Whether the sun is shining or the snow is falling, our dogs usually tend to love to spend time outside. As the weather turns cold and winter sets it, it’s important to always be on the lookout for symptoms of frostbite on your pets. Even dogs with thicker fur are susceptible to the effects of frostbite in very low temperatures. While frostbite isn’t normally fatal in and of itself, if left untreated, it can lead to hypothermia, which can be deadly.
In this article, we will discuss frostbite and what causes it, describe the noticeable symptoms of frostbite, and provide expert advice on how you can successfully treat frostbite in your dog.
When a dog is left in very low temperatures for a significant amount of time, the cold causes injury to the outermost bodily extremities. This happens as your pet’s body works to divert blood flow toward its center in order to maintain its core body temperature and preserve its vital organs. As this happens, the skin and body tissue in your pet’s extremities begin to freeze, causing frostbite. Your dog’s ears, nose, paws, and tail are the most susceptible to frostbite. If your dog’s fur is wet, this can also exacerbate frostbite.
There are several easy-to-spot symptoms that your dog has been overly-exposed to the cold and is experiencing the effects of frostbite. If you notice any of these signs, it is very important that your dog receives treatment immediately to avoid permanent damage or, in extreme cases, hypothermia and death.
Once you’ve properly diagnosed that your dog has frostbite, it’s imperative that you begin the process of treatment right away. The most important thing to do is to try to return warmth to your pet and his affected areas:
Once you’ve brought your dog to your local, trusted vet, they will examine your pet for any signs of hypothermia as well as ascertain the extent of damage caused by the frostbite. Mild cases of frostbite often heal almost completely, while more severe cases may result in permanent damage, disfigurement, the need for surgery, or amputation of the affected area.
Your vet will more than likely prescribe pain medication, as the healing process can be very painful for your dog. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in more serious cases to fight off infection.
At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, our friendly medical team provides only the best care for your lovable pets. If your dog is suffering from the effects of frostbite, do not hesitate to bring your pooch in for an examination. Our team will work tirelessly to make sure that your pet makes the best recovery possible.
If you’re located in Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, or in areas nearby Ventura County, contact us today to set up an appointment or stop in at any time for more information on the services we provide.