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As humans, we often tend to think if our feet get cold in the winter time then so do our dogs. But what does research say and should you be concerned about your pup’s paws?
Specialized Circulation Systems Discovered In Dog Paws
Dr. Hiroyoshi Ninomiya of the Yamazaki Gakuen University of Tokyo, Japan, tested the theory of whether or not dog’s feet could resist freezing after reading of previous studies on the topic. In the past, researchers have claimed that dogs feet can withstand freezing in temperatures as cold as -35 degrees Centigrade. Ninomiya and his team wanted to see whether this finding was something that applied to the domesticated dog.
The Japanese researchers utilized electron microscopes to observe the feet of domesticated dogs. They found that within the dog paw or footpad, each dog had veins that were extremely close to arteries. The proximity of the veins to the arteries ensures that heat transports from the circulatory system to the area that is experiencing cooling first.
In more simple terms, as a dog steps outside and its feet begin to cool down rapidly, the heart can pump warm blood to the feet quickly by utilizing the artery that is near the neighboring veins in the footpads. This unique circulatory adaptation ensures that dogs do not freeze as the blood is warmed up before returning to the body.
The reason that this finding is so important is because this type of circulatory system had not been seen in domesticated animals previously (meaning at some point during the evolutionary process dogs naturally lived in cold climates). For an animal to develop such a specialized feature, it must have, at some point, been a necessary adaptation to help the creature survive.
Other Animal Adaptations To Winter Climate
This incredible adaptation is in additional animals – most notably those living in cooler territories. A good example is a dolphin who has a similar circulatory system its fins to ensure that cold blood does not return into the body. Likewise, this system resides the beaks of penguins.
This short video from Vetstreet summarizes the information in this article.
Remember To Keep Your Dog Warm
Despite the fact that dogs paws will not freeze naturally, under no circumstance should dogs be left outside during the winter or in freezing temperatures. Smaller dogs and dogs with thin or non-existent coats, in particular, are likely to lose body heat at a much faster rate than other dogs and should always be provided with proper insulation when spending time in the cold.
Learn more about how to keep your canine cozy in our top picks for best dog boots and winter coats. Same goes for warmer climates and keeping your pup’s paws protected from the hot pavement.
Does your dog get cold feet?
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