How to Notice Frostbite on a Dog or Cat

How to Notice Frostbite on a Dog or Cat

Old man winter comes with dangers for animals.

Cats, dogs and other pets can be subject to frostbite in the cold months, a freezing of the tissues that happens after long periods of exposure to the elements.

So how do you spot the signs and symptoms of frostbite and what do you do about it? We break it down so you can easily identify if your pet may be suffering from this condition and how to help.

Information is courtesy of Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid.

Signs of frostbite

Check for scaly skin, especially on parts of the animal that are sparsely covered in fur. For cats, this would be the tip of the ears, tail, and footpads. When it comes to dogs, think about areas such as the scrotum, teats, ears, tail, and feet.

Ice crystals may form on the skin if exposed to the extreme cold. Do a head to toe check of your pet to make sure no crystals have started to appear.

It’s important to always examine your animal’s skin texture, especially so you can easily identify when something is amiss.

Be cognizant of a leathery feel of the skin or a whitened, waxy appearance to tissues after Fido or Whiskers has been outside. Fluid-filled blisters is also another sign your pet might be exhibiting signs of frostbite.

Action plan to heal frostbite

If you think your pet has frostbite, first, handle your animal very carefully and move him or her inside or to a proper shelter. If you can, wrap up your furry friend in a blanket to warm them up slowly.

One option is to immerse affected body parts in warm water until the tissues become flushed. The temperature of the water should be 39 to 44 degrees Celsius (102.2 to 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

The best way to deal with frostbite is to bring in your pet to the veterinarian for examination. Thawing frozen body parts is a very painful process and one that is best done under medical sedation.

Frostbite, alongside hypothermia, are two dangerous conditions that can result in sickness and even death. We hope these guidelines will help you identify frostbite and help to alleviate some of its symptoms.


Stay warm this winter and make sure your fur babies stay the same. Prevent frostbite and other weather-related conditions by being alert and watchful for signs.

How do you keep your pets warm in the winter? Let us know in the comment section below.

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