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Frostbite in dogs: prevention, symptoms and first aid

Unlike their wild and stray counterparts, domestic dogs are more sensitive to the cold. Our pets spend most of their lives indoors at room temperature, so their immunity and resistance to cold is reduced.

Any dog can catch a cold, but different breeds have different sensitivities to cold. Dogs of ornamental breeds and shorthaired dogs (Bull Terriers, Boxers, Dachshunds, etc.) are the most affected by cold temperatures in winter. Breeds with long, dense coats, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Chow-Cheese, are the least susceptible. However, regardless of the breed of your pet, prolonged exposure to the outdoors in winter is not desirable in any case.

How to prevent frostbite

– Hardening is just as relevant and beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. Do not pamper your pet. Adequate exercise at low temperatures from a young age will make even short-haired dogs less susceptible to cold.

– Winter diets should be more calorific, especially for dogs kept in in an aviary or outdoors.

– The dog must have enough fresh water. Snow is not a substitute for water.

– Walks in winter should be shorter than in the warmer seasons and more active – with games, romps and jumps. If it is windy, shorten walks – wind promotes colds.

– Do not leave your dog in the car in winter. If the engine is switched off, the dog can catch cold and if the engine is running, it can get poisoned by tar.

– Sensitive dogs should be introduced to winter walks gradually, starting with 10-15 minutes and gradually increasing the amount of time they are outdoors.

– Do not allow your dog to lie or sit for long periods of time in the snow, on the ground or on the kerb.

– If your pet gets very cold, buy a bib or vest. The most important thing is to protect the kidneys and urogenital organs, which are the first to be affected by the cold.

– If the paws get very cold, buy special footwear to protect the paws not only from the cold but also from the harmful agents that litter the roads of big cities. For coldsA special cream can be used to apply to the paw pads as a phylactic during extreme cold.

– Sick and old dogs, nursing and pregnant females and young puppies are most likely to catch colds.

– If the dog is kept outside, prepare the way in advance.

– The dog’s bed in the house should be located away from heating appliances and draughts, raised 8-10 cm above the floor.

Signs of frostbite:

the dog shakes and raises its paws during walks, the coat becomes matted;
body temperature drops below 37,5C;
the mucous membrane of the mouth turns white;
the animal tries to curl up into a ball and hide in a warm place.

Signs of severe frostbite (hypothermia):

body temperature drops below 36C;

confusion, sluggishness, sometimes unconsciousness;
weak pulse;
rare heartbeat;
infrequent and shallow breathing.

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