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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.