When it’s hot outside, you’re probably used to seeing your dog pant, but do dogs sweat?
Summer is a wonderful time for most of us, but what about those tail-chasing friends of ours that we took with us on the vacation?
Dogs are furry animals, which is good for keeping them warm in the winter but can make them quite hot in the summer.
There’s a reason why you’ve never seen your dog sweat in the same way you do, and that’s because they only produce sweat in certain parts of their bodies.
We, humans, have sweat glands all over our bodies but dogs have different skin types. We have millions of eccrine glands which release liquid composed of mostly water and sodium chloride that, upon evaporation, help cool our body on a hot day or when exercising.
Unlike humans, this does not occur in dogs. They can’t release sweat from all over their body, instead, they only release sweat from certain areas.
The mechanisms dogs use for cooling down their body temperature aren’t even close to what we humans have to fight against overheating.
Additionally, because humans are mostly hairless (except for our scalps), we sweat all over our bodies. Without hair to hold the moisture, sweat evaporates quickly and cools us off.
If dogs were to sweat into their coat, the moisture would become trapped, and it wouldn’t cool them down.
Now, the question arises how do dogs release their sweat?
Do Dogs Sweat?
It’s a common misconception that dogs don’t sweat. Dogs have fewer sweat glands than human beings, and thus they are not so effective in cooling off your dog.
However, they do sweat – but a lot less than we do and their sweat glands are not where most people think they are.
Dogs have two types of sweat glands. These two glands are the merocrine gland and apocrine gland.
Merocrine glands function pretty similarly to our sweat glands. They are located in dogs’ paw pads.
These glands will activate when the dog is hot or when is stressed.
Apocrine glands are found throughout your dog’s body but they don’t actually produce sweat to keep your dog cool.
According to the American Kennel Club, the sweat from apocrine glands contains scent pheromones that help dogs identify each other.
In addition, it’s important to be noted that dogs have sweat glands on their noses as well, but these aren’t used to cool them down. These glands produce mucus to keep your dog’s nose moist and improve its sense of smell.
How Do Dogs Cool Down?
The typical temperature of a dog is 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep their internal temperature in this range, dogs primarily cool down through panting, a process called vasodilation, and conduction.
Sweating only plays a little role in cooling down your dog; the majority of the work is done by your dog’s mouth via panting. Panting is vital in regulating a dog’s overall body temperature and works like air conditioning.
As water evaporates from the dog’s tongue, nasal passages, and lungs, this helps lower its body temperature.
Think about when you step out of the shower and immediately feel chilly — that’s the water evaporating from your skin.
Vasodilation, which is an expansion of the blood vessels, is another method. It enables warm blood to get closer to the skin’s surface, where it cools down.
The closer this warm blood is to the body’s surface, the better a dog can cool down, mostly through vasodilation in the face and ears.
The colder blood then returns to the heart. This process helps to regulate your dog’s internal temperature.
Conduction is another way for dogs to lose heat. Have you ever observed that your dog prefers to sleep on a hard concrete floor rather than his or her nice, padded bed? They’re most likely trying to cool off.
Heat can be transferred directly from them to the object by resting their warm body on a cool piece of concrete or tile floor, and their internal temperature will drop.
We’ve seen that dogs aren’t incredibly efficient at cooling themselves off. Learning how dogs sweat and where they sweat from helps us understand how they cool off.
Of course, the first rule of thumb for keeping your dog cool in hot weather is to provide him or her with plenty of fresh, cool water to drink at all times.
Remember, heat exhaustion in dogs can quickly escalate to a life-threatening heat stroke if it isn’t dealt with immediately.