dogs ears are warm

My Dog’s Ears are Warm: Everything You Need to Know

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Is it Normal for a Dog’s Ears to be Warm?

My Dog's Ears are Warm: Everything You Need to Know

Yes, if your dog’s ears are warm, it can be normal.

The dog’s ear flaps can feel warm to the touch but not hot. If your dog’s ears are warm to its body temperature, it could be a sign of an ear infection, allergic reaction, fever, or other health condition unrelated to the ear.

We should note that just like hot ears, cold dog ears are also concerning. Ideally, dog owners need to seek help if their dogs’ ears feel both too warm and too cold.

How Warm Should My Dog’s Ears be?

A dog’s ears will typically range from 98-103 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog’s normal body temperature is 101-102.5 degrees.

A dog’s body temperature is regulated partially through the blood vessels in its ears. As a dog gets warm, the blood vessels will dilate and allow more blood to flow through the ear, which is relatively thin and able to be cooled by the air around it.

Do Warm Dog Ears Mean a Fever?

Yes, if the dog’s ears are warm, it can be an indication your dog has a fever. Other symptoms of a fever include hot paws, red or glassy eyes, a runny nose, and loss of appetite.

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What Does it Mean if My Dog’s Ears are Warm?

When your dog’s ears are warm, there are several possible explanations:

  • Fever. A dog’s fever will present with several symptoms, including, but not limited to, hot ears, discharge from the dog’s nose, loss of appetite, lethargy, and hot paws. A fever is a sign of other health issues and a sign that your dog’s immune system is being taxed. This needs to be examined right away by a vet as a fever is a sign of many illnesses, some of which are serious and life-threatening.
  • Allergies. Food allergies or environmental allergies are also common causes of warm ears. Environmental allergens can include dust mites, mold, or pollen.
  • Side Effects. Side effects of medication or treatment for a pre-existing condition can negatively affect a dog’s health. Ear problems can be a result of a side effect of this treatment.
  • Infection. Hot ears are a sign of a fever, which is a sign of an infection. If a dog has an infection, there may be other health problems associated with it, and it is best to consult with your DVM about what to do to treat it. Aside from a fever or illness, warm ears can be a sign of an ear infection or yeast infection, both of which will likely require veterinary treatment to fix.
  • Ear Irritation. Ear mites can cause inflammation and tenderness as well as cause itchiness in the ears. Symptoms of ear mites include head shaking, redness around the inner and outer ear, and dark discharge from the ear canal. Ear irritations are more common in dog breeds with floppy ears like retrievers and hounds and can largely be prevented with regular ear cleanings.
  • Sunburn. A dog’s skin can get sunburned if its fur is thin or the skin is more sensitive, like the skin on its ears. A dog’s ears are susceptible to sunburns and can be treated with cool water or a cool compress.

What do You do When a Dog’s Ears are Hot?

If your dog’s ears are warm, you should take their temperature using an ear thermometer (a rectal thermometer works too).

If your dog’s ears are warm above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. Hot ears are a sign of many things, including high fever, heat stroke, and viral & bacterial infections.