Have you ever scratched or petted your dog only to realize that their floppy ears were, quite literally, as cold as ice? Fear not, dear pet parent, as it’s not always a sign of bad things to come. Cool or cold ears in dogs are normal in almost all cases.
But sometimes it’s not normal and could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires veterinary attention. Why don’t we take a closer look?
Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet
- Possible Reasons for Cold Ears in Dogs
- How Can I Help Warm Up My Dogs Ears
- When Should I Consult a Veterinarian
- How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
Possible Reasons for Cold Ears in Dogs
The blood vessels in a dog's ears are close to the surface of the skin. When the ambient temperature is cold, the body may reduce blood flow to the extremities, including the ears, to conserve heat for vital organs. This can result in the ears feeling cooler to the touch. If your pet’s ears are cold when the weather is not cold, however, you could be looking at a circulatory issue. You’ll need to look at a wide range of symptoms, so monitoring their behaviors using pet tech, such as a Petcube Camera, will help to give you a bigger picture.
Some breeds are more prone to having cold dog ears due to their anatomy. For example, dogs with thin or large ears may feel cooler to the touch than those with smaller, more densely furred ears. Studies show that smaller dogs experience cold ears more than others, such as Chihuahuas; alongside long-eared breeds, such as Basset Hounds; and thin and lean dogs, such as Whippets and Greyhounds. Older dogs also suffer more, as do underweight dogs.
Possible medical reasons for cold ears in dogs include:
- Cardiovascular (heart) conditions;
- Autoimmune diseases;
- Neurological conditions;
- Malnutrition or weight loss;
- Ear infections (rarely).
If you notice any other symptoms along with your dog’s cold ears, the chances of your pet having an underlying medical condition increase. For example, if you notice on your Petcube Camera that, alongside cold ears, your dog is lethargic, it’s time to make an appointment with a vet.
Important symptoms you should look out for alongside cold ears include:
- Changes to eating or drinking habits;
- No interest in walks, toys, or regular hobbies;
- Sleeping more than usual;
- Being more vocal than usual;
- Losing or gaining weight;
- Changes to toilet habits or materials.
How Can I Help Warm Up My Dogs Ears
There are tricks you can use to warm up your dog’s ears, but you must first remove your pup from the cold environment. If they’re outside, bring them inside. If the home is cold, turn the heating on. Hot water bottles (well-covered or wrapped), heated bedding, and heat pads are all options but don’t underestimate the importance of a cozy bed with lots of blankets or layers.
Doggy coats are great for warmth during walks on cold days, and if your pet allows it, doggy sweaters are great for indoor use. Vets also recommend letting your dog’s coat grow a bit longer over the winter period, particularly around the ears. Fur is meant to keep your pet warm, after all.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s cold ears or if the issue persists despite your warming efforts, you must consult with a veterinarian.
When Should I Consult a Veterinarian
While a slightly cool temperature in a dog's ears is often normal, it's essential to pay attention to other signs of health and well-being. If a dog's ears are excessively cold, or if there are other concerning symptoms such as lethargy, changes in behavior, or signs of illness, it's time to consult with a veterinarian. Extremely cold ears, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, could potentially indicate a circulation issue or other health concerns that need attention.
How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
In rare cases, a dog with cold ears is in an emergency requiring urgent medical attention. Hypothermia, for example, can cause mobility issues, appetite issues, fainting spells or collapses, a coma, and even death.
Thankfully, emergency pet situations are exactly what the Emergency Fund from Petcube has been designed for. Alongside veterinary assistance and advice around the clock, the Fund also provides up to $3,000 of emergency care for up to six pets in your household, all for less than $1 per day. Peace of mind has never come at such a perfect price!
Even better yet, you can get an additional 27% off this great price by following this link. Consider it a big thank you from Petcube for being a loyal blog reader.
What does it mean when a dog has cold ears and is vomiting?
Vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, dehydration, depression, a fever, lethargy, no interest in food or toys, and other unusual behaviors are common symptoms of parvovirus in dogs. It attacks rapidly dividing cells, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, and lymphoid tissues, and it can be severe and potentially fatal, especially in young or unvaccinated dogs.
Can you tell if a dog is cold by their ears?
While feeling a dog's ears can provide some clues about their body temperature, it's not the most reliable method for determining if a dog is cold. It is actually normal for a dog's ears to feel cooler than their core body temperature because they have a network of blood vessels in their ears that helps regulate their body temperature. In colder conditions, blood flow to the ears is often reduced to conserve heat for the vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Although it is pretty normal for your dog’s ears to feel a little cold, it’s not normal to have persistent coldness or extreme coldness. They are both signs of something more serious that likely requires medical intervention and treatment. The sooner you have a chat with a vet, the quicker you can get your pampered pooch back to full health!
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