My Dog’s Paws Are Cold – Why? What to Do?

You may be concerned if your puppy’s paws feel chillier than usual. All owners want to keep their furry friends healthy and comfortable; even something as random as cold paws can cause us to worry.

For the most part, cold paws are not an immediate cause for concern. However, persistent cold paws and other symptoms could indicate an underlying health problem.

Cold paws can indicate frostbite, poor blood circulation, or thyroid problems. There are specific signs and symptoms to look for that can help you diagnose your pup and determine if a vet visit is necessary.

Knowing the signs of some of these problems can help you better care for your beloved pet. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms of some of these more serious problems and what you can do to keep your little friend healthy and happy.

What Are Possible Causes of Cold Paws?

While your dog may be chilly, more severe health problems could cause chronic cold paws. Dog paws should not necessarily be hot or warm at all times, but if you’re concerned, below are possible causes of cold paws.

Poor Circulation

If your dog has poor blood circulation, their body may have trouble pumping blood to the lower legs and paws. Poor circulation could be due to a blood clot, heart condition, or other health problem. Below are possible conditions that can slow blood circulation and cause your dog’s paws to be unusually cold.

  • Sepsis
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Internal or external bleeding
  • Severe seizures
  • Bloat
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Airway obstruction
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (IMHA)
  • Heart disorders
  • Head trauma

If your pup’s paws are consistently cold, keep an eye on them for other problems like fatigue, shortness of breath, pale gums, or bluish paws. If you notice any of these symptoms, take them to your vet.

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Thyroid Problems

The thyroid is a vital organ and can cause many issues if it functions irregularly or does not function at all. The most common thyroid condition in dogs is hypothyroidism. When dogs have hypothyroidism, their thyroid does not produce enough insulin.

Hypothyroidism symptoms include cold paws and excessive shedding. If you notice your dog losing more hair than usual, this can signify hypothyroidism. Take your dog to the vet immediately as thyroid problems can worsen fast.

Frostbite

While dogs can frolic in the snow without shoes or snow pants, if they spend too much time in extreme cold, it can lead to frostbite. Frostbite is a severe condition and can be extremely painful.

Frostbite affects dogs’ toes, scrotum, tail, and ears. Look for a pale gray or a bluish color in addition to the cold feeling.

One way to test for frostbite is to apply slight pressure to your dog’s paws and watch how quickly the color returns. If the color takes more than a second or two to return or doesn’t return, immediately take your pet to the vet.

The breeds listed below are more susceptible to frostbite:

  • German Short-haired Pointer
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Golden Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Dalmatian
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Chihuahua

Smaller dogs, short-haired breeds, seniors, and young puppies are the most susceptible to frostbite.

What To Do

If you’re concerned about your dog’s cold paws, there are some things you can check to try and determine the severity of this and if you need to visit the vet.

Check Temperature

You can check your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. A healthy dog’s temperature is between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s paws are cold and their temperature is below 101, you should take them to a vet.

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Check Pulse

Feel the dog’s lower and upper legs to see if they also feel cold. You can check your dog’s circulation strength by checking the pulse inside their back thigh. The pulse should feel strong and consistent. If the pulse is very faint or slow, you should take them to the vet.

Check Capillary Refill

Capillary refill can help you check for frostbite or poor circulation. There are two ways to do this. First, as mentioned in the earlier section, you can apply pressure to their paws and see how quickly the color comes back.

The other way to check capillary refill speed is to apply pressure to one of their upper gums and count how long it takes for the color to return. Once again, if it takes more than a second or two, visit your vet right away.

Check Shedding Level

The last secondary symptom that indicates a serious health issue is excessive shedding. Usually associated with thyroid problems, excessive shedding or large patches of hair falling off is not a good sign.

You can brush your dog and note how much hair comes out or monitor how much hair is around your home.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that cold doggy paws on their own are usually not a big deal. Cold paws and other symptoms, like over-shedding, fatigue, or a low temperature, are causes for a vet visit. Buy your furry friend dog boots or socks to protect thin-haired breeds during the cold months!

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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