a dog is wet their temperature drops even faster

Symptoms Of Hypothermia

  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Low heart and breathing rates
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Collapse
  • Coma

Beginning Stages of Hypothermia

Hypothermia can be fatal if it goes untreated. If you notice that your dog is suffering from the cold, you should get him inside in a warm, dry area, and try to bring his body temperature up.

Moderate Hypothermia

If your dog has a moderate case of hypothermia (body temp between 90-94 degrees) you should use hot water bottles, warm towels, heat lamps, warm baths, hairdryers and heat pads to bring your dog’s temperature back to normal. Careful not to burn your dog though! Water temp should not be above 105 degrees!

Severe Hypothermia

If you think your dog could be suffering from severe hypothermia, you should call your vet immediately. Your vet may use internal warming techniques which include warm water enemas and stomach flushes.

Also realize that your dog may suffer from permanent damage if he’s suffered severe hypothermia. The degree of damage depends on the length and degree of hypothermia that your dog suffered from.

This article was adapted from Dog Topics.



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