As dogs that hunt waterfowl are in and out of the water frequently, sometimes in cold conditions, they’re often susceptible to hypothermia – low body temperature that can result in slowed-down functioning, among other things. Other hunting dogs are at risk, too, especially in conditions that are cold, wet and windy.
So what signs should you watch for to determine if your dog may be suffering from hypothermia, and what should you do if your dog exhibits these signs? Read on to learn more, with information compiled from the and hypotermia.org:
First Signs of Mild Hypothermia: Signs include violent shivering and fatigue.
Signs of Moderate Hypothermia: Signs include loss of shivering ability, disorientation and stumbling movements, and loss of consciousness.
Signs of Severe Hypothermia: Signs include unconsciousness and ragged breathing.
If your dog is displaying any signs of hypothermia, three things are key: shielding the dog from further exposure to cold, warming up the dog, and transporting it to veterinary care.
To do so, move your dog to a warm, enclosed environment, such as a heated pickup truck. Cover your dog with warm blankets, and then immediately seek professional veterinary care for your dog. Do not apply excessive pressure to your dog, place hot objects in contact with the dog or supply your dog with cold fluids. As rewarming a hypothermic dog can be complex, leave it to experts.
Note that the best way to overcome hypothermia is to prevent it altogether. Do so by first outfitting your dog with an insulated vest, and then shielding it from the wind if it gets wet, towel-drying it, and bringing it into the warm indoors in extreme conditions.
For more tips and information on hunting, fishing and camping, be sure to visit the Bass Pro Shops 1Source blog.