Why don’t my dog’s feet freeze in the snow?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have warm feet all winter even without shoes or socks? Your pet has an advantage we don’t, and it is not just extra hair.

When our feet get cold, our body constricts our feet’s blood vessels to slow blood flow to protect our core body temperature.  Low blood flow can mean not just discomfort, but possible frostbite.

Researchers in Japan have studied dogs’ feet circulation patterns and found an interesting difference from humans. Dogs have tiny ‘heat exchangers’ in their feet that allow the cold venous blood returning to the heart to be rewarmed by the arterial blood traveling to the toes. This keeps the core body temperature protected while allowing the toes not to freeze.

However, the risk remains for frostbite in extreme conditions for our pet’s ears and tail – so keep their exposure limited.

Dr. Bob