Frostbite in dogs: symptoms, first aid and prevention

How to recognize frostbite or frostbite in dogs? How to react if necessary and how to avoid them?

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How to recognize frostbite or frostbite in dogs?

When a dog suffers from frostbite, his skin becomes very pale and takes on a white-bluish tint due to a strong slowing down or even a stoppage of blood circulation. The affected area may become totally numb and numb from the action of the cold.

As the area heats up and blood circulation recovers, the skin becomes red and swollen. The dog then feels itchy and tingling.

If the blood vessels have been irreparably damaged by the cold, the affected tissues may turn black, a sign of necrosis, that is to say tissue destruction. We then no longer speak of frostbite but of frostbite.

What care should be given to the dog in case of frostbite?

If your dog is a victim of frostbite when returning from a cold outing, it is important to act very quickly by following the following steps:

  • Heat a towel or blanket over a radiator or using a manual hair dryer. Do not heat the dog directly with the hair dryer or other heat source.
  • Apply the warm fabric to the affected areas. Do not wrap the towel or blanket around areas affected by frostbite or apply friction as this may aggravate the damage.
  • As your pet warms up, their blood circulation will recover and your pet's skin will return to a normal color. Remember to dry your pet's coat well.

If areas exposed to cold remain pale or turn rather dark, see your veterinarian immediately. We must act quickly to avoid frostbite and prevent the irreparable destruction of the tissues concerned.

But, in any case, it is always recommended to consult a veterinarian to make sure that there is no other damage and that no further treatment is necessary.

How to prevent frostbite in dogs?

Chilblains in dogs can be prevented by avoiding prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. During extreme cold, reduce the duration of your pet's daily walks. This is especially important if your dog has diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions that impair blood circulation that increase the risk of frostbite in dogs. Dogs with these chronic conditions should not be exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time.

Also remember to carefully dry your dog's paws and pads each time you return from a walk when the weather is cold and wet.If your dog reports small clumps of snow in his coat, remove them by soaking your dog's paws in lukewarm water that should not exceed 32°C and then dry them carefully. Thoroughly inspect the dog's entire body looking for irritated, very cold areas.

You can also protect your dog from the cold by equipping it with a special coat and boots. If your dog can't stand these, protect his pads from biting the cold by regularly applying a tanning solution.

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