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Do Dogs Sweat?

Chihuahua running through a desert sands

A sweating dog isn’t something most think about, but dogs exert heat just like their humans. While most people are under the impression that their panting pet is the only sign they may be too warm, that isn’t the only way your pupper can let you know that they’re getting too warm.

How Does Your Dog Sweat?

There’s a common misconception about whether or not dogs sweat. In actuality, they sweat just like us. Your furry friend possesses two separate sweat glands that serve a multitude of functions, as explained below:

Golden retriever coming out of the water on a beach looking hot
  • Merocrine Glands: Located in the pads of your dog’s paws, these glands are the most similar to human sweat glands. When your pet gets too warm and needs to ventilate, it sweats through the feet. This is why your dog sometimes leaves wet pawprints on the ground when it spends a lot of time in hot weather.  
  • Apocrine Glands: While these are technically sweat glands, dogs use these as a form of social interaction. Located all over their body, the spots exude pheromones that our pets use to identify each other. Instead of using them for cooling, your dog makes friends.

While the Merocrine and Apocrine glands can help your dog fight the heat, they have several other ways to cool down. From snout to tail, your pets are designed with several different adaptations to keep them comfortable and happy. Making sure they are comfortable is simple for their human, as long as they keep an eye on a few specific details.

How Do Dogs Keep Cool?

Panting chocolate lab on a beach

You may have noticed your dog panting when playing fetch or taking a walk on a sunny day. This is the most obvious way for you, as their companion, to notice that your dog is getting warm. Panting not only allows warm moisture to evaporate from the tongue, but also allows your dog to cool their body down with oxygen. This nifty trick ties into yet another way that your pupper has to cool themselves down.

While your dog does not sweat through the skin as their human does, they have another way to utilize their body to cool down called vasodilation. As your pup heats up, their skin presses expanding the blood vessels in their face and ears to the surface to allow for a cooling heat exchange before their blood flows back to the heart. Further blood vessels in the tongue will expand and can be pressed up and allow this process to happen as they pant as well. The combination can quickly cool your pup if they have not yet reached heat exhaustion.

A healthy coat is also important for keeping your pet cool. While their fur keeps your dog warm in the winter, it acts as an insulator in the heat and helps to preserve the cooling mechanisms in their skin. This also acts as a natural sunscreen, keeping the sun from beating down on them directly and prevents sunburn. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog during extreme temperatures. While their fur can serve as a natural source of insulation, it can also act as a trap for heat if the temperature rises too high.

Signs Of Heat Stroke In Your Dog

Border Collie Panting on a hot day

While all of your dog’s natural cooling processes can help, it has been proven that your pup can experience heat stroke similarly to their human. There are many important behavioral symptoms you can take note of to prevent heat stroke in your furry friend. Some signs to look out for are:

  • A rapid heart rate from excessive vasodilation
  • Loss of coordination due to drowsiness
  • A body warm to the touch
  • Thick strands of saliva dripping from the tongue
  • The appearance of red gums

If your dog happens to be displaying any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian immediately and ask them if what you’re seeing might be related to overheating or total heat exhaustion. Your pup has many different ways of cooling itself, but we still need to keep an eye out for their wellbeing.

How Can I Keep My Dog Cool?

Brown Dog Playing Frisbee On A Summer Day In A Park

Even in the comfort of your own home your dog may become uncomfortably warm. As their person, there are ways to keep your pet calm and comfy. Cooling your pupper down can be as simple as adjusting the thermostat or a cold treat; however, your pet can still show behavior that hints at heat exhaustion. Making sure that your dog is happy and healthy can be an easy thing as long as you keep an eye on certain small, but important factors in their day-to-day life.

Make sure to keep your dog well-hydrated and close to shade. This is particularly important if they spend a lot of time outdoors. A reliable source of water and a place to get out of the sun are crucial. In addition to this, choosing to walk your pet in the early morning or late evening when the temperature has dropped can make a drastic difference to them. As dogs cool more quickly through their bellies and their paws, keeping a spray bottle for water handy can also help them stay comfy. The environment your dog lives in is important to their comfort and well-being, indoors and outdoors.

Have you ever seen your dog curl up on its bed, only to move quickly to the cool floor? This can be due to the design of their bed. It may be comfortable but too warm for their quickly heated bodies. Along with a consistent amount of water and shade, one of the ways you can cool your dog is with a gel-cooled orthopedic bed. Newly popular among pet-lovers, these beds allow their comfort as well as a cool environment for your dog to relax and nap. These beds are affordable and make a difference in your pet’s overall happiness.



From $149.99

While keeping your dog comfy in the warming weather can seem like a taxing task, it simply takes a keen eye and a loving hand to care for their wellbeing. Creating the ideal environment for your pet is important. Your companion may get warm too quickly and there isn’t always a way for them to stop it. By paying closer attention to your pet you can ensure a happier, more valuable, and especially more comfortable life. Creating the best environment for your pup can alleviate further issues and add vitality to your lives together.

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Do Dogs Sweat By Clint Westbrook

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