Cold Weather Tips for Your Pet-#DrDonDeForge

The Silver Sands Veterinary Network
Milford Veterinary Hospital-Our General Care on-site Companion Animal Practic
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 House Calls for Pets
 The New England and NY Animal Dentistry Health Services/Centers for Oral Care
Donald H. DeForge, VMD-Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry

Cold Weather Tips for the Pet You Love
#DrDonDeForge  11Nov2017

Image result for Picture of child and dog playing in the snow

Winter is just a few weeks away.....Fall has passed so quickly.  Cold weather brings great fun for kids and pets outdoors!

With all of this fun comes problems if simple concepts of Winter safety are not followed.
Two problems faced by veterinarians each year during the "cold sub-freezing" days of Winter are hypothermia-[low body temperature that can lead to shock]-and frostbite.

Hypothermia can set in very quickly in old and debilitated animals left outdoors for just a few moments in frigid temperatures with strong winds.  But don't think that hypothermia is a problem only of the old and weak.  Young vital dogs and cats....and yes....puppies and kittens can develop hypothermia also if exposed to these very cold situations.

Signs of Pet Hypothermia:
Muscle twitching
Difficulty breathing
Weak pulses-learn from your local animal doctor how to feel your dog or cats pulse in a healthy state and use that knowledge to feel and measure the pulse rate in an emergency situation such as hypothermia caused by very cold ambient temperatures.
Coma and loss of life

What to do in a Pet Hypothermia Emergency:
Wrap your pet in warm blankets-multiple layers of blankets
Do not utilize electric heaters or hair blow dryers
If you have soft rubber hot water bottles in the house-fill them with warm water and place them inside the warm blankets
Call your local Animal ER and transport to the ER immediately with the heater on in your car at maximum
Do not try to treat hypothermia on your own!!!!!
Moments loss are precious moments when a pet is in shock!!!!!

Frostbite in Pets-all to common and an avoidable emergency!

Frostbite is serious and can lead to loss of toes or the paw itself if not identified and treated.

The Signs of Pet Frostbite are Classic:
Pale gray, yellow, white, or blue toes or digits or skin between the toes
Swollen or wrinkled toes or digits or skin between the toes
Redness to the skin between the toes
Skin of the toes becoming shriveled or appearing to be cracked or blistered
Bleeding from the toes; around the pads; or to the skin above and below the toes

Emergency Treatment for Frostbite in Pets:
First do not rub the area-be gentle with all suspect frostbite areas
Use a warm wash cloth-not hot-on the suspected frost bite area-2 minutes on and 2 minutes off-very gently handling the suspected frostbite zone!
Never use any type of blower or heating device on a suspected frostbite area
Call your local Animal ER and transport immediately if frostbite is suspected
Your advocacy and contact with a trained Animal ER doctor is essential to recovery and prevention of any loss of a toe[s] or even the distal paw itself
If your local LDVM is open....... call and follow their advice on ER transfer or a visit to your primary care veterinarian as the first stop in care. 
Remember frostbite affects not only the feet but the tails and ear margins.  

Other Winter Tips from Dr. DeForge:

Have a safe Winter and become your pet's advocate for fun in the snow and outdoors.. Do not take your pet on frozen ice surfaces without having ice protecting booties on for safety. These are easily purchased on the Internet. Bring your pet indoors frequently for a break when playing outdoors as a warm up safety measure..  Clean the ice between the toes when bringing inside.. When taking for walks, be sure to clean the feet after returning from sites where chemical ice melts have been placed by neighbors and local and state vehicles. Be sure to buy an ice melt that is labeled pet safe when using it around your home and on your porches, steps, driveway, and walks.


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