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What if Your Dog Gets Frostbite? This is What to Do

We talked about how to keep tails wagging through winter, but what do you do if you suspect your dog has gotten over-chilled?

First, call your veterinary emergency hospital immediately and tell them you are on your way. Have someone warm up the car while you warm up some towels. Place dry towels in the clothes dryer for a couple of minutes before making a cocoon around your dog. Off you go!

If you are not close to an emergency clinic, you may take additional measures while talking to the emergency hospital staff. Run warm water in the tub to “bath-water temperature” (NOT TOO HOT!).  You should be able to place your hand in the water comfortably. Soak the dog in the warm water or place warm compresses on his feet, tail, and ears for a few minutes. Then carefully pat the dog dry and wrap him in the dryer-warmed towel.

Remember that warming is good, but can be painful. As tissues begin to thaw they may hurt, so be gentle when drying your dog and avoid rubbing or massaging the areas. And never give your dog a human pain medication. It can be poisonous!

Even if you successfully warm up your dog, you should see your veterinarian because symptoms of frostbite may take days to appear.

Prompt and appropriate intervention can help your dog avoid permanent damage from frostbite. So until springtime comes, be on the alert and keep those “puppies” warm!