Dog Hypothermia: What it is and How to Protect Your Pet this Winter

As the winter months approach, it’s essential to understand the risks of cold weather for your pets. In this blog, we’re focusing on a critical concern for dog owners: dog hypothermia. Hypothermia can be a serious threat to your dog’s health during the colder seasons. We’ll guide you through understanding what dog hypothermia is, how to spot it, and steps you can take to protect your beloved pet this winter. For more detailed information or specific concerns, we encourage you to contact Heart + Paw. Our team is here to help you with advice and services to keep your dog healthy and safe.

protecting dog from hypothermia

What is Dog Hypothermia?

Hypothermia in dogs occurs when their body temperature falls below the normal range, which is typically around 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This drop in temperature can happen when they’re exposed to cold weather for too long. Like humans, dogs can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia, conditions that can pose severe health risks.

Signs of Hypothermia in Dogs

Being aware of the signs of hypothermia is key to protecting your pet. These signs include:

  • Shivering: This is often the first sign and is a natural response to cold.
  • Lethargy: If your dog seems unusually tired or weak, it could be a symptom.
  • Weak pulse: A slow or weak pulse can be a sign of hypothermia.
  • Difficulty breathing: Watch for any changes in their breathing patterns.
  • Unresponsiveness: If your dog seems unresponsive or unusually still, it’s time to act.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact a vet immediately. Heart + Paw professionals are always ready to assist and guide you.

Protecting Your Dog from Hypothermia

One effective way to protect your dog from the cold is through appropriate clothing and gear. Dog coats and sweaters can provide the necessary warmth, especially for short-haired breeds. Don’t forget about their paws – dog boots can protect their feet from cold surfaces and harmful materials like road salt.

Safe Outdoor Practices

When temperatures drop, consider reducing the time your dog spends outside. Short, frequent walks are better than prolonged exposure to the cold. Always monitor your dog closely and look for any signs of discomfort or distress.

Creating a Warm Environment at Home

Ensure your dog always has a warm, cozy space indoors. Dog beds with blankets in a draft-free area can make a significant difference. Also, elevate their bed off cold floors to help them retain their body heat.

Routine Winter Health Tips for Dogs

Regular vet visits are important for maintaining your dog’s health, especially in winter. A check-up at Heart + Paw can help your vet identify any potential issues your pet might have before they become serious. Also, maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring your dog stays hydrated are vital during winter. Dogs might need more calories in the cold months, but be sure to consult with your vet for the best dietary advice.

Staying active is also essential. Indoor play and exercise can help your dog stay happy and fit.

When to Contact a Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog is suffering from hypothermia or any other health issues, it’s essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. At Heart + Paw, we’re equipped to provide the care your dog needs. Don’t wait if you see any concerning signs; call your closest Heart + Paw location for an appointment or more information!

This winter, keeping your dog safe and healthy from the risks of hypothermia is a priority. By understanding what hypothermia is, recognizing the signs, and taking preventative measures, you can ensure your dog enjoys the winter season safely. Remember, Heart + Paw is here always here to support you and your pet! Reach out to us any time for advice or treatment. 

Recent Posts


Is My Pet Alright? When Cat Panting Requires a Vet Visit

Caring for our cats means paying attention to all the little details that make them unique. One…

Read More

7 Plants Toxic to Cats that Could be in Your Home or Garden

Creating a safe and inviting space for our beloved cats often involves more than just providing them…

Read More

Dog Tooth Abscesses: Signs, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

When it comes to keeping your dog happy and healthy, oral health plays a significant role that…

Read More

Why Is My Dog Always Thirsty and Drinking a Lot of Water?

If you’ve noticed your dog lapping up more water than usual, you might be wondering if it’s…

Read More

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs and Cats: How a Urinalysis Provides Important Information

When our pets seem off, it’s natural to worry, especially if you notice they’re having trouble going…

Read More

About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

We'd Love to Meet Your Four-Legged Friends

Find out how the friendly veterinary team at your local Heart + Paw can help your pets live longer, healthier lives by searching for a location near you.