Do Dogs Sweat? Facts You Didn’t Know
Do dogs sweat at all? This is a common question asked by many pet owners. No surprise there! Despite being man’s best friend, there is a vast amount of information about dogs that we are quite oblivious about. For instance, they have the ability to fall in love with their owners, their noses act as their fingerprints, they actually have dreams, and they feel no guilt whatsoever. These are just a handful of facts about dogs, and honestly, there’s a whole lot more where that came from. Nevertheless, some of the juiciest tidbits out there surround dogs and how they sweat or if they actually do it at all.
Do Dogs Sweat Through Their Tongues?
Although many people assume that dog’s sweat through their tongues, this is not factual. Although they hardly sweat at all, when they do, it is through their ears and on their paws. This fact alone sets them apart from all other mammals, including humans, who mostly secrete sweat through glands on their skin.
Sweating may be gross altogether, but it plays an important part in keeping mammals cool when temperatures rise. Since dogs seemed to miss out on sweat glands altogether, their bodies devised other means to let some steam off; they also cool down by panting and vasodilation. In order to understand why they need a number of ways to cool down, one must first understand the importance of regulating body temperature, especially for your furry little friends.
Importance of Body Temperature Regulation
It is general knowledge that warm-blooded animals tend to maintain a certain body temperature despite the environment they find themselves in, dogs fall into this category. In general, dogs run a lot hotter than humans and that on its own is enough reason for them to need to cool down a lot more.
Keeping a stable body temperature is paramount when it comes to warm-blooded animals, everything within their systems works best at a certain temperature and as such cooling down is something that needs to happen. You would be surprised at how many processes need a particular temperature range to keep the mammalian body up and running. Which so much depending on the temperature of your dog’s body, cooling down is paramount.
Signs That A Dog is Overheating
As it is in other mammals and animals as a whole, overheating in dogs is a very dangerous occurrence. In the case that their body temperature spikes, they can fall prey to conditions such as heatstroke. This, in turn, can lead to death, and that is no doubt the last thing that any pet parent out there wants. In order to avoid overheating, there are a few things that all pet owners should be on the lookout for.
Once your pet begins to pant a whole lot more then it becomes a cause for concern, and since dogs pant a lot, it is up to pet owners to understand their dog’s habits well enough to know what is excessive. In addition, thickening saliva can serve as another tell-tale sign that your pet is a few steps away from a heat stroke. Accompanying symptoms such as being warm to the touch, flushed ears, and bellies, as well as reddening gums, are all indicators that your pet is overheating.
Is Your Dog More Prone to Overheating?
The fact of the matter is that some dogs are more likely to suffer from overheating than others, so pet owners should be wary their dogs fall into any of the following categories.
- Obese and Overweight Dogs
Once again, having a couple of extra pounds is detrimental to the health of your pup in a number of ways. In this case, that extra layer of insulation which the excess fat gives your pet makes it a bit harder for them to expel heat the way their leaner counterparts do.
- Brachycephalic breed
For those who are not quite conversant with the term, it generally refers to dogs who are graced with wrinkly faces, so, pugs, Apple head Chihuahua’s and bulldogs fall into this category, among many others. As a result of the way their faces are structured, panting is a lot harder for them. This can be quite problematic because panting is the main way dogs get rid of all that excess heat. Based on this alone they need to be watched quite closely after they exert themselves and when the weather is hot.
- Dark Coated Dogs
Even humans tend to stay away from dark-hued clothing when the sun comes out to play, so it makes total sense that dogs with darker coats are more prone to overheating. In general, darker colors tend to absorb a lot more radiation and this includes heat.
So, if you are the proud owner of a mutt with a dark coat, then note that they are highly likely to get overheated on a warm day. In the case that you suspect that your pet is overheating, it is advisable to get them to a cooler area and offer them some water. Be sure to encourage them to pace themselves, small amounts of water at a go should do the trick. In the case that it persists, or you just want some peace of mind, contact your vet for further instructions.
How Do Dogs Cool Down?
As aforementioned, dogs do not sweat the way most mammals do but best believe that they have a number of ways to cool off when the need arises. It has already been established that they sweat through their paws and ears but there are two other methods that are even more effective, and they are;
Dog owners and even people who do not own them can testify to seeing them pant every so often. This usually takes place after they have gone for a run or exerted themselves in some manner, yes, it is partially because they are out of breath. Then again, it is also because panting is the first call of action when they need to cool down.
What happens when they pant is that they take in air which in turn picks up the moisture from their nose and mouth. The moisture turns into vapor and travels all the way into your dog’s lungs where it absorbs the heat from their core. So, as they breathe out while panting, they are actually releasing the heat from their core and cooling down in the process.
So, never get annoyed by your dog’s wet nose, they need to keep it that way in order to make this process as seamless as can be. Another thing that makes this process quite effective is the fact that water can hold a lot more heat than air. Based on all this, the next time you see your dog panting, you will know exactly what is going on.
Unlike panting, this process is not visible in any way, it all takes place within your canine companion. Once your dog begins to get too hot it causes the blood vessels present in their ears and face to dilate. What this does is to bring their blood closer to their surface and in turn, the heat is expelled. This mode of cooling down does not always work quite well though, it functions at its best when the temperature outside the body is relatively cool. As such, it probably takes place when your dog is heating up as a result of exertion.
In addition to panting and vasodilation, dogs also have their fur to thank for cooling them down. Yes, it also helps immensely to keep them warm when it is needed, but their hair actually provides some much-needed insulation that can cool them down. This does not work if they are exposed to heat for extended periods of time.
Keeping Your Dog Cool; How Can You Help?
After reading all this, it is evident that dogs have a hard time when it comes to keeping cool. Having sweat glands makes keeping cool quite easy for other mammals and as such, our canine companions evidently got the short end of the stick. What are pet parents for if they cannot help out in any way they can? Luckily, there are a number of ways to help cool ensure that your pet feels cool and comfortable.
Keep Them Hydrated, Especially On Hot Days
- Makes sure that they have access to a shady area, especially if they like to play outside a whole lot
- Do not take them out for exercise when the heat is intense
- Walk them in the morning or in the evening when the weather is nice and cool
- Try your best not to leave your dog alone in the car, but in the case that you have to limit the time to 10 minutes maximum
- Get a dog cooling pad, these handy little mats provide an avenue for your dog to cool down in between games. They simply absorb most of the heat emanating from your dog’s body and dissipate it.