Why Dog Hypothermia is a Serious Pet Emergency

When the cold weather hits, it’s important to keep a close eye on our pets to make sure they stay warm and safe. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, dogs can get too cold and suffer from hypothermia. This is a serious condition where their body temperature drops below normal, and it can be quite dangerous–even fatal.

If you’re worried about your pet or have questions, Pets Furst Urgent Care in Langhorne, PA, is here to help. Our team is ready to offer emergency and urgent care, along with wellness services, vaccinations, microchipping, and diagnostics. Feel free to call us at (215) 755-1000 for more information. We’re eager to meet you and your pet!

dog being treated for hypothermia

What is Dog Hypothermia?

Hypothermia in dogs is a condition that occurs when a dog’s body temperature falls below the normal, healthy range, which is typically around 101°F to 102.5°F (38.3°C to 39.2°C). This drop in body temperature can happen when dogs are exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods, especially in wet conditions or when they are not acclimated to cold weather. It’s a condition that requires immediate attention because, if left untreated, it can lead to severe health complications or even be fatal.

Risk Factors of Hypothermia

Naturally, the primary cause of hypothermia is prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. However, several factors can increase a dog’s risk of developing hypothermia:

  • Breed and Coat Type: Dogs with thin coats or breeds that are not well-suited to cold weather (like Chihuahuas or Greyhounds) are more susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Age: Very young puppies and older dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperature, making them more vulnerable.
  • Health Status: Dogs with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or hormonal imbalances may be at increased risk.
  • Wet Conditions: Being wet drastically increases heat loss, making it much easier for dogs to become hypothermic even in milder cold weather.

Signs of Hypothermia

Recognizing the signs of hypothermia early is critical for prompt and effective treatment. Here are some key symptoms to watch for:

  • Shivering: While shivering can be a normal response to cold, excessive shivering is a clear sign that your dog’s body is struggling to maintain its normal temperature.
  • Lethargy or Weakness: Dogs with hypothermia may seem unusually tired, weak, or uninterested in their surroundings.
  • Cold to the Touch: Ears, paws, and the nose may feel colder than usual.
  • Slowed Breathing or Heart Rate: Severe hypothermia can slow down a dog’s breathing and heart rate, which can be life-threatening.
  • Difficulty Walking: You might notice clumsiness or an inability to coordinate movements.
  • Pale or Blue Gums: This is a sign of poor circulation and is a severe symptom of hypothermia.

When to Seek Help

If you suspect your dog has hypothermia, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. While warming them up is a priority, it needs to be done carefully to avoid any complications. Warming a hypothermic dog too quickly can be just as dangerous as not warming them at all. Our professionals know how to safely raise your dog’s body temperature while monitoring them for any signs of distress. Pets Furst Urgent Care is here for your pet’s medical needs, offering urgent and wellness-based services seven days a week. Give us a call at (215) 755-1000.

Why Choose Pets Furst Urgent Care

Choosing the right care for your pet is crucial. At Pets Furst Urgent Care, we understand the bond between pets and their owners, and the need for accessible and prompt urgent care to address potentially dangerous medical problems. Hypothermia is a serious condition that needs to be treated with quick action and compassionate, expert care to ensure a full recovery. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health this winter, please call Pets Furst Urgent Care at (215) 755-1000