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Baby, It's Cold Outside

Autumn seems to have passed by in a flash this year, filled with chilly temperatures and plenty of rain. Now that we’ve turned back the clocks and the sun is setting on our cold November days much earlier, we are reminded that Old Man Winter is near. When weather is warmer we think nothing about leaving our dogs outside in the backyard for prolonged periods of time. Now that the days and nights are getting cold, it is important to remember that our pets get cold too. This is especially important after a large snowfalls, during cold-snaps and at night.

Some dogs are better equipped for the cold weather than others and many cats like to be let outside at night, but all of man’s best friends are capable of hypothermia. If your pet’s core body temperature drops below the required level to maintain normal metabolism and body functions then hypothermia will have set in and begun to do serious damage. This condition requires emergency veterinary intervention.

If you notice the following symptoms, mild hypothermia may be setting in:

  • shivering
  • mental confusion

A moderate level of hypothermia is likely setting in if you notice:

  • violent shivering
  • slow movement and musclular mis-coordination
  • mental confusion

As severe hypothermia sets in:

  • heart rate decreases
  • blood pressure decreases
  • respiratory rate decreases
  • severe confusion, irrational behaviour
  • muscle coordination extremely poor, walking near impossible

To be safe, only leave your pet outside for short periods if without access to a warm shelter or indoors. If your pet is exhibiting signs of hypothermia it is important to contact your emergency veterinary clinic immediately. To reach the Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Brampton, call 905-495-9907.