Activities For Dogs With Frostbite

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Introduction

It’s finally snowing - you can’t wait to enjoy each and every winter festivity with your furry friend! And who can blame you? You put on your jacket, shoes, and gloves and you’re good to go because the cold can harm neither you nor your dog. But that’s where you are mistaken. If the temperature goes below 0 (degrees Centigrade), that is, below 32 (degrees Fahrenheit), in spite of their sleek and warm fur, some dogs just cannot handle such extreme cold. Sure, it may seem that your Labrador Retriever is gifted with suitable devices for resisting freezing cold weather, water, ice, you name it, but owners often forget that prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures may impact peripheral body parts such as the ears, nose, paws, tail, nipples, and scrotum. 

Frostbite Examination

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
3 - 5 min
Items needed
Watchful pair of eyes
Leash
Activity description

The most important thing when it comes to frostbite (also known as congelation) is to keep in mind it could take up to several days to manifest after exposure to severe temperatures and situations. With that in mind, always make sure to pay attention to your dog and their possible post-reaction. Frostbite often comes hand in hand with hypothermia, and in the following steps, we will describe in detail what to look for in order to be sure that your dog is, in fact, suffering from frostbite. In order to prevent dire consequences, this examination should be a part of your routine, in addition to necessary awareness and protection when you expose your dog to cold weather. 

Step
1
Look closely
There are tell-tale signs that you may be dealing with frostbite – firstly, obvious pain and frustration that your dog seems to feel, especially when touched. If it’s accompanied by redness and/or inflammation, and then discoloration of the flesh, which can range from pale discoloration to blackened or dead flesh - these are typical symptoms of a frostbite.
Step
2
See the signs
You know how to spot initial symptoms of frostbite. Just in case, we will list what severe damage to the tissue and other symptoms look like, but we are certain you cannot misinterpret or fail to notice such serious damage. So, if your dog’s skin happens to be dark blue, or in the worst case scenario, black, if you notice dead skin that is peeling over a period of several days or weeks, or if you notice pus and a foul smell – yes, that’s frostbite alright.
Step
3
Take action!
Beside these surface symptoms, extremely cold temperatures may influence your dog’s organs and bodily functions. Shallow, heavy breathing, lethargy or inability to move, excessive shivering – no, your dog is not possessed by a demon, it’s hypothermia. Accompanied by the freezing and destruction of tissue, that is, frostbite, this can be an undeniable indicator that you need to take action and obtain treatment for your pet immediately.
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Warm Up

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Cold Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 20 min
Items needed
blankets
hot water bottles
towels
warm compresses
Activity description

If you estimate that your dog does need professional care and that your dog’s condition isn’t to be taken lightly (which is always a highly recommended approach), there are several things you could do to help your dog at your home or on the way to the veterinarian. First of all, even though it’s obvious, we will still stress the importance of raising your dog’s body temperature. If you do this properly and if the damages are not that severe to begin with, your dog will recover within a few days and their wounds will heal almost without a single mark of trauma. 

Step
1
Warm doggo
The most efficient way to raise your dog’s body temperature is to grab all things warm – warm blankets, towels with hot water bottles rolled in them, and warm water compresses. Soak the area in question with warm water in a dry, warm room. Have you noticed the frequency of the word warm? That’s because you must avoid hot water and temperatures at all costs.
Step
2
Go slow
Once you notice that the frostbite-stricken area is beginning to become warm – your poor doggo is on their way to recovery. Be sure to keep the process of warming slow, because anything that is too invasive, hot, or rash can do more harm than good. Therefore avoid putting anything hot directly to the damaged skin or tissue, and this includes hair-dryers and heaters. Also, do not touch, massage, or rub the wound. Head to the veterinary hospital without delay.
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Shop Till You Drop

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Any Day
Expensive
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
pet shop
leash
yarn
needles
Activity description

After this traumatic experience, you and your dog need to overcome this event and prevent future instances of frostbite. Turn shopping into a healing experience – you get to pick out doggy clothes and accessories, and your dog gets to socialize and sniff around. Be sure to buy all necessary clothing items, especially if your dog is small, has short hair, or is not that resilient when it comes to cold weather. So, jumpers, shoes, socks, jackets, a mackintosh, coats – it will all help your dog maintain body temperature in the winter months. Remember the old saying: better safe than sorry. 

Step
1
Shopaholic anonymous
Time to get fashionable! Visit your local pet shop and try to find the most stylish clothes for your lovely fashion icon. Browse until you find something that suits your doggo perfectly, and don't be afraid to ask for help from other dog owners. While you two are chatting, your dogs can become friends too!
Step
2
DIY Royals
If you find shopping for scarves for your dog redundant or expensive, there are other possibilities too. Basically, you don’t have to rely on fabricated and pret-a-porter clothing – you can do it yourself. Who knows, you may be the canine Yves Saint Laurent in the making! Grab yarn and needles, and knit away, designing your own scarf to prevent the frostbite!
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More Fun Ideas...

Bootie Pattootie

You should be persistent and never give up on making your dog wear boots. So be sure to practice at home, and resist the urge to take them off. Make it into a fun game of catwalk, or chase your doggo around the house while wearing them. It will surely make them feel more comfortable wearing shoes!

Home Workout

If your dog’s energy level demands long walks, you may consider thinking up ways of doing exercise indoors when the temperature is too low to spend too much time outside.

Conclusion

The important thing you should be aware at all times as a conscientious dog owner is the fact that however resilient your dog may seem, you should never underestimate the detrimental effect extremely cold weather can have on your dog’s health. Frostbite can end in serious surgical interventions, amputation, even coma and death - and that is something you should avoid at all costs.