Frostbite in dogs

Frostbite occurs when a part of the body freezes. It often accompanies hypothermia. Frostbite tends to involve the tail, ear tips, pads of the feet, and scrotum. These parts are the most exposed and least protected by fur. Frostbitten skin is pale white or blue. As circulation returns, it becomes red and swollen and may begin to peel. Eventually it looks black with a line of demarcation between live and dead tissue. Dead skin and tissue separates from the body in one to three weeks.

Treatment: Apply warm (not hot) water soaks to the frostbitten part for 20 minutes, or until the tissue becomes flushed. Never use snow or ice; tissue damage is made much more severe if thawing is followed by refreezing. Do not rub or massage the affected parts. Handle them carefully. Take your dog to a veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment. Note that as sensation returns, frostbitten parts can be painful. Prevent the dog from biting at the skin and inflicting further injury using the restraint techniques described in Handling and Restraint. The total extent of damage may not be apparent for a week or more.