Hypothermia In Dogs: How To Recognize – And How To Prevent

If your dog stays in the cold for too long in winter, it can lead to hypothermia in the worst-case scenario. It is then important to interpret the symptoms correctly and act quickly. Here you will also learn how to protect your four-legged friend from hypothermia.

Do you have a very young, old, or sick dog? Or a breed with a small undercoat or body – like a Dalmatian or Chihuahua? Then you should read this manual carefully. Because these dogs are especially prone to hypothermia.

But what does this even mean? Hypothermia is when the body temperature drops below normal. In humans, this occurs from 35 degrees, in dogs – already from 37 degrees. Because the normal body temperature of four-legged friends is between 38 and 39 degrees, that is, slightly higher than that of humans.

Symptoms of Hypothermia in a Dog

If your dog is hypothermic, he will begin to shiver and breathe shallowly. In addition, the pulse becomes slower and weaker. This is felt best on the inside of the thigh. His consciousness can also be clouded.

Just in case, you can measure your dog’s temperature rectally using a Vaseline-smeared dog thermometer. If the temperature is below 36 degrees, you should take your four-legged friend to the vet as soon as possible. Because: if hypothermia is not recognized and treated, it can lead to complications, and in the worst case, death.

For less severe hypothermia, you can help your dog by placing it in a warm bath (but with water temperatures below 40 degrees) and then drying it thoroughly. If necessary, it should be irradiated with a heat lamp.

Alternatively, you can warm the blankets in the tumble dryer or hairdryer and cover the dog with them. Alternatively, wrap a heating pad (or a regular bottle of warm water) in a towel and place it on your dog’s belly. Measure your temperature every ten minutes. If it continues to fall: see your veterinarian!

Once your dog’s body temperature drops back to 38 degrees, you can take out the heating pad. But keep observing his behavior and measuring his temperature every 15-30 minutes. Is your dog awake and walking normally? Then it’s all right! Important: If you are unsure of the best way to help your dog, always consult your veterinarian!

How to Prevent Hypothermia in Your Dog

To prevent your dog from suffering from hypothermia, he should not stay outside for too long. Particularly susceptible dogs are advised to wear a special dog coat in winter – it should sit well and not restrict freedom of movement.

Also, be careful not to let your dog get into frozen water. If it falls into icy water, there is a particularly high risk of hypothermia!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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