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In this lesson, we'll be introducing you to hypothermia emergencies that you may encounter, especially if you live in parts of the world where winter means snow and ice and all those lovely single-digit temperature readings. At the end of the lesson, we'll provide you with a Word about how you can tell how old a dog is … without cheating and asking the dog.

Before we get into how you should handle a hypothermia emergency, let's address the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. These include:

  • Recent exposure to extreme cold
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Low body temperature

Pro Tip #1: If you live in an unforgivably cold climate and your pet has been outside a while in those frosty temperatures, get into the habit of checking her temperature after she comes back inside. If her temperature is normal, great! But if it's low, she'll need to be warmed up a bit.

What to do in Case of Hypothermia

Since warming too aggressively or quickly can be problematic, this should happen under veterinary care. Which means your role in this is to gently warm your pet in a way that keeps her comfortable for the ride to the nearest veterinary facility.

Wrap your pet in a large towel or blanket to help her body begin to rewarm naturally. And wrap her in something that will also keep her more comfortable on the way to see the vet.

Pro Tip #2: Just remember that you DO NOT want to actively warm your pet after a hypothermia emergency. This can be counterproductive. Just wrap up your pet so she doesn't continue to lose excessive body heat. It's kind of like stopping the bleeding, but then letting the vet handle the stitches. Most importantly, get to the vet as soon as you can.

When Hypothermia isn't Hypothermia

Let's say your pet is showing signs of hypothermia minus the exposure to cold temperatures. This is a bad sign, as the likely cause of low body temperature in a pet with no exposure to cold is a circulatory issue, and possibly even circulatory failure. This can be very serious and definitely warrants an immediate trip to the nearest veterinary care facility.

A Word About How to Tell How Old a Dog Is

Professional dog walker and former pet store owner, Cara Armour, can tell you a dog's age with such precision that she will routinely freak out unsuspecting strangers and pet owners with her prognostications.

If you'd also like to surprise the heck out of total strangers or maybe get invited onto your favorite late night TV talk show to demonstrate your Kreskin-like skills, Cara's article for ProPetHero – How Can You Tell How Old a Dog Is? – is just what you need.

She uses five factors to help her determine a dog's age, beginning with teeth.

A Dog's Teeth

Dog's teeth tell a story if you're paying attention. They'll tell you about the dog's diet. They'll tell you about her favorite toy. And they may even tell you how old she is.

Damage to teeth, even minor wear and tear, takes time to develop. Of course, you may not know enough information to predict a dog's age just by teeth. After all, you may not know about the dog's dental visits or natural-based diet, both of which may help keep her teeth much younger than her actual age.

A Dog's Eyes

While the eyes are often called the window into the soul, you can also look for wear and tear there to help predict a dog's age. Age-related eye problems can be common, but they are also often age-specific.

Take cataracts, for example. Cataracts can develop in some breeds before the age of two. However, lenticular sclerosis – with symptoms similar to cataracts – typically is seen in dogs between the ages of six and eight.

And let's not discount the gateway into the soul aspect of the eyes. If you look into the eyes of a puppy, you'll likely see some excitement and optimism. If you look into the eyes of a grizzled old hound dog, you're going to see some old eyes that have seen a lot. And you'll be able to see those differences pretty easily, we suspect.

To get the other three factors you can look for to tell a dog's age, follow that link above. You'll be entertaining neighbors and shocking strangers in no time at all.