Do Dogs Sweat?
Do Dogs Sweat?
A sweating dog isn’t something most think about, but dogs exert heat just like their humans. While most people are under the impression that their panting pet is the only sign they may be too warm, that isn’t the only way your pupper can let you know that they’re getting too warm.
How Does Your Dog Sweat?
There’s a common misconception about whether or not dogs sweat. In actuality, they sweat just like us. Your furry friend possesses two separate sweat glands that serve a multitude of functions, as explained below:
- Merocrine Glands: Located in the pads of your dog’s paws, these glands are the most similar to human sweat glands. When your pet gets too warm and needs to ventilate, it sweats through the feet. This is why your dog sometimes leaves wet pawprints on the ground when it spends a lot of time in hot weather.
- Apocrine Glands: While these are technically sweat glands, dogs use these as a form of social interaction. Located all over their body, the spots exude pheromones that our pets use to identify each other. Instead of using them for cooling, your dog makes friends.
While the Merocrine and Apocrine glands can help your dog fight the heat, they have several other ways to cool down. From snout to tail, your pets are designed with several different adaptations to keep them comfortable and happy. Making sure they are comfortable is simple for their human, as long as they keep an eye on a few specific details.
How Do Dogs Keep Cool?
You may have noticed your dog panting when playing fetch or taking a walk on a sunny day. This is the most obvious way for you, as their companion, to notice that your dog is getting warm. Panting not only allows warm moisture to evaporate from the tongue, but also allows your dog to cool their body down with oxygen. This nifty trick ties into yet another way that your pupper has to cool themselves down.
While your dog does not sweat through the skin as their human does, they have another way to utilize their body to cool down called vasodilation. As your pup heats up, their skin presses expanding the blood vessels in their face and ears to the surface to allow for a cooling heat exchange before their blood flows back to the heart. Further blood vessels in the tongue will expand and can be pressed up and allow this process to happen as they pant as well. The combination can quickly cool your pup if they have not yet reached heat exhaustion.
A healthy coat is also important for keeping your pet cool. While their fur keeps your dog warm in the winter, it acts as an insulator in the heat and helps to preserve the cooling mechanisms in their skin. This also acts as a natural sunscreen, keeping the sun from beating down on them directly and prevents sunburn. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog during extreme temperatures. While their fur can serve as a natural source of insulation, it can also act as a trap for heat if the temperature rises too high.