Dogs have fur, but that doesn't mean they can withstand extremely cold temperatures. Dogs aren't supposed to be in the snow and cold for extended periods of time and should be given shelter and a place for warmth from the cold weather. If your dog has been out in the elements for too long, the extended exposure can result in frostbite or hypothermia. If you aren't sure of the signs of these issues, read below for a few and what you should do if you see your dog exhibiting these signs.
If your dog has frostbite, it isn't going to be able to tell you that a body part is numb, but you may be able to notice some signs of frostbite yourself if you pay close attention. Your dog may have bluish or grey skin tones if frostbite is present. Your dog may also have numbness in its limbs and could be exhibiting this symptom if it is limping or is unable to put any weight on any of its legs or paws. You may also notice that your dog has ulcers or sores on the body, which would indicate frostbite. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, you should get it to the veterinarian to be examined and treated. Give the dog a warm blanket to wrap it in and do your best to keep the dog as warm as possible.
Your dog may have hypothermia if it is showing signs of lameness, or an inability to move. It may also be unable to eat or drink and may be shivering uncontrollably. The dog may also have pale gums, or they may be blue or grey in color. The dog may also have shallow breathing and a low heart rate. If you suspect your dog is suffering from hypothermia, you need to get it to warmth immediately. Cover your dog with warm blankets and give it small amounts of water to drink when it can drink again. Get your dog to the veterinarian right away for other treatment that may be necessary as well. Your dog may need IV fluids that the veterinarian will need to provide, and could need other treatments as well.
If your dog has been out in the cold for an extended period of time and you think it may have suffered frostbit or hypothermia, it's important that you get it to the veterinarian right away for treatment. You need to keep a close eye on your pets during the cold winter months and limit exposure to the elements as much as you can to prevent these and other weather-related health issues.
To learn more information about signs of frostbite and hypothermia, reach out to companies such as Angel Pet Hospital