Our bodies cool themselves down during hot weather or exercise using one proven method: sweating. As the sweat on your skin evaporates, it cools you down. But your canine friend, of course, is covered in fur. So how do our dogs’ bodies cool themselves when it’s hot outside?
Panting is your dog’s main way of cooling off. When your dog pants, moisture begins evaporating from their tongue, as well as from the nasal passages and the lining of the lungs. The air produced by this panting passes over these moist tissues, working to lower your dog’s body temperature. It’s very similar to the way sweat evaporates off of human skin to cool us down!
Have you ever noticed your dog’s face gets flushed and wrinkly when they’ve exercised in the summer heat? That’s because of a process called vasodilation. Vasodilation means that Fido’s blood vessels expand, or dilate. When your pup gets hot, blood vessels around the body expand and bring warm blood closer to the skin’s surface to cool it down. Then, that cooler blood cycles back to Fido’s heart to lower your dog’s body temperature.
Dogs don’t sweat the way humans do. But they do possess sweat glands. They have two types, as a matter of fact.
Merocrine glands are found in your dog’s paw pads. They produce sweat when your dog gets hot in order to cool the body down. If these glands were located all over the body, the sweat they produce would just be absorbed by Fido’s fur, rendering it useless. That explains why they’re located in the paw pads.
Apocrine glands are located all over your dog’s body, but they don’t produce sweat like merocrine glands do. Instead, they release pheromones. Dogs use these to identify one another.
No matter how your dog keeps himself cool, it’s up to you to ensure sure he doesn’t get too hot. Don’t leave your dog outdoors in hot, humid weather for long periods of time —bring your pet indoors often so he can cool down. Make sure that your pooch has plenty of fresh water to drink at any time of the day. Water helps to cool the body down and prevents dangerous dehydration in sticky summer weather.
Would you like more advice on keeping your dog safe this summer? Give us a call today. We’re always here to help.