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Dog’s Ears Are Cold: What Should I Do?

Dog’s Ears Are Cold: What Should I Do?
Dog's Ears Are Cold

If you are a dog owner, chances are you have a pet your furry friend and found his ears to be cold. Usually, you shouldn’t worry if your dog’s ears are cold, since most of the time the reasons are benign. However, sometimes cold ears are a signal of more serious health issues.

Why Are My Dog’s Ears Cold?

As we have already said, there are several reasons why your dog’s ears are cold. These are the most common:

Circulation Issues

The purpose of the circulatory system is to get the nutrient and oxygen-rich warm blood to every part of the body that needs it. However, when the problem occurs the dog’s heart is unable to pump the blood to the most distant parts of the body. 

This will usually affect the ears and other extremities. Common signs that your dog has issues with circulation include shivering, lethargy, redness around the paws, etc.

Circulation issues are most commonly caused by heart problems, bleeding tumors, anemia, organ infections, etc.

If you suspect your dog may have circulation issues, visit the vet. The vet will perform tests to determine the exact cause of the issue and propose a plan of treatment.

Cold & Frostbite

Since the dog’s ears are basically extremities made mostly of cartilage and with few blood vessels, they are one of the first parts of the dog’s body that cold weather will affect.

Dog’s circulatory system acts similar to ours. This means when the temperature is low, the dog’s circulatory system will focus on keeping the optimal temperature of vital internal organs, disregarding the extremities.

This is a great survival mechanism. However, it’s also one of the possible reasons your dog’s ears are cold.

If your dog spends a lot of time outside when the temperatures are low, he may experience early symptoms of frostbite.

Frostbite is when the blood doesn’t circulate to extremities due to the cold for a longer period. These areas are then left without oxygen, heat, and nutrients and they start to die. Generally, an affected tissue will start to become damaged, blackened, and eventually will fall off. 

The tail, paws, and ears are the first parts of the dog’s body to be affected by frostbite.

Health Issues

Your dog’s ears may also be cold because he is sick. This is not the case in all dogs, some dogs will experience elevated temperatures. However, some dogs do experience cold ears when their bodies are fighting off an infection or an illness. 

If this is the case, you will also notice other symptoms such as coughing, excessive mucus coming out of the nose, ears, or eyes, lethargy, weakness, etc.


Dog’s ears can be cold due to several factors including temperature of the environment, illness and circulation issues. If you notice your dog’s ears are cold, especially around the edges, when you play outside in cold weather, it’s time to get into the house. On the other hand, circulation issues require a visit to the vet to determine and treat the cause of the issue.