(KXAN) — When it comes to temperature extremes in Central Texas, heat is usually what comes to mind. Central Texas spends a majority of the year with an average high of 80 degrees or higher.
But February 2021, and even the most recent cold snaps, have brought frigid temperatures and are harsh reminders that it does get cold here.
Dr. Samuel Morehead, DVM at Leander Vet Clinic explains, “With household pets, typically what we might see first, would be what we consider mild hypothermia. You might see shivering, your pet might seem a little depressed, sometime they’ll be breathing a little bit heavier.”
And you might be surprised that these symptoms can occur at a relatively “cool” temperature. Dr. Morehead says temperatures in the 40s can cause some household pets to develop mild hypothermia symptoms, and can even occur with some lighter, and less furry, animals when temperatures are in the 50s.
Specifically, younger pets like puppies and kittens, as well as older pets can develop mild hypothermia symptoms with temperatures in the 50s.
Even healthy pets, if they spend a majority of their lives inside, can be susceptible to hypothermia.
“If it’s a household pet that spends 90% of its time indoors, and then gets left outside for a few hours, that pet may be particularly at risk. It’s not going to have enough time to adapt,” Dr. Morehead explains.
If you come across a household pet that’s been exposed to the cold weather and is showing signs of hypothermia, Dr. Morehead advises you to bring them inside immediately, and “we use a lot of warm towels, warm blankets. One trick that we use is to toss it in the dryer to get them nice and warmed up and then wrap the pet in that, we might do that plus using a hairdryer on low heat to get them warmed up and dry as well.”
A final reminder is if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it will likely also be too cold for your pet.