Cold weather safety
|January 3, 2012||Posted by woof2069 under Care + Health|
The first extreme cold weather alert came out today for Toronto..brrrrrrr! Even on our morning walk, There were a few moments when I felt like my face or nose might just freeze. And if my face feels that, imagine the dogs! They are out in the cold with a lot less on with a lot more exposed. Best to refresh myself on a bit of cold weather safety for my pooch.
I pulled out my book on pet first aid to give myself a refresher on what to be careful of in the cold winter season.
Here are some injuries that can result from cold:
Long exposure to cold can lead to frostbite. Basically, the tissue gets frozen and severely damaged. Most common places are ears, tails, feet, and scrotum.
Healthy and active dogs of breeds conditioned to the cold are usually fine (not something I’d imagine a St. Bernard really needs to worry about), but owners of smaller dogs with less coat or sparse hair should pay a more attention while out in the cold.
- Scaling of the skin
- Leathery feel to skin
- Whitened, waxy appearance to tissue
- Handle very carefully and warm up slowly.
- Bring dog inside or to a shelter and wrap in blanket
- Immerse affected area in warm water until tissue becomes flushed and normal
- If part is frozen, take to vet immediately for medical attention. Thawing can be extremely painful. This level of damage should be treated by a veterinarian.
- Limit outdoor exposure
- If playing at off leash parks, frequent check on at risk areas. Call your dog back (this is when good recall command is useful), and inspect your dog carefully.
Hypothermia happens when the body is losing more heat than it can replace. For a dog, that is lowering of the core body temperature below 37 degrees Celsius. The body will pull heat from the extremities to the core in order to keep the internal organs functioning. That’s when bad frostbite happens, and organs may begin to shut down. We don’t want that.
- Stiff muscles
- Cold to touch
- Frozen extremities
- Lethargic, slowed movements
- Lack of coordination
- Bring dog indoors or to a shelter immediately!
- If dog is wet, dry them as best you can
- Check and treat frostbite where possible
- Warm with blankets, towels, heated pads, body heat, etc.
- Get to veterinarian immediately
- Not a common injury but if you suspect your dog is cold or it is too cold out, limit outdoor exposure.
- Warm dog clothes! While many can look silly and over the top, find one that fits properly and provide good protection