frostbite in dogs

How to deal with frostbite in dogs

What is Frostbite?

During extreme cold environmental conditions, when the temperature falls below 32ºF (0ºC), in response to these harsh conditions, the dog’s blood vessels close to their skin shrink, so decreasing the flow of blood to other body parts to maintain the core body temperature. The low blood flow to specific areas causes sometimes mild or serious injuries and tissue damage that are known as frostbite in dogs.


Causes of Frostbite:

Responsive body mechanism of dog’s cause frostbite when they are exposed to extreme cold and low temperature. Usually within thirty minutes, if we expose a dog to cold, the frostbite seems to appear on its skin.


Areas susceptible to frostbite

The paws, ears, and tail are the parts more exposed, so more susceptible to damage and cause frostbite. Most areas and organs away from the heart cause frostbite because of low blood supply.


Clinical signs and symptoms of frostbite in dogs:

  1. Swelling of the affected area changes the color of that area from normal skin color.
  2. The brittle and rough skin of the affected part
  3. It may form bristles on that part
  4. Mild or complete tissue damage
  5. Pain in that area

Diagnosis and treatment of frostbite in dogs:

According to Nancy Bernard, who is the owner of the best Dog Walking Companies in San Francisco, CA “If it damages the external skin tissues, then it can be seen only through physical examination, but once you come to know that your dog is exposed to cold, then some urine and blood tests are required to diagnose any damage to their internal tissues and organs.”


At home:

Once you came to know that your dog is affected, then before reaching your pet specialist clinic, the first step is to place your dog in a dry and warm area from a cold one. At home, you can follow any of the below-mentioned steps:

  • Dry that area and try to increase the temperature of the body by increasing environmental temperature.
  • Wrap a dry towel on the body of the dog or warm water bottles wrapped in a towel, so that body temperature can be increased.
  • Don’t apply directly warm air from the hair dryer to the affected area.
  • Never apply warm water directly to the affected area this causes more damage to tissues.
  • Try to maintain a warm temperature in the dogs’ surroundings and avoid temperature fluctuations.

Clinical Treatment:

You must wrap the dog in a warm blanket or towel to reach the veterinarian clinic. After the first examination, the type of treatment would be suggested. In mild damage, after some time the affected part heals with a small mark on the skin. In severe damage, the healing of the injured part is not possible through medicines, and surgical amputation is required to remove that part or tissue from the body. While the veterinarian suggested painkillers and antibiotics.


Recovery and prevention of frostbite in dogs:

If normal tissue damage, then healing, is easy through medication, but if they performed surgery, then home care would be suggested by a veterinarian, and recovery time will be prolonged.

Prevention from frostbite includes avoiding a decrease in temperature from 32ºF and if the temperature is more cold, then a dog coat or blanket can keep your dog safe.