With frigid temperatures, it’s important to remember that while dogs may be covered in fur, they are just as vulnerable to the cold as humans. Frostbite is one of the biggest winter dangers for dogs. Here are a few things to know to keep Jack Frost from nipping too hard at Fido’s nose:
- What are some ways to guard against frostbite? Although some dogs have been bred to pull sleds for hundreds of frozen miles, most should really stay indoors when temperatures plunge. Know your dog’s limits and keep in mind that, as with people, canine tolerance to cold changes with age. For trips outside, consider coats, sweaters and booties.
- What are the signs of frostbite? Skin may get pale and turn a bluish gray. In extreme cases, there will be patches of blacked, dead skin. The frostbitten area may also feel cold or even brittle, painful and inflamed. Remember that signs of frostbite may take a few days to appear.
- What should you do if you think your dog has frostbite? First, get him into a warm, dry area as soon as possible, and wrap him in blankets fresh out of the dryer. Do not massage the frostbitten area or use any form of directed heat such as a hair dryer or heating pad. Warm water compresses or soaking can help, but make sure the water is warm, not hot (it should be about 104 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, comfortable to the touch). Then, get to a vet as soon as possible.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.
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