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Hypothermia: how to help your dog?

Not only wild animals, but also domestic animals suffer from the winter cold.

Harsh winter weather is not only dangerous for wild animals. Domestic animals also suffer from the winter cold. Living in cozy homes under the care of caring owners has made dogs more susceptible to the cold and more vulnerable than their wild relatives.


Hypothermia (a condition in which the body temperature drops to below that required to maintain the body’s metabolism and functioning (below 35C in humans). Hypothermia can be triggered by very cold environments, prolonged exposure, rain, wind, sweat or exposure to cold water – source: wikipedia) – can be a threat to any dog, but resistance to cold depends on the breed of dog. For example, for a Siberian Husky, a temperature of 5C is not cold, but a pleasant chill, at which temperature a Boxer will freeze, while a small Chihuahua will get hypothermia very quickly. In any case, when it’s cold, dogs must not be outside for too long.

How to prevent hypothermia:

training is as relevant and beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. Do not pamper your pet. Reasonable training at low temperatures from an early age will make even short-haired dogs less susceptible to cold.
In winter, the diet should be more calorific, especially for dogs kept outside.

The dog should have plenty of fresh water. Snow is not a substitute for water.

Walks in winter should be shorter than in the warm season and more active – with games, running, jumping. If the weather is windy, walks should be even shorter – the wind contributes to rapid cooling.

Do not leave your dog in the car in winter. If the engine is not running, the dog may freeze; if the engine is running, there is a risk of poisoning.

Sensitive dogs should be used to cold weather walks gradually, starting with 10 to 15 minutes and gradually increasing the time.

Do not allow your dog to lie or sit on the ground for long periods.

If you are raisingyour child is freezing – buy some clothes. The kidneys and urogenital organs are the most important to protect, as they are the first to be affected by the cold.

If your feet get very cold, buy special shoes that not only protect you from the cold but also from the harmful chemicals used on the streets of big cities when it is slippery. You can also use a special cream to lubricate the pads of your feet when it’s freezing outside. Pig or goose fat will get you into trouble.

Hypothermia is more common in sick and old dogs, nursing and pregnant females, and young puppies.
If you keep your pet outdoors, prepare the dog’s way in advance.

The dog’s place in the house should be located where there are no draughts, 8 – 10 cm off the floor and away from heating appliances.

Signs of frostbite:

The dog shakes and raises its legs;

the body temperature drops below 37.5C;

saliva becomes pale;

the animal tries to curl up into a ball and hide in a warm place.

Signs of severe frostbite (hypothermia):

body the temperature drops below 36C;

confusion, slowness, sometimes unconsciousness;

weak pulse;

rare heartbeat;

infrequent and shallow breathing.

Freezing Help

Do not try to warm a frozen dog by forcing it to move actively – it is better to return to a warm room as soon as possible. Take your small puppy in your arms on the way home.

At home, wrap a warm blanket around the animal or warm it with hot water heaters (simple plastic bottles will do. The water temperature should not exceed 40C). Give your dog a warm drink. Monitor your pet’s body temperature changes.

If the dog has fallen into the water during the winter, warm the animal in a warm bath when you get home and continue as above.

If the dog is very cold, its condition may become critical. The animal should be transported urgently to a veterinary clinic for intensive resuscitation. On the way, the animal should be wrapped in a warm blanket, preferably with a warm water heater.

However, even after successful resuscitation, it is not always possible to removei some irreversible damage to internal organs caused by hypothermia. Subsequently, health problems or early death of the animal are possible.

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