When it comes to cooling off, dog’s do so a little differently to us humans. When you stop and think about it, when’s the last time you remember seeing a dog drenched in sweat from head to toe the way we are when we’ve done vigorous exercise on a boiling hot day? The answer to that is probably never, considering dogs have far less sweat glands than humans do. Dogs do however have sweat glands called merocrine glands located in their paw pads, but are a dog’s paws really they key to cooling themselves down?
Do Dogs Sweat Through Their Paws?
Dogs have merocrine sweat glands located in their paw pads, and can in fact sweat through their paws. That’s why a dog that’s overheated can leave a trail of wet footprints on the floor behind it. Unlike humans, dog’s don’t use sweating as their primary cooling mechanism. Instead they pant which allows the moisture on their tongue to evaporate. Dogs panting and heavy breathing helps the moisture on their lung lining to evaporate and is how dogs are able to significantly cool their body temperatures.
Are Merocrine Glands a Dogs Only Sweat Glands?
Dogs also have another type of sweat gland called apocrine glands. As stated by the American Kennel Club, while apocrine glands are considered sweat glands they work a little differently to merocrine glands. Apocrine glands serve the purpose of releasing pheromones, rather than cooling your dog down. Located all over their body the apocrine glands help to release scent which is often how dogs can identify each other just by using their sense of smell.
Ways You Can Help Cool a Dog Down
It’s your job to make sure your dog doesn’t get too hot and there are a few ways you can help to ensure you minimize the chances of your dog becoming too hot:
- Keep your dog hydrated on walks with plenty of water.
- Don’t take your dog for a walk in excessive heat.
- Don’t leave your dog in a hot car.
- Walk your dog near water when possible.
Does Fur Make Dogs Hot?
A dog’s coat acts as an insulator which allows is to keep to cold air out in the winder and your dog to stay cool in the summer. This is why you should never try to shave breeds of dog that have double-coats. By shaving the dog you would be removing the layer it needs to stay warm in winter and cool in summer, making it more likely to suffer from heatstroke.
What are the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs?
As recommended by the RSPCA, if you’re concerned a dog is showing signs of heatstroke you should call your emergency service as soon as possible as dogs can become unconscious and suffer with organ failure. The RSPCA identify these as the common warning signs of heatstroke:
- The dog is panting heavily
- It’s also excessively drooling
- The dog appears lethargic, drowsy and uncoordinated
- The dog has collapsed or is vomiting
Dogs do have sweat glands in their paws and can indeed sweat from them, their primary cooling mechanism is panting which allows them to evaporate moisture build up on their tongue. You should always be wary of heatstroke in dogs and if you have concerns that a dog is suffering heat stroke consult a qualified medical professional as quickly as you can. If you’re looking for a way to prevent your dog’s paws from becoming cracked and damaged, we recommend checking out paw balm.