By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s extremely important that you keep your pets, both dogs and cats, indoors in cold weather, regardless of age, size or breed. It is truly a misconception that many animals can endure the cold temperatures because of their fur.
Avoid a very serious and possibly life threatening condition for your pet that is ever present throughout the cold winter months – hypothermia. It’s an extremely dangerous situation that can cause shock, organ failure, tissue damage, coma and even death.
Hypothermia takes place when the animal’s body temperature falls below 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while normal temperature for both dogs and cats is approximately 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. They may experience uncontrolled shivering, difficulty breathing, muscle stiffness, and fixed and dilated pupils. They may become lethargic, weak and possibly unresponsive. They may be experiencing pain as well.
If you suspect hypothermia, move your pet to a warm area with plenty of blankets right away (you can warm blankets or towels in a clothes dryer for a few minutes) but most importantly while doing so, seek medical help immediately.
Prevent hypothermia from occurring altogether by keeping your pets safely warm indoors.