Sometimes a dog or cat may accidentally be left outside or become lost during a heavy snowstorm. Frostbite may result. Signs are flushed and reddened tissues, white or grayish tissues, evidence of shock and scaliness of skin and possible shedding of dead skin. The ears, paw pads and tail are more frequently affected.
Let's hope your pet never experiences frostbite. If the unthinkable happens, please remember - frozen tissues should never be rubbed. This causes additional tissue damage. Prompt veterinary treatment is needed. If this is not possible, warm the affected area rapidly by immersing in warm, never hot, water or by using warm, moist towels that are changed frequently. As soon as the affected tissues become flushed, discontinue warming. Gently dry the affected tissues and lightly cover with a clean, dry, non-adhering bandage.
A dog or cat who has suffered from frostbite should be protected from exposure to the cold. Frostbitten tissues are more susceptible to repeated freezing.
A final thought: Puppies, kittens and geriatric pets are especially vulnerable during harsh winter weather. Please give them extra attention. If you have any concerns about your pet's well-being and health during the cold months ahead, consult your veterinarian.