Sweating is one of the ways dogs maintain their the body’s temperature. We, humans, have sweat glands all over our body but dogs have a different skin type. They don’t have sweat glands all over the body. Instead, they have a different structure.
Dogs are furry animals which is great for keeping them warm in cooler temperatures but means they can easily get very hot in warmer weather.
Unlike humans, they can’t release sweat from all over their body, instead, they only release sweat from certain areas.
Now, the question arises how do dogs release their sweat? Do dogs have sweat glands too?
Yes, dogs do have sweat glands in places which are not covered in fur – too few and too limited in efficiency.
The sweat glands are in paw pads and in the nose – both of which offer limited heat transfer.
While nose could have been an effective medium to release sweat, the sweat glands in dog’s nose are not necessarily helpful in cooling down its temperature. They have limited effect, hence the exaggerated panting you will see your Dog exhibiting in hot weather.
Does their fur cause Dogs to sweat more?
Yes, as you can imagine, fur is a tremendous heat insulator – this is what helps keep dogs warm in cold weather – dog’s coat acts as a barrier between the external environment to help dogs keep warm and retain heat.
The reverse happens in hot weather – the dog’s body starts maintaining a hot temperature inside it and the coat starts acting as a hindrance in cooling its body, which results in high wheezing and irritation in dogs.
How do sweat glands work in dogs?
Most dogs are covered with a thick layer of fur, called the coat, which makes them prone to heat strokes.
They do not have the same capacity as humans to release sweat from their skin surface.
As said above, the sweat glands are present only on areas of the dog not covered in fur, like paw pads and their nose.
According to medical research, the most important sweat gland in dogs is the apocrine gland. The main function is not to cool down the dog’s body temperature but to release the hormones to pass the chemical signals to the other dogs, instead of releasing moisture that helps to send the heat away from it.
How does heat transfer happen if sweat glands are not efficient?
Well, as we have generally seen, dogs on a very hot sunny day do release heat by taking their tongues out and breathing heavily.
This is commonly referred to as panting and as a dogs temperature rises, they increase their rate of panting to cool themselves down.
What should I do to keep my dog cool during summer months?
The most obvious and simple thing is to keep your Dog hydrated and out of the sun as much as possible.
Water is a very necessary aspect to avoid heat and dehydration in dogs. Whenever you take back your dog from a long-running or walk, offer him fresh water to drink and let him sit calmly in a cool place.
You’ll probably notice your dog pants excessively after a big drink, but that’s entirely normal.
Something you may not have considered, but is a great idea, is to change your dog’s schedule according to the temperature.
If possible, you should take your dog for a walk outside in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler, rather than braving the midday sun.
Limit playtime during hot hours. If your dog is overactive on a hot day this could lead to health issues and in severe cases heat stroke (hyperthermia). Signs of this include but are not limited to your dog’s gums and tongue changing appearance and turning dark red. If this happens, try and cool your dog down and seek medical attention from a Vet.
One great way to keep your dog cool (providing they like the swimming) is to take them into the swimming pool to play.
It is a great way for dogs to keep their body temperature low and release heat.
Many dogs are born swimmers but regardless of the breed, it is always advisable to supervise your canine companion at all times.
In nutshell, dogs can’t express their feelings like us, they can’t communicate and they also don’t release heat quite as efficiently as we do.
Take note of any changes in your Dogs behavior, particularly if they are panting excessively.
Always ensure your Dog is hydrated and make an extra effort to keep them cool in warmer weather.
And again, if your dog seems unwell be sure to visit your Vet.