Do Dogs Sweat? Everything You Need to Know Is Right Here!
One of the most commonly asked questions regarding dogs is whether or not they sweat. As humans, we know that when it gets hot, our bodies perspire to release heat and cool us down. We also know that our canine companions cannot just remove their fur coats when the weather warms up.
So, do dogs sweat? There are really two answers. One is that yes, dogs sweat. The other is that no, dogs don’t sweat like we do.
Confused? Well, you’ll just have to read on ahead to see what we mean!
Do Dogs Have Sweat Glands?
You don’t need a degree in Biology to know that in order to perspire, you need sweat glands. So what you’re probably wondering is whether or not dogs have them.
Yes, dogs have sweat glands. But not quite like we do. If you’re a dog owner, the odds are that you’ve seen your furry friend expend a lot of energy on a warm day. It may have surprised you that his or her coat wasn’t wet and matted down afterward. We usually perspire quite a bit after similar physical activity, so where do dogs sweat?
We often don’t notice our dogs sweating because most of the few sweat glands they have are located on the bottoms of their paws. If your pup is hot, you may notice a few wet prints left behind.
Excessive paw perspiration can actually be painful for our dogs. According to Catherine Carrier, a veterinarian and Animal Operations Senior Manager at a contract research facility, the heavily keratinized paw pads can become soft and delicate. When the paw pads are this damp, they can feel like an open blister.
If you notice that your dog is hot and his or her paws are overly damp, you should get them into a cooler environment as soon as possible. Doing so will help to dry their paws out and make them more comfortable.
How Else Can Dogs Cool Off?
If you’ve guessed that the few sweat glands our pups have are probably not sufficient enough to cool them down on a hot day, you would be correct!
Every dog owner knows that when their dog is excited or expending a lot of energy, they pant. Panting serves an important purpose and is the primary means of cooling down for dogs.
Panting allows the moisture on the dogs’ tongue to evaporate. The fast, heavy breathing our dogs do while they pant is a means for the moist lining of their lungs to provide an additional surface for moisture to dissipate. Panting is the most efficient cool-down method for dogs.
In this short video, you can learn a little bit more about how dogs sweat and pant to cool off:
Another way for dogs to cool down involves the dilation or expansion of the blood vessels in their face and ears. The dog’s blood cools as it flows closer to the surface of the skin. However, this mechanism is only effective when it happens in response to physical exertion or exercise. The expansion of the blood vessels is less efficient when it occurs in a warm or hot environment.
Signs of Overheating
While it is perfectly normal for our furry friends to pant when they are excited or a little warm, there are a few warning signs to look out for to make sure they’re not too hot. Overheating can be very dangerous for our pets, and it is important to understand the warning signs. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and sudden death are all potential results of overheating.
If panting is accompanied by fast, noisy breathing or disorientation, it could mean your dog is overheating. Overheated dogs may also collapse, convulse, vomit, or have diarrhea.
A few other signs of overheating include:
- Glazed eyes
- Bright or dark red gums
- Stumbling around or staggering
- Drooling excessively
- Excessive thirst
If you suspect your dog is overheating, you should wet his or her coat with cool water and go to the vet immediately because it could be life-threatening.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to keep our pet from sweating and getting too hot. One of the biggest no-no’s is leaving a dog in a car. Even if you don’t think it’s that hot outside, a car interior can heat up rapidly. On an 85-degree day, it would only take 10 minutes for the inside of the car to reach upwards of 100 degrees which, needless to say, is very dangerous for our pets.
If you leave the house for extended periods of time and your companion stays home in warmer climates, it is important to make sure the house will stay cool enough while you’re gone. Don’t forget to leave the air on or keep some windows open and fans running for proper ventilation.
Fresh, cool drinking water should always be available for your dog. Especially after a walk. Speaking of walks, remember that dogs don’t walk with shoes on like we do. If the pavement is too hot to touch, it is too hot for their paws. Stick to grass or shaded areas. If these are not available, opt to walk your dog during cooler times of day such as early morning or evening hours.
Although there are differences in where it occurs and the overall effect it has, the answer to the question “do dogs sweat?” is a yes! Sweating in and of itself is not particularly dangerous for our dogs. Sweating is simply a normal bodily function designed to keep them cool.
However, it is important to keep your dog in comfortable environments as often as possible and understand the warning signs of overheating. A healthy dog is a happy dog!
Do you have any stories or tips you’d like to share? We encourage you to comment below and let us know!