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Keeping your pets safe from frostbite this winter

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Rochester: Keeping your pets safe from frostbite this winter
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Despite having fur, cats and dogs are not resistant to frostbite. In this edition of Pet Pointers, YNN's Lisa Chelenza tells you how to prevent frostbite on your pet.

Areas damaged by frostbite at first appear normal, but within 48 hours the damaged tissue will swell and become painful. Within seven days the affected tissue dries up and turns black. It will eventually fall off 20 to 30 days later.

If you notice your pet licking their paws, take a peek and check for damage that could be a sign of frostbite.

If you think your dog has frostbite, you can gently try to thaw the frozen tissues with warm water. Do not rub the area and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. The amount of tissue damage will need to be assessed over several days.

Your vet may have to surgically remove dead tissue and prescribe pain relief medication and antibiotics. Some breeds of dog are born to live in colder temperatures, but even they can get frostbite.

Certain small breeds and thin coated dogs are more sensitive, and have no tolerance for the cold. Even a short visit outside to do their business is all it can take for a little Chihuahua’s paws to freeze. Giving your small dog or thin coated breed a cover up or booties may help keep out the cold.

Some of the most sensitive body parts can’t be covered effectively. Their ears, tail, genitalia and paw pads are most often affected by frostbite. Be sure to keep it short when it’s cold and windy, and when it’s time to go out to do their business.

Cats are very sensitive to the cold and won’t want to stay out for long when it’s very cold, windy or damp.

The best way to avoid frostbite is to not leave your pets outside in the cold. Dogs love nothing more than to be with you on a warm cozy couch.

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