Among humans, it’s quite normal to have cold feet on those cold winter days, but one may wonder: “My dogs has cold paws, what may be causing this? Not surprisingly, dogs can get cold paws too. The fact that dogs don’t wear shoes and socks, makes them already quite different than us, human beings, so we expect things to be a tad bit different in the feet department. So if a dog’s paws are cold, is that something to worry about? The answer is that it depends on various factors.
Cold On Its Own
A dog with cold paws on their own is generally something not very significant, if cold feet are the only symptom.
If you notice cold feet in your dog, it’s generally not concerning unless you start noticing other accompanying worrisome symptoms such as difficulty walking, swollen legs, trouble getting up or pale gums, trouble breathing or fainting.
Cold feet in dogs can be due to recently walking in cold weather. If your dog’s feet are unusually cold, a good place to start would be to ensure his rectal body temperature is normal (101.0 to 102.5) and then to check the dog’s pulse of the back legs inside the thigh, suggests veterinarian Dr. Debbie.
Report to your vet if you detect any unusual findings is if the rectal temperature is anything under 101.0 as that is too low.
A Blood Flow Issue
If a dog has cold feet, it can be indicative of a blood flow problem to the legs. Generally, if this is the case, the affected dog will show other signs of trouble. A dog who has a blood flow problem may have a problem with his lymphatic system or heart.
There may be blood clot blocking blood flow or severe blood loss and shock (as from a ruptured spleen) that may cause a dog to have cold feet, lethargy, feet turning bluish, pale gums and shallow breathing. A dog with cold feet that is showing these signs, should see a vet immediately.
Cold Paws and Frostbite
If the dog has been outside where it’s very cold and there is snow on the ground, those cold paws may be affected by frostbite.
Frostbite in dogs mostly affects the ear tips, the tail, the scrotum and the toes. When a dog’s toes are affected by frostbite, they may appear pale or grayish and will feel cold and hard to the touch. As the toes thaw, they may turn reddish.
In case of frostbite of a dog’s toes, according to Pet Education, it’s important to warm them up using warm water (around 104-108 degrees), never hot as that would cause further damage. Rubbing or massaging the area may cause more trouble than good. Follow up with your vet.
Cold Feet and Shedding
A dog who has cold feet and unusual shedding should see the vet as these can be signs of a thyroid problem. While cats are prone to hyperthyroidism, dogs are prone to the opposite problem, hypothyroidism.
Dogs affected by hypothyroidism may show balding of the hair over the lumbar area, in a symmetrical pattern on both sides. The back sides of the dog’s rear legs may also be prone to hair loss and so may be the tail, explains veterinarian Dr. Ron Hines.
On top of that, hypothyroid dogs may also be more sensitive to cold and chilly weather, which may explain the cold feet.
Cold Paws After Surgery
Dog owners may be concerned about a dog’s cold feet after a surgery as the dog is recovering from anesthesia. During anesthesia, there are chances that there is lowered perfusion which is the process of delivering blood.
Usually though this possibility is counteracted by the delivery of intravenous fluids during the procedure, explains veterinarian Dr. John.
If the dog can walk on his paws, the femoral pulse can be felt and his body temperature is OK, then likely there isn’t a major circulation problem going on.
If the body temperature is a little bit on the low side, getting the dog to move a bit can help increase perfusion otherwise keeping him in a warm place and monitoring him may be helpful. If the dog though has trouble walking and doesn’t seem to have sensation, a vet should be seen immediately.