3 Common Winter Pet Emergencies

Winter snowfalls and icy roads may be beautiful from the comfort of your warm home, but they pose a significant risk to your pet. Cats and dogs will still go outside during the colder months to relieve themselves, play, and explore, and the harsh climate can quickly become dangerous. Here are several common winter pet emergencies to look out for. 


Hypothermia is a low body temperature resulting from significant time spent in extremely cold conditions. A dog’s average body temperature should remain around 101 F to 102.5 F, and a cat’s body temperature should be between 100.5 F and 102.5 F. Anything below these temperatures is classified as hypothermia and requires emergency care, as hypothermia can lead to a coma or organ failure when left untreated. Symptoms of hypothermia include paleness of skin, excessive shivering, and lethargy. 


A frostbite is a form of tissue damage caused by cold weather. A pet generally develops frostbite on their ears, toes, or tail. The signs your pet has frostbite may appear mild such as pale, hard skin that becomes red or swollen when warmed, or they may be more severe with blisters, progressive skin darkening, and even the development of gangrene. Frostbite often occurs alongside hypothermia; therefore, it’s essential to contact your local veterinarian at the first sight of symptoms. 

Chemical Poisoning 

During the icy months, we tend to utilize more chemicals to facilitate daily activities, such as antifreeze, rock salts, or other snow and ice-melting tools. However, these harsh chemicals can be dangerous to your pet. They are skin irritants that can lead to poisoning when ingested. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and unstable mobility, and can quickly escalate to seizures and a coma if not treated by a professional immediately. 

Contact your local emergency veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have fallen victim to one of winter’s many dangers.

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