Understanding And Preventing Frostbite In Dogs This Winter

Caring for your dog requires a good amount of effort. From training and providing medical care to feeding and grooming, it is easy to see how so many people become overwhelmed by their dog. Certain tasks may be priorities, but other surprising tips are necessary to protect your dog from the simple winter weather. Even though they have a coat of fur, your dog will be at risk of developing frostbite. Using this guide, you will understand the causes, symptoms, and preventative measures of frostbite so your dog can enjoy the winter season in a healthy and happy manner.

Understanding Frostbite

When temperatures drop below freezing, the blood vessels nearest the surface of your dog's skin will start to narrow and constrict. This prevents blood flow to certain areas of their body.

If your dog is exposed to lower temperatures or submerged in cold water for a period of time, the combination of the low temperatures and reduced blood flow will damage the tissue and skin.

Known as frostbite, this damage will most likely occur on your dog's ears, tail, and paws.

Symptoms of Frostbite

Every dog is different, so frostbite may affect your dog differently from another. However, here are the most common signs of frostbite in dogs:

  • Skin discoloration – Certain areas of the skin may appear pale, blue, or grey in color.
  • Chapped, brittle skin – The affected areas may appear chapped, brittle, and cold.
  • Swollen skin – You may also notice the affected areas appear to be swollen and red.
  • Pain with Contact – If you touch the skin and your dog flinches, they may be experiencing frostbite bite.
  • Blisters – The formation of blisters or ulcers on the skin is also common with frostbite.
  • Blackened skin – Severe cases of frostbite can cause the skin cells to die, resulting in a charred, blackened look.

Be sure to wrap your dog in warm blankets and towels and consult your veterinarian immediately.

Preventing Frostbite

Prevention is your best weapon against frostbite. Therefore, you must limit the amount of time your dog spends outside when temperatures are low.

Never leave your dog outdoors at night or while you are away for work during the day during the winter season. Even though they have fur, their bodies are not capable of withstanding long periods of cold weather.

When walking your dog this winter, limit the time you spend outdoors. Dogs with both long and short coats can benefit from wearing a winter sweater during the walks. If there is snow, sleet, or ice on the ground, consider placing booties on your dog's paws to protect them from the cold.

Frostbite is a serious condition that you may not believe can affect your dog. To learn more about protecting your dog from frostbite, use this guide and contact your veterinary clinic for more information.