Can dogs get frostbite? Helpful tips to keep your dog safe and happy

The simple answer is yes, dogs can get frostbite, just like humans. Just because your dog has a warm fur coat, it doesn't mean that they are fully protected from the cold winter days.

Where is a dog more likely to get frostbite?

The most common places for dogs to get frostbite are the tips of their ears, the tips of their tails, and their paws. If a dog is wet or damp, these areas are more likely to get frostbite.

What are some signs that my dog has frostbite?

Some of the symptoms that your dog will get when he has frostbite are:

  • Discoloration of the skin. It will become pale, gray, bluish, or white. 
  • The area will be cold to the touch
  • The areas affected will become swollen
  • Your dog will have pain when you touch the affected areas
  • Blisters and skin ulcers
  • The affected skin will become blackened or dead

Some of these signs may take a few days to show up, especially if the affected areas are small. Areas with severe frostbite will become necrotic or die. When the tissue starts to die, it will change colors to a dark blue or black. After a few days or weeks, it will slough or fall off. Sometimes, a secondary bacterial infection can start off, so pus may form or a smell may start, if not taken care of it on time. 

How do I treat my dog's frostbite?

If you think your dog has frostbite, take your dog to the vet immediately. While you're able to do that:

  1. Move your dog to a warm, dry area as quickly as possible.
  2. Do not rub or massage the affected area. 
  3. If you think your dog is hypothermic, wrap him in warm blankets to bring their temperature back up. It can also be helpful to place hot water bottles wrapped in towels near his body.
  4. Use warm, not hot, water to slowly warm the affected area. The recommended water temperature is 104 to 108°F (40 to 42°C). Using hot water can cause more damage than not using any water.
  5. After the area has been warmed with water, you can pat him dry softly, do not rub the area.
  6. Keep your dog warm by wrapping him with dry towels or blankets as you get to the vet.    

Is my dog going to be okay?

The prognosis for frostbite will depend on the extent of your dog's injuries. 

  • Mild cases of frostbites usually will have a full recovery with little permanent damage.
  • Severe cases of frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration of the affected area.
  • Extreme cases of frostbite can result in amputation or surgical removal of the dead tissue

 What dogs are at most risk of frostbite?

These dogs are most susceptible to frostbite:

  • Small dogs
  • Puppies
  • Short-haired dogs
  • Senior dogs

What are some things I can do with my dog indoors?

Frostbite can be dangerous, even in 30-degree weather. So while we know that not taking your dog out isn't an option, make sure to keep an eye for all the signs we mentioned before when you're out for a walk. 

And if you're looking for ways to entertain your pup indoors, check out these 5 games you can play at home with him or a few other ideas of what you can do with your dog during the winter months

Stay safe everyone <3

Can my dog get frostbite?

I don't know if my dog has frostbite

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