Hypothermia in Dogs
Dogs with thick, luxurious coats can look impervious to the elements, but do not let their appearance fool you. Dogs are just as sensitive to cold weather as people. The normal body temperature for a dog is around 100° – 101° F. When their body temperature drops below 100° F, their body systems do not function normally. Everything begins to slow down. Extremities lose circulation because the dog’s body is trying to keep its core organs warm. Loss of circulation in small body parts like ears and toes leads to frost bite. The dog will shiver to try to stay warm, but their breathing and heartrate will slow. If the dog gets cold enough they will slip into a coma.
If you find your dog suffering from hypothermia you need to warm them up immediately. Use warm blankets, hot water bottles or heating pads. Be careful not to heat them up too much because you could risk burning their skin! Any time the weather is cold outside, it is best to keep your pets indoors. Dogs still need to make trips outside to “do their business”, but you can provide them with jackets to keep their bodies warm and boots to protect their paws from ice and salt. Provide dogs that may be outside during cold weather with shelter from the elements because animals that are wet will feel the effects of hypothermia much more quickly.