Do Dogs Sweat? How Your Dog Keeps Their Cool

Published by Jean Marie Bauhaus
min reading

Have you ever asked yourself do dogs sweat? Or even wondered, can dogs sweat?  You might've heard that dogs cool off by panting, but you are not sure if that means they sweat. Read on to get the facts about dog sweat and its key role in keeping dogs cool.

Do Dogs Sweat Like Humans?

Overheated dog sweats and pants to cool down in owners’ arms
Dogs sweat, but they sweat a little bit differently than humans do.

Dogs have two types of sweat glands: merocrine glands, which are similar to human sweat glands, and apocrine glands. Merocrine glands are located in dogs' paw pads, and so when we think about how do dogs sweat, actually, dogs sweat through their paws. Sweating through their paws helps dogs to cool down. Apocrine glands in dogs are located throughout their entire body and they also make dogs sweat — but this type of sweat doesn't cool your pup down. Instead, these produce a scent, like body odour according to Brandon Park Veterinary Hospital which contain scent pheromones that help dogs to identify each other.

How Else Do Dogs Stay Cool?

People commonly ask why do humans sweat and dogs pant? Well, while sweating through their paws helps your dog cool down a little, the primary way they lower their body temperature is through panting.

Here's how it works: when a dog pants, it increases the airflow across the moist surface of the tongue and inner lining of the lungs which causes evaporation and heat transfer, which cools them down says Brandon Park Veterinary Hospital. This is similar to the way evaporating sweat on the human body helps humans cool down.

There's one more way dogs are able to regulate their body temperatures, called vasodilation. During this process, a dog's blood vessels expand, bringing hot blood closer to the skin's surface and letting it cool down. This cooler blood then flows back to the heart, bringing the dog's overall temperature down.

Can Dogs Sweat Too Much?

People who are prone to excessive sweating when they're in a cool environment and experience sweating even in air conditioning, have an ailment called hyperhidrosis. It's unclear if dogs experience the same thing. However, it is important to remember that excessive sweating can be a sign of stress in your dog says Bonnies.

While no one's certain why this happens, it's believed that the excess moisture provides better traction on some surfaces, helping dogs run away from the source of their stress. This stress-induced sweating generally clears up once the stressful situation passes which provides some explanation around how do dogs sweat.

Whilst dog sweat is normal, if you do notice your dog's paw pads producing a lot of moisture, ask your veterinarian about possible causes and ways to help your sweaty pup stress less.

Recognizing an Overheated Dog

Large labrador dog sweats and pants whilst taking cover from the sun..
While dogs have mechanisms to cool themselves down, they aren't always the most effective, making them prone to overheating in hot weather. Heat exhaustion in dogs can quickly escalate to a life-threatening heat stroke if it isn't dealt with immediately.

Greencross Vets says that heat stress can be fatal and to watch out for the following signs of your dog overheating:

  • Excessive panting
  • Bright red gums
  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Anxious pacing, uncoordinated, stumbling
  • Seizures or strange behaviour
  • Collapse, coma

If your dog shows any of the above signs, immediately move them into an air-conditioned space or to a shaded area and offer them water to drink. To prevent your dog from getting overheated in the first place, limit their physical activity in hot weather, keep them in the shade and provide them with plenty of water. It's also crucial to never leave your dog trapped in a hot environment, such as a parked car. Being a loving and responsible pet parent includes keeping your cool pooch from becoming a hot dog.

Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

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