December 27, 2018

Do Dogs Sweat? How Do Dogs Stay Cool?

can dogs sweat, dog pantingAs dog owners, we know that dogs get hot. They show signs by panting after lots of exercise or when outside in the heat. But one question you might be pondering is, do dogs sweat?

Let’s find out.

First Things First: Do Dogs Sweat?! Learn About the Sweat Glands!

The simple answer to this question is yes; the explanation is a little more involved.

Dogs produce sweat in only two parts of their bodies: the merocrine glands and apocrine glands.

Merocrine Glands

Out of the two types of sweat glands your pup has, these are the most similar to the sweat glands of humans.

  • Merocrine glands are located on the paw pads of your dog. 
  • These glands activate when a dog’s internal temperature rises to cool them off.

Apocrine Glands

Though these glands factor into the question of “Do dogs sweat?”, their purpose is different than that of the merocrine glands.

  • Apocrine glands release pheromones in canines; they do not release sweat for cooling purposes.
  • These glands can be found all over a dog’s body.
  • Apocrine glands exude a scent that dogs use to identify one another.

Do Dogs Have Body Odor?

Yes and no. Dogs emit a light perspiration from hair follicles located all over their body. This moisture contains a chemical scent that is individual to every dog.

As mentioned above, this scent is what helps dogs identify one another.

Oil

Dogs also produce an oil that carries a unique smell. Oil secreted from the sebaceous glands is essential to the health of your dog’s hair and skin.

This small amount of oil is not normally noticeable, other than in your dog’s healthy coat.

If these glands are overly active, the oil can become more noticeable as a clammy feel on the bare parts of your dog’s skin. This may be mistaken as sweat.

Grooming

Bathing and grooming your pup regularly will cut down on the yeasty smell you may find coming from the glands in their ears. This is a normal body owner for canines and now a cause for concern.

woman using dog grooming clippers on pomeranian

How Do Dogs Sweat Vs. How Do Dogs Cool Off

So if dogs only have one type of sweat gland that aids in body temperature reduction, how do they cool off?

Panting Dog

Panting plays a major role in a dog’s ability to bring down their internal body temperature.

Panting allows a dog to evaporate moisture from both their tongues and the lining of their lungs. Your pup is cooled down as the air produced from panting passes over the moist tissue.

Vasodilation

Vasodilation may be one of the most efficient ways dogs regulate their internal body temperature. 

Vasodilatation is the expansion of blood vessels in a dog’s body — primarily in their face and ears. Expanding blood vessels bring the blood closer to the surface of the skin. This allows the blood to come down in temperature and helps your dog’s body cool off.

Does Dog’s Fur Make Them Hotter?

You would think that a dog with heavy, thick fur coat would get hotter quicker than one with a short coat. This isn’t entirely true.

Dog’s Fur as Insulation

Think of your dog’s coat as a thermos. This layer of fur acts as an insulator for your pup — keeping them either warm or cool, depending on the external temperature.

But dog owners must keep in mind that this insulating layer of fur on dogs can work against them in cases of extreme heat.

When a dog’s internal temperature rises, the insulation of their fur can trap heat inside their body. With already limited means of cooling off, this insulation can make it difficult for a dog to find relief.

Long vs. Short Coats

This is where the thickness of a dog’s fur does play a part. Short-haired dogs are more adaptable to cool and warm temperatures, as they are able to cool down or warm faster than dogs with thicker coats.

Genetics are also involved when discussing “Do dogs sweat?” Brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Pugs, have a more difficult time cooling down than other breeds.

Owners of brachycephalic breeds need to be especially careful when monitoring their pup’s resistance to heat.

Can a Dog Overheat?

Just like a human, dogs can absolutely overheat. In order to prevent this, there are some signs you should look for and actions to take if overheating is a concern.

Overheating can come in several forms from heat exhaustion, to heat stress, and most severe, heat stroke. 

Signs of Heat Stress and Heat Stroke

Though heat stroke in humans is extremely dangerous, if untreated in canines, it can be fatal.

Signs that your dog is suffering from heat stress or stroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Dehydration
  • Red gums
  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Muscle tremors

These are only a few signs that your dog may be overheating. If you notice your pup acting strangely or showing signs of distress, it’s important to act quickly. 

If this occurs, get your dog to a cool place immediately and call your veterinarian. 

can dogs get colds, tired sick dog on bed

Keeping Your Dog Cool

Let’s discuss what you can do, as a pet owner, to help your dog stay cool.

Offer Shade

  • Take notice of shade offered during walks and play dates at the dog park.
  • Be alert to signs that your dog needs to get out of the sun (panting, lethargy etc.)

Have Water On Hand

  • Bring water and a bowl for drinking any time you plan to be outside in the heat for long periods of time.
  • Your dog will need water even during summer car rides to stay hydrated.

Maintain Cool Temperatures in Your Home and Vehicle

  • Don’t skimp on air conditioning. Your electric bill is not worth your dog’s health.
  • Never leave your dog inside of a car, unattended. The internal temperature of a car can be fatal. 

With the answer to the question, “Can dogs sweat,” you have the knowledge of how to keep your pup safe. A cool dog is a happy and healthy animal in warm temperatures.

Author Bio: 

Deinah Storm is a pet lover from the US that’s had cats and dogs all her life. When she’s not walking the dogs with her family, she spends time writing informational and interesting blogs about pets to share with pet lover communities.

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