Frostbite in Dogs

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Frostbite in Dogs
8
Fri, 01-18-2013 - 10:40am

With all the freezing cold weather, I thought this might be a good article to post.  I know none of us would ever allow our dogs to remain outside at night when it could get to freezing temperatures but if you live somewhere where there is constant snow and you walk your dogs in it, this article might come in handy.

Overview

Frostbite is injury to tissue that occurs when an animal is exposed to freezing temperatures accompanied by high winds. The primary areas that are affected include the feet, tail and tips of the ears.

The body responds to exposure to cold temperatures by reducing blood flow to the outer parts of the body. This preserves blood flow to the vital internal organs. The diversion of blood increases the chances frostbite in the ears, tail and toes. Without proper blood flow, these body parts are lacking in oxygen and warmth. Ice crystals can form in the body tissues, which can result in tissue death. Unfortunately, frostbite injury is not immediately apparent. It may take several days before you notice the signs of frostbite injury.

What to Watch For

Skin discoloration on the ears, tail and toes
Pain and swelling
Blisters
Sloughing of skin
Skin ulcers

Treatment

Initially, remove your dog from the freezing environment and begin to slowly re-warm the affected tissues. Bandages may be applied to reduce damage to the tissues as they are re-warmed. Do not place the animal in hot water.

Wounds may need to be cleaned. Your veterinarian will also provide antibiotic therapy and pain relief. In severe cases, amputation of the affected area may be required to prevent further infection and the development of gangrene.

Home Care and Prevention

Removing the dog from the freezing environment is crucial. Re-warm the affected tissues in warm water (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 20 minutes, but do not rub or massage the affected areas. This can cause significant damage to the frostbitten tissues. After initial treatment, call your veterinarian for treatment to prevent infection and treat for pain.

To prevent frostbite, keep your dog protected from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Limit the amount of time you allow your dog outdoors. Once indoors, keep your dog warm. Pay particular attention to the ears, tail and feet.

 

 

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 6:51am
Jackson and Joplin - love those names!!
Avatar for dellablues
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2013
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 8:38pm

hey ... sorry it has taken me so long to reply... the lab is Jackson he is about 100 lbs so not to concerned... but just thought i would ask.  we also have Joplin, she is a American Steffenshire bull mix.  she is about 40 lbs.  i usually have to watch her more closely as she has very little in the way of hair. 

looking forward to keeping in better touch

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Sat, 01-26-2013 - 12:36pm

Hi and Welcome to Popular Dog Breeds!  I'm so glad you found us here.  My name is Donna and I own a black Greyhound named Dante.  What is your Lab's name?  I wouldn't worry too much him wanting to run around in the snow.  15 minutes isn't that bad and Labs are double-coated and also have oily hair which is great for keeping the moisture off their skin.  What you might want to do though is make sure you keep his feet clean and dry every time he comes in just so nothing gets stuck in his paws.  We're looking foward to hearing more about your Lab!

 

Avatar for dellablues
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2013
Fri, 01-25-2013 - 7:58pm

good evening,

i am new to iVillage, so hello there! 

my lab wants to go out ALL the time, and we live in Indiana.  he just goes out runs around in the snow for about 15 minutes and then comes back in... but i worry about him being out there so much... it seems he wants to go out every 2 hours.  i think he is just bored staying inside.. should i worry?

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 6:40am
Hi Josie and welcome to the Popular Dog Breeds board! I'm not that familiar with cold and snow living in Arizona but you might look into boots for Rudi to protect her feet. I wouldn't stay out too long regardless and when you bring her in, make sure you dry her thoroughly and especially her paws and in between her toes! I love Doxies by the way! Is Rudi a mini or full sized Doxie?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2000
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 4:39pm

I booted Jester in the winter.  I picked up a set of waterproof booties with two velcro straps at a craft fair.   Cost = $10.  They went on easily and allowed plenty of room for those long greyhound toenails.  And they were blaze orange so if they came off outside in the snow, I could find them. 

I figure that if I'm cold and uncomfortable, it goes for my dog as well.  I never left them out for more than a few minutes when it's cold.

Barbara

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-1999
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 4:47am

Hi,  this is very timely as I live in central Ohio and suppose to get very cold again.   I wonder if there is a guideline of how low of a temp and I shouldn't walk Rudi, my almost 2yr old short haired dachshund.   I know under 20 and I wouldn't, but should I be walking her in the 20s??    I have a sweater I put on her when we walk and when we pee, don't stay out long.   In the snow she loves it and typically let her decide when enough is enough as she runs back for the door.

thanks for the info,  Josie

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Fri, 01-18-2013 - 4:58pm

Great information....I'm sure this is something few people think about.  Where I live now there's little chance of frostbite.....although we do get some really cold days during the Winter, it's rarely prolonged.  And snow is something that is rarely a major problem (although we did get a couple of inches last evening).

When we lived in NJ we did get many really bad snowstorms.  All my dogs, except for ^Samantha^, loved the snow....especially ^Valentine^.  I wouldn't allow them outside for too long...unless they were outside playing with DH or out there when he was shoveling.  When they came in I was sure to completely dry their paws and get any ice out from their fur.

Laura