Why are My Dogs Ears Cold? Here are the Real Reasons

Last Updated on June, 2024

Pup’s Ears Cold? Afraid? Confused? Need to know why???

Tap in your back! You clicked the right article.

Let’s decode those chilling truths in detail and turn those adorable listening devices warm!

Quick Summary

Cold ears can be caused by factors such as poor blood circulation, environmental influences, and health conditions.

Signs that your dog may be cold include shivering, tail tucking, seeking shelter, and teeth chattering.

It is important to monitor your dog’s temperature and consult a veterinarian if there are signs of discomfort. Providing a warm and cozy environment, appropriate clothing, and regular exercise can help keep your dog’s ears warm.

Why are Your Dog’s Ears Cold?

a human checking the dogs ear

Understanding why your dog’s ears are cold might be more than just about the weather.

Factors like blood circulation, environmental influences, health conditions, and your pup’s unique characteristics all contribute to those cold ears. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Blood Circulation

Blood circulation is the life force that balances your dog’s body temperature. See, your dog’s heart is a bit far from their ears. So, naturally, the blood takes time to reach there, which can turn out cold ears compared to other body parts.

However, there’s a twist! At times, issues with poor circulation can influence a dog’s cold ears simply as cold weather. Yep, frosty conditions can narrow down blood vessels, decreasing blood flow. Result? Cold ears.

So, to regulate those blood vessels and warm up those ears as dog parents, you must create a cozy environment for your puppy (more warming tips in a bit).

Now, to the CRITICAL ONE. Medical conditions such as hypovolemic shock caused by poor circulation, dehydration, and internal bleeding can mess with low blood flow in pups, leading to cold ears and clammy dog’s skin.

This could be life-threatening! If associated with a weak pulse or vomiting, immediately consult a veterinarian.

Environmental Influence

As humans, in cold temperatures, we constantly reach for a warm, cozy blanket. It applies to dogs, too! Not only Winter but wind, moisture, and humidity can all give your dog’s ears that cold touch.

Now, a little snow might seem harmless, but did you know prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to conditions such as frostbite? That’s when tissue damage happens, leading to swelling, bluish or gray skin, or even blisters (in severe cases, the skin can turn BLACK!).

In addition, if you have small dogs with recent surgeries or older dogs, they can be at risk of hypothermia or low body temperature due to FREEZING WEATHER. So, if your little friend is shivering, grab a digital thermometer (dog-friendly kind, of course). A body temperature below 99°F is a signal to vet time.

Other Factors

Age, Breed, and Size. Your pup’s age, breed, and size play a role in how those ears feel cold. For instance, take dog breeds like huskies. The naturally coated protective layer of hair and fur shields them from extreme weather conditions. On the other hand, tiny breeds with short fur, senior dogs, or any dog breed with cold intolerance need an extra layer of warmth and protection.

Anxiety or Stress. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, stress or anxiety can cause ears to chill. When your pup is stressed, blood pressure to their ears can drop, leading to feel cold ears. And It’s not only cold ears it can impact your pup’s overall well-being. So, keep an eye out for symptoms like trembling, pacing back and forth, or seeking a hiding spot. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I need a little help here.”

Infection or Inflammation. Got a pup with cold or floppy ears? Watch out for those ear infections, especially in Winter. More moisture can lead to infections, mainly if your puppy has allergies.

Keep their space clean and dry, particularly after snow. Why? Snow can sneak into a dog’s nose or ear canal, melt, and invite unwanted guests like bacteria and yeast. If you notice redness, swelling, or scratching, contact the nearest expert SOON.

Signs That Your Dog is Cold

a human covering both the dogs ears

Unlike us, our pups can’t verbally communicate how they feel discomfort, but their body language speaks volumes. So, as responsible dog owners, it’s essential to tune into those signals and physical sensations.

Here is what to watch for (If you notice any of the following, turn the heat on or grab a blanket).

  • Hunching over or tail tucking. If you spot tail tucking or hunching, it could be the chill. Watch out for excessive hunching or pained walking (It can be SERIOUS).
  • Shivering. Light shivers could be due to mild cold temperature, but more brutal shaking can signal vet time ASAP.
  • Whining, whimpering, or barking. Strange noises from your pup could mean their cry for assistance. It’s their way of saying WARM ME UP!
  • Appearing uncomfortable. This is obvious. It could be worth a look when your dog’s behavior is unusual or anxious.
  • Seeking shelter. Does your pup suddenly play hide and seek behind cozy spots or blankets? It’s a clear cue they’re trying to escape the chill. 
  • Teeth chattering. This is a classic sign that your dog needs some warmth.

What to Do About Dog Cold Ears?

A person wiping a dog's ears.

Now that you have spotted the causes and signs of cold dog ears, what’s the next move? Let’s explore the path to warm and cozy ears. 

Measure Your Pup’s Body Temperature

Checking your pup’s body temperature might seem daunting, but it’s vital to keep tabs on your dog’s health. A normal body temperature for a dog falls between 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C). This isn’t a standard based on your dog’s age, size, and breed; it varies accordingly. 

However, note that if the baseline temperature rises above 104°F (40.0°C) or falls below 99°F (37.2°C), this is a RED FLAG! At this point, speed-dial your vet ASAP.

“How on earth do I even measure body temperature?” Don’t worry! There are primarily two methods: rectal and ear measurements. 

The rectal method is the old-school approach, using a rectal thermometer. For many pet owners, using the ear option seems more manageable because of digital thermometer usage and less discomfort for the pup. Hey, and if you are not confident in doing this, leave it to the pros.

When to Visit the Vet

“Seeing my dog’s cold ears worries me. Should I rush to the vet immediately?” It’s a valid concern, but determining the emergency weighs on various factors we’ve discussed earlier.

If your dog’s ears feel cold due to mild cold weather outdoors, adding an extra layer of comfort and warmth might do the trick.

However, suppose your pup shows symptoms like intense shivering, hunching, tucking their tail, or any discomfort. In that case, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. These signs could indicate something MORE SERIOUS than just cold ears.

A vet will conduct physical examinations or blood tests to diagnose underlying issues causing the cold. The treatment procedure will differ in severe cases like hypothermia or frostbite and require immediate attention.

How to Warm Up Dog’s Cold Ears?

a human covering the dogs ears to keep them warm

Create a Warm and Cozy Environment

Your pup’s sleep zone matters! Ensure your dog sleeps in a dry, warm area with a cozy bed or heated pad with soft blankets. Consider placing the resting area in a draft-free spot to shield your furry pet from chilly air.

Also, maintain a comfortable home temperature by closing windows and doors to avoid exposure to drafts. Don’t leave those blind spots open as well. Limit outdoor strolls in freezing weather and replace them with fun indoor activities.

Oh, and don’t forget to check those cute ears regularly for signs of infection. Trim extra fur around the ear area to keep them dry. So cozy up your pup and watch those cold ears turn warm and fuzzy.

Choose Suitable Dog Clothing 

Just as you’d choose thick layers of comfort for frosty weather, your pup also deserves the warmth and protection of appropriate dog clothing. Dogs are naturally sensitive, and during chilly times, invest in well-fitting extra layers of comfort, like a dog coat, jacket, or sweater. 

Select canine clothing made of high-quality insulating materials such as fleece or wool. These materials are not only limited to warmth but also help regulate your pup’s body heat effectively. Ensure the clothing fits well, allowing your furry pet to move freely without restriction. Specifically, to keep those dog’s ears warm and fuzzy, consider using doggie hats or earmuffs (they add a stylish touch, too). 

Regular Exercise and Physical Activity

Guess what? Getting those four legs moving kicks in the circulatory system into high gear. Increased blood flow to the entire body ensures efficient oxygen transport to every cell. Results? Warm and fuzzy ears. 

Not only that, regular movement is a natural stress and anxiety buster for your furry friend. Physical activity releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones.

Also, an active lifestyle can prevent obesity and weight management and boost dogs’ energy levels, which leads to overall well-being. 

So, no gym membership is required for your pup! Just an old game of fetch will keep those legs running. Check out more ways to keep your dog active and healthy with these outdoor games for dogs.

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:

Frequently Asked Questions

Your dog might feel cold to the touch due to poor circulation, cold weather, or health problems. Ensure they have a warm environment and protective clothing. If their temperature is below 99°F or above 104°F, consult a vet immediately.

A dog’s ears should ideally be comfortably warm, though they may feel slightly cooler than other body parts. Constantly cold ears require assessment for underlying causes or environmental factors.

Yes, dog’s ears help in cooling them down but cold ears can indicate health issues.

Signs your dog is cold include shivering, hunching/tail tucking, seeking shelter, teeth chattering, and appearing uncomfortable. If these signs persist, consult a vet.

Closing Thoughts

To recap, cold dog ears signal more than just the weather. Factors like circulation, environment, and health play a role. 

Monitor signs of discomfort, measure their temperature, and know when to visit the pros.

Prioritize your pup’s comfort and warmth with cozy beds, stylish ear muffs, and active play.

So, snuggle up, and create pawsitively warm moments with your furry friend!

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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