dog with hypothermia

10 Tips for Protecting Your Dog from Hypothermia this Winter

Dr. Jackie Schutt

Jan 31, 2024

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Winter can be a fun season—but it’s also a time to be extra vigilant about your dog’s health. As you’re putting on your own heavy coat and gloves, remember your furry friend’s needs too. Drops in temperature can pose a health threat for all of us—yes, dogs can get hypothermia, too! 

We’re here to guide you through some essential tips to keep your dog tail-wagging warm all winter long. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, please give Veterinary Emergency Group a call. VEG is here for you and your pets 24/7 and you’ll speak with a doctor right away.

Believe the Hype About Hypothermia 

Let’s talk about why hypothermia is a doggone big deal. Sure, they have a coat of fur, but that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to the cold. Small breeds, dogs with short coats, puppies, and older dogs are especially at risk for hypothermia, but remember all dogs are at risk. This can lead to severe health problems and can even be fatal. 

Know the Signs of Hypothermia in Dogs

Understanding what to look for is half the battle. Your dog may be in the early stages of hypothermia if they are:

More severe signs can include lack of coordination and muscle stiffness. The best way to know for sure if it’s hypothermia—a trip to your local VEG hospital. We have the expertise to properly diagnose and treat hypothermia in pets.

Top 10 Tips for Preventing Canine Hypothermia

Here’s the scoop to keep your dog warm and hypothermia free this winter.

  1. Bundle up – Just like you wouldn’t go out without a coat, your dog shouldn’t either. Dog sweaters or jackets are a must for short-haired breeds.
  2. Limit outdoor time – On particularly cold days, keep bathroom breaks and walks short.
  3. Provide a warm bed – Make sure your dog has a warm, cozy place to curl up.
  4. No off-leash – Keep your dog on a leash during winter walks to prevent them from venturing onto ice or into dangerous areas.
  5. Paw protection – Salt and de-icing chemicals can hurt your dog’s paws. Booties or paw balms can help!
  6. Keep an eye on the thermostat – Make sure the inside of your home is warm, especially during nighttime when temperatures drop.
  7. Avoid space heaters: They’re danger by design for pets. Think: dogs and space heaters come up to about the same height. Heaters can be a burn hazard, as they usually get super hot when in use. Also, dog fur can slip through the fan screen, leaving potential to tug out some fur or even draw a pet closer to the heating unit.  
  8. Reflective gear: Shorter days mean less light. Make your dog more visible to others by using reflective collars or leashes.
  9. Check for snow build-up: Snow can get stuck in your dog’s paws and cause discomfort. Always check and remove after walks.
  10. Keep ‘em dry: Wet fur loses its insulating abilities. Dry your dog off as soon as you get inside.

The Importance of Vet Check-Ups

Regular vet visits can help you stay ahead of potential issues, including hypothermia. During these check-ups, your vet can give you personalized advice based on your dog’s breed, size, and overall health.

Embrace Winter Fun But Prioritize Your Dog’s Health

Keep these tips in mind, and you’re well on your way to ensuring your dog has a warm, happy and hypothermia free winter. And remember, if you ever have any concerns, VEG locations are available 24/7 and is just a phone call away. We’re your go-to for emergency care and expert advice.