With temperatures rising steadily this summer, it’s critical that we keep ourselves and our dogs cool. People sweat to cool off, but do dogs sweat?
Do Dogs Sweat?
Dogs sweat, but not like humans. While sweat glands are designed to aid cooling in humans, heat release does not occur in the same way in dogs. Dogs have some sweat glands, but they are much fewer than humans, and their skin is covered with fur. This minimizes the amount of cooling sweat can provide. Most dog sweat is released through glands in the paw pads, and unlike humans, sweating is not an effective way for dogs to cool themselves.
The two glands in which dogs can produce sweat are the merocrine and apocrine glands.
- Merocrine sweat glands It is made of secretory cells and is mostly found on the inside of your dog’s paws. Sweat is released when a dog is feverish, too hot, or nervous; You may find that your dog leaves light, sweaty footprints behind him as he walks. Sweat evaporates from the lint pads and helps release a small amount of body heat.
- Apocrine sweat glands used as a form of social interaction. It is found all over the dog’s body and is not used to cool its body. Although technically they are sweat glands, they do not produce sweat. Instead, they produce and emit pheromones that our pets use for dog-to-dog communication and to identify each other. This way, they make it easier for your dog to make friends, rather than turn it off.
Sweat that comes out of the merocrine sweat glands in a dog’s paw pads does not have the odor associated with human sweat. In fact, human body odor occurs as a result of mixing skin bacteria with sweat. The sweat coming out of the apocrine glands is also not an odor that we humans can smell. But pheromones found in sweat from apocrine glands can be picked up by other dogs and used to communicate.
Because this surface area is so small, dogs have other built-in methods of temperature regulation that make their “sweat” secondary to their primary means of self-cooling.
How Do Dogs Get Cold?
Neither sweat gland is effective in cooling. But this is nothing to worry about because dogs have better ways to cool off. Since sweating is not a primary source of regulating a dog’s body temperature and keeping it cool, how do our dogs who need to cool down cool off?
While panting is the primary method, vasodilation is the second most important method of keeping your dog cool.
Breathlessness is moderate to rapid mouth breathing, often paired with a large protruding tongue. When a dog is panting, he quickly inhales, moistens and exhales air. When they breathe, they quickly replace the warm air from their lungs with the cold air outside, which accelerates the evaporation of water from their tongue, inside their mouth, and from their upper respiratory tract. This action causes moisture in the airways to evaporate, helping to regulate body temperatures. As a result, it has a cooling effect and helps your dog cool down. In this way, they are cooled and cooled. If your dog is panting a lot after play, make sure there is water at the ready because he will likely be in search of water.
Another way dogs cool off is through vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). When your dog is hot, vasodilation helps cool him down. That’s because when the veins dilate, the warm blood moves closer to the body surface where it can be cooled. The most effective areas for vasodilation are the face and ears. The blood vessels in this area will expand, bringing warm blood directly to the skin surface, allowing the blood to cool before returning to the heart. This is why a dog’s ears and chin may appear red when hot.
Heat Stroke in Dogs
Despite your dog’s natural cooling processes, dogs are still prone to overheating and suffering from heat stroke. Heatstroke, also called hyperthermia, occurs when our dogs’ body temperature rises to an unhealthy range, when the high ambient temperature exceeds the dog’s ability to dissipate heat, and the overheated dog is unable to regulate its own body temperature. This can range from mild heat exhaustion to severe where your dog may lose consciousness, suffer organ failure and die. At this point, dog sitters should pay close attention to the weather and their dogs before going for a walk or spending time outside. The most common cause of heatstroke is leaving a dog in a car without poor ventilation, within minutes the dog’s temperature can rise to dangerous heights. Other common causes are being left outside with shade or access to water, prolonged exposure to hair dryers, and excessive play or exercise in hot weather.
Heat stroke is life threatening for dogs and can also cause very serious complications. So recognizing the early signs of heat stroke can help you fix the situation before things get too serious.
Signs of your dog overheating include:
- excessive shortness of breath
- Redness of the gums, mouth and ears
- excessive salivation
- warm body tissue
- shaking or shaking
- loss of coordination
- High temperature
If you see any of the above, take your dog to a cool place, give your dog water and contact your veterinarian. As the exposure to extreme heat continues, the dog’s condition worsens and signs of shock include the appearance of more dangerous signs such as moving uncontrollably, reluctance to urinate or defecate, a very fast heart rate and a drop in blood pressure.
Brachycephalic breeds such as pugs, boxer breeds, and bulldogs (flat-faced dogs with a limited airway) are at a higher risk of heatstroke and can experience heatstroke even at moderately high temperatures.
Protecting Your Dog from the Heat
Because dogs don’t sweat like humans, it’s important for dog sitters to be proactive about keeping their dogs cool and comfortable. Here are some tips on how to prevent heat stroke.
- Create a cool, well-ventilated area for your dog. Good ventilation is very important at this stage because dogs lose heat through panting.
- Your dog should always have access to fresh clean drinking water under all circumstances.
- Avoid walking and other outdoor activities with your dog during peak temperature hours. Walk your dog early in the morning or after dusk to avoid the hottest times of the day. Carry water with you on long walks and take breaks in shaded areas if necessary.
- Get to know your dog’s medical history and the signs of overheating. Dogs at high risk of developing heatstroke include older dogs, dogs with obesity or heart conditions, brachycephalic breeds, large breeds and breeds with extremely thick coats.
- If using muzzles, use basket muzzles that allow dogs to breathe. Nylon muzzles prevent dogs from panting and can cause overheating. Dogs breathe to cool down, but at the same time, not allowing them to pant in times of fear and stress can increase fear and stress. Basket muzzles allow your dog to breathe and drink when fitted correctly. If you use a muzzle, it is recommended that you train dogs to enjoy wearing muzzles.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a parking car. Leaving the windows partially open on a humid and/or hot day will not help. It has been researched that even at 72 degrees outside, the interior temperature of a car can skyrocket to 116 degrees in an hour.
- Keep your dog deliciously cool by giving them frozen dog treats, including dog ice cream or frozen dog popsicles.
As you and your canine friend begin to enjoy the warm weather, remember the importance of drinking cold water and turning on the air conditioner. Even after your pet is acclimated to the summer heat, avoid exercising during the hottest hours of the day, take plenty of breaks, and always be on the lookout for signs of fatigue or illness.
Should You Shave a Dog?
While it’s easy to see how a dog’s fur acts as an insulator in cold weather, many people don’t realize that it also helps keep many dogs cool in hot weather. Reason? Fur slows down the transfer of heat from hot air to the body.
Heavy double-haired dogs (such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Golden Retrievers) should not be shaved in hot weather because this removes one of the body’s relaxation mechanisms. Feathers also protect the skin from parasites and UV rays.
Let’s not forget to cool our dear friends and ourselves in the sweltering heat. Considering the weather and making sure your dog is drinking plenty of water is of paramount importance at this point. We wish you to enjoy the summer in a cool and problem-free way…