Sweating is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the organism overheats and needs the mechanism to cool itself down. Additionally, some toxins and electrolytes are also excreted through the sweat keeping the body clean.
While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.
In contrast to the popular belief that dogs don’t have sweating glands and therefore don’t sweat, science proves that they actually do, but this makes only a small portion of the mechanism of body heat regulation. It’s pretty easy to tell when humans sweat, but when dogs do it’s almost impossible to tell.
Can Dogs Sweat
Dogs possess two types of sweat glands – Apocrine glands and Merocrine glands. The second type is more similar to the human’s sweat glands in means of a function.
The Merocrine glands can be found on a dog’s paw pads and when the body temperature increases they activate and participate in the process of thermoregulation. You can actually notice sweaty paw prints on the floor during hot summer days.
Do Dogs Sweat Through Their Paws?
Another way to know if your dog is sweating is by smelling his paws. Sweaty dog paws smell salty like you just opened a bag of corn chips.
Apocrine glands are basically sweat glands, but actually, they have no role in cooling the dog off. They produce pheromones that form the body scent and this is a way how dogs distinct from other dogs. Apocrine glands are located all over the dog’s body. They are more important for canines as they make it possible for dogs to communicate and get to know each other. But also these glands are more prone to defects in form of malign in benign tumors. Fortunately, the incidence isn’t that high as only 1% of all tumors diagnosed in dogs are Apocrine gland tumors. More often they are of a benign type, but occasionally metastatic activities can be noted.
Panting to Cool Off
A dog’s body temperature is mainly regulated through panting. Sweat, on the other hand, plays a minimal role in cooling your dog down. Panting is a type of evaporative cooling and it’s easy to notice it because the dog breathes heavily with his mouth open. One more mechanism regarding dog’s thermoregulation is vasodilatation when the blood vessels widen.
Overheating and Heat Stroke
The three of them combined – sweating, panting and vasodilatation aren’t so effective in keeping dog’s cool during hot weather as sweating alone is in humans. Every owner must pay attention for signs of overheating in dogs. Heat strokes are quite often and French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pugs are among the riskiest group of breeds.
The common symptoms of overheating in dogs include excessive and heavy panting, excessive drooling, high body temperature, red gums, dehydration, irregular heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, loss of coordination and fading.
Owners can’t make their dogs sweat but can take measures in controlling the environmental conditions when there is a need for that. When the weather is hot a dog shouldn’t spend much time outdoors before sunset and has to have plenty of fresh and cold water to drink.
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