Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature and can be caused by more than just being outside in the cold for long periods of time. There are a lot of factors that play into whether or not your dog is at risk of hypothermia, some of them include:
- Very young or old dogs.
- Dogs under anesthesia.
- Smaller breeds, because they experience faster loss of body heat.
- Diseases of the hypothalamus (example: hypothyroidism). The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating and maintaining body temperature.
- And... of course... if your dog has been out in the cold or the skin/ fur has been wet for a long period of time.
The first signs of hypothermia is excessive shivering and lethargy. You should also check for frostbite: When areas of the skin, particularly the tail, ears and paws, become pale, gray and/ or bluish. These areas can also feel cold or brittle and be painful when touched. Sometimes, the frost bit areas will also swell and form blisters. To check your dog's body temperature, click this link.
Here is a handy temperature chart. Remember if your dog is below 98F, TAKE THEM TO THE VET.
(Remember, if your dog's temperature is below 98F, seek a veterinarian immediately!)
- Throw some blankets in the dryer to warm them up. Then, wrap your dog in the warm blankets.
- Wrap a warm water bottle in a towel and place on your dog's stomach. Do not place the warmed water bottle directly on the stomach without wrapping it. This may cause a burn on your dog's stomach.
- If your dog is alert, give him/her warm fluids to drink.
- Try to keep your dog still. Moving around will cause more body heat to be lost.
- Take your dog's temperature every 10 minutes. Once your dog is at a normal temperature, take them to the veterinarian to check for long term damage.
- Hypothermia: Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Cold, Cesar's Way, https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/safety/Hypothermia-Keeping-your-dog-safe-in-the-cold
- Hypothermia in Dogs, Doctors Foster and Smith, http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+1677&aid=301
- Low Body Temperature in Dogs, Vetary, https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/low-body-temperature