As a dog lover, you must have probably noticed your pup panting with their tongue out after an exhausting exercise or on hot summers. But is it all that takes for them to cool down despite all their fluff and fur? How about sweat? “Do dogs sweat?” The answer is a firm yes – dogs sweat, just as we do.
Like with humans, your pup’s sweat evaporates to cool down their bodies. Sweating is actually a psychological reaction to the hot temperature where sweat glands produce salty water. When this salted water evaporates from your dog’s body, it takes away energy, hence cooling down their temperature. Well, if this is new for you, we’re in no doubt that you’re keen to learn more. Keep reading to find out all the facts related to your pup’s sweating.
How Do Dogs Sweat?
Dogs can be overwhelmed by heat and humidity, whether hot or humid. If their body temperature rises too high or if they don’t have enough air to cool down, the pressure builds up inside of them until they start panting and sweating.
Sweating might be mutual in humans and dogs, but they don’t sweat the way we do. This is because dogs only release sweat from certain areas of their bodies. They have two kinds of sweat glands: merocrine glands and apocrine glands.
Merocrine glands function similarly to our sweat glands. When your dog’s temperature rises, these glands secrete watery moisture to calm down the heat. The Textbook of Small Animal Surgery states that merocrine glands are tubular and coiled, found primarily in a dog’s footpads. But why footpads? Since most dogs have a thick coat, sweat gets trapped under their fur and leaves no room for evaporation. This fails to cool down your pooch. For this reason, the sweat glands are located in other parts of their body, preferably, paw pads, hence making sure that your pup’s sweat evaporates efficiently.
So, do dogs sweat through their paws? Yes. On a sunny day, if you happen to see watery paw prints on a dry surface, that may be your dog sweating.
On the other hand, apocrine glands do not serve the same purpose as merocrine glands do- apocrine glands do not stabilize your pup’s temperature. These glands are found all over a dog’s body. They are responsible for secreting pheromones, chemicals that help dogs in identifying each other through scent.
How Else Can Your Dog Cool Themselves?
Although your dog’s merocrine glands produce moisture to cool them down, sweat plays only a small role in regulating their heated temperature. The primary cooling mechanism in canines is panting. When dogs pant, they evaporate moisture from their inner mouth, tongues, nasal passages, and their lungs’ lining. As the air passes through these moist surfaces, dogs feel cooled.
Another way your dog can cool themselves is through a process called vasodilation. It simply refers to the expansion of blood vessels. Vasodilation occurs when dogs feel hot. The blood vessels (mostly in your pup’s ears and faces) expand to bring the warm blood closer to their skin, where the external cold air calms down the warm blood. Then, the cooled blood is sent back to your dog’s heart to stabilize their internal temperature.
When your dog feels hot, you might have noticed their skin to be slightly red or flushed; it may be because they’re going through vasodilation.
Signs That Your Dog Is Overheated
Dogs may have cooling mechanisms to alter their heated temperature, but they aren’t always effective. It means that your pooch can be prone to overheating regardless of their panting, sweat glands, or vasodilation. In fact, overheating in dogs can take several severe forms, including heat stress, heat exhaustion, and, consequently, heatstroke.
Here are some of the common signs of an overheated dog:
- Redness around the gums
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive/unusual drooling and panting
- Very warm to the touch/ body temperature over 41 degrees Celsius
- Lack of coordination
- Tremors or seizures
If you notice any of these signs in your pooch, get them out of the heat immediately. Take them somewhere cool (most preferably in bathtubs) and provide them with plenty of water. Call your vet if possible. They can further guide you on the procedures to reduce your dog’s temperature.
Overheated dogs are also prone to the risk of heat strokes. Heat strokes occur when your pup’s body temperature rises steeply. If left untreated, these strokes can be fatal in dogs. According to Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer, dogs with short muzzles like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston terriers are especially at risk of suffering from heat strokes. Because of their short noses and flat faces, these canines cannot breathe and pant enough to cool themselves as efficiently as other breeds.
You might also be interested in Do Dogs Dream?
Ways to Cool Down Your Dog’s Temperature
Since dogs do not have cooling mechanisms efficient enough to escape from overheating, keeping them cool during the summer months is essential. When it comes to regulating your pup’s temperature, here are 11 ways to cool down your dog:
- Check the weather before you head outside with your pooch for a long run. You might want to stretch indoors if the forecast is hotter than usual.
- Exercise your dog either early in the morning or at the end of the day, when it starts to cool down.
- If you’re taking your dog for a walk during a hot summer day, don’t take them on the pavement at all if possible. Choose to walk in wooded areas where it will be cooler and there is more shade.
- If you’re going to take your dog with you as you work, don’t leave them in a closed vehicle with the windows rolled up. Even on milder days, your car can quickly become an oven.
- Make sure you don’t leave your pup unattended in the car. Massive heat can be trapped inside cars in the summer season and if your dog is locked inside, they can develop non-fever hyperthermia symptoms and can even suffer from heat strokes.
- Provide your dog with plenty of cool, freshwater.
- When outdoors, make sure your furry friend is placed in a shaded area.
- If you’ve been playing fetch and chase with them, give your dog sufficient time to rest and pant. It will help your dog with the cooling process properly.
- Giving them cool baths occasionally can also reduce the risks of overheating.
- On hotter days, keep your home environment at a comfortable temperature for your dog.
- Additionally, you can also suit them up with cooling vests to keep them cool for a longer time.
Obeying these advices will certainly shelter your dog from health predicaments.
Do dogs sweat? Yes, they do. But not enough to resist overheating and its dangers. Although your pup has cooling mechanisms to cool themselves down, heat strokes and overheating in dogs cannot be completely omitted. Knowing what happens when your puppy overheats and how they can be cooled off can help you regulate their body temperature. It will indeed help you take good care of your canine companion.
Thank you for reading the article.
To explore more, check out our other articles covering everything on dogs and their sweat.
Have you seen your dog sweat through their little paws? How do you cool down your dog’s temperature on a hot summer day? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!