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Pet Winter Safety: Prepping Your Pet for Winter Weather

When the weather outside is frightful, these winter pet tips can keep your precious pets snug, safe, and warm.

Pet Winter Safety: Know the Signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite continued...

The best way to manage hypothermia is to avoid it. Always provide warm, dry shelter for pets when they're outdoors.

Frostbite Signs in Dogs and Cats

Frostbite happens when a part of your pet's body freezes. For cats, that may involve the paws, tail, or ears; for dogs, the tail, ears, foot pads, or scrotum. Severe winter weather, especially when windy or humid, can lead to frostbite. Watch for:

  • pale, gray, or blue skin at first
  • red, puffy skin later
  • pain in ears, tail, or paws when touched
  • skin that stays cold
  • shriveled skin

Frostbite Treatment

  • Apply warm (not hot) water for at least 20 minutes to the frostbitten area. Do not use hair dryers, heating pads, or electric blankets to warm up a frostbitten pet as this may cause burns.
  • Handle the affected areas very carefully; don't rub or massage them as you could cause permanent damage.
  • Call your vet immediately.

It doesn't take much to keep our pets safe when things get frosty. Just like us, our feline and canine friends need shelter, warmth, food, and care. When winter's chill sends you scurrying indoors, don't forget your furry four-footed pals and their simple needs this season.

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Reviewed on March 30, 2011

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