Do Dogs Sweat? - We Save Dogs Life

Do Dogs Sweat?

WHEN HUMANS’ BODY temperature builds up, either because they’re in a hot environment or because they’ve been exercising or working a great deal, they begin to perspire. When people sweat, it’s fairly obvious. Everybody perspires, although some do more than others. For some people, sweat is visible only under their arms and on their brows; other people seem to sweat almost everywhere.
Sweating is one of the ways that our body regulates its temperature. Human sweat glands are distributed over most of the body’s surface. When our internal temperature rises to an unhealthy level, sweat provides a slick of moisture over the skin that then begins to evaporate. As a fluid evaporates, it cools, and in that way sweat helps to lower our body temperature by effectively wrapping us in a thin, cool layer.
A dog’s skin is quite different, which is why you have never seen a dog with sweaty underarms. Most of the dog’s sweat glands are located around its foot pads. That’s why, when a dog is overheated, you will sometimes see a trail of wet footprints that he has left behind as he walked across the floor.
Rather than sweating, the principal mechanism a dog uses to cool himself is to pant with his mouth open. Panting allows the moisture on the dog’s tongue to evaporate, and the heavy breathing allows the moist lining of the lungs to serve as a surface from which moisture can evaporate. In this way the dog can significantly lower his body temperature.
Another mechanism that dogs use to cool off involves dilating or expanding blood vessels in their face and ears. If it’s not too hot outside, this blood vessel action helps to cool the dog’s blood by causing it to flow closer to the surface of the skin. This mechanism works best if the overheating is due to exercise, rather than to a high outside temperature.
You might guess that another reason why dogs might not deal well with heat is that they are covered in fur, which could make their bodies quite hot in the summer. This is only partially the case, since fur is actually an insulator that serves as a barrier between the outside environment and the dog’s interior. Fur acts much like the vacuum barrier in a thermos: In winter, it preserves body heat and serves as a barrier to keep the cold out. In summer, it is a barrier to the outside heat. Unfortunately, in a continually hot environment, once the body temperature has risen, fur serves as an impediment to cooling, since the heat then has a hard time dissipating through it.
On a hot day, especially at high levels of activity, a dog can overheat—a condition known as “hyperthermia.” Hyperthermia can eventually lead to heat stroke. A dog that is overheated will seem sluggish and perhaps confused. If you look at his gums and tongue, they may appear bright red, and he will probably be panting very hard. If left unattended, the dog may collapse, have a seizure, or even go into a coma.
A simple trick that many dog owners use to help keep their pets cool on a hot day involves using a spray bottle or mister, such as those used on plants. Simply fill it with water and periodically spray your dog’s body with it. In effect, you are creating a slick of moisture covering your dog, and it will evaporate and have the same cooling effect as if your dog had sweat glands all over his body.

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