The weather is extremely unpredictable. One day it’s 60 degrees and raining, the next it’s 80 degrees with sunshine. Winters can be even worse with unexpected cold fronts. With extremely cold temperatures, hypothermia is a possibility for dogs.
Hypothermia, occurring in both humans and pets, is a condition characterized by abnormally low body temperatures. There are three phases of hypothermia: mild, classified as a body temperature of 90-99 degrees Fahrenheit; moderate, classified as a body temperature of 82-90 degrees Fahrenheit; and severe, classified as a body temperature of less than 82 degrees Fahrenheit. With hypothermia, the dog is no longer able to control a normal body temperature resulting in an abnormal heartbeat and difficulties breathing.
Generally, hypothermia results from spending too much time outside in the cold. Although there is not a specific time limit for a given temperature a dog should be left outside, Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said time spent outside in the cold should be restricted.