Extreme Cold and Your Dogs

The Midwest is experiencing record low temperatures this Week. The wind chills will be between -30 and -60 degrees! There is much information on how to protect ourselves in the extreme cold, but we want to stress the importance of animal safety in the extreme cold. According to the NWS chart below, we will be reaching temperatures that can cause frostbite in under 5 minutes! If that’s how soon our bodies can experience frostbite, just imagine how quickly a dog’s wet nose or thin ears will be affected.

 

In the weather we are experiencing, we recommend for your pets not to be left outside, exposed to the weather for any more than 5 minutes at a time. If you have a dog who tends to lollygag outside when eliminating, it may be a proper time to leash the dog for potty so you can bring the dog back in as necessary. Your dog should only be exposed for as long as it takes to go potty and come immediately back in. Exposure to this weather can easily give your pet frostbite or hypothermia, which occurs when the body is no longer able to maintain normal temperature. 

Symptoms of hypothermia include range from weakness and shivering to inaudible heartbeat and trouble breathing. If you think your dog has hypothermia, you can place warm water bottles, blankets, and even a heating pad (with many layers of fabric between it and the dog so as not to burn the dog) to bring body temperature up, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Frostbite will typically make your dog’s skin pink, pale, or blue, but watch for any discoloration, especially on the dog’s pads. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, DO NOT attempt to rub or squeeze the affected area as this can cause more damage. You can place the affected area in tepid water (NOT HOT) to slowly help it return to temperature, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

The best course of action in extreme cold weather is prevention. Don’t allow your dog to remain in extreme cols, place dog boots on your dog, utilize coats, sweaters, and musher’s secret (a protective balm) on your dogs. Enjoy the days in and use this time to get some extra snuggles with your pets. They’ll be happy to have your companionship and will share their body warmth with you!