Have You Ever Wondered - Can Dogs Sweat

Have You Ever Wondered - Can Dogs Sweat

Author WDF Staff


Regulating the body temperature is an important survival technique. Humans regulate their body temperature through breathing and sweating, but how do dogs do it? Most dog owners know that dogs pant when they are hot, but do dogs sweat? Here is what you should know about dogs sweating and temperature regulation.

So, do dogs sweat?

This might surprise you, but dogs indeed sweat. Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through specific parts of their bodies. It is only one thing dogs do to regulate their body temperature. Dog sweating is not as important to them as human sweating is to us.

How do they do it?

You probably noticed that your dog could run like crazy in the hottest of weather, but you never notice them drenched in sweat. If you ran 20 minutes in scorching heat, chances are you will be completely sweaty. Our arms, armpits, legs, back, neck, and head are sweating. As soon as our body temperature rises, our body’s natural reaction is to use sweat as a way of bringing that temperature down.

dog paws closeup

Dogs sweat differently from us. They have two types of sweat glands - apocrine and merocrine glands. However, these glands have different purposes, and they play different roles in the dog sweating process. Here is the difference;

Apocrine glands

Apocrine glands produce sweat, but this type of sweat doesn’t help your dog cool down. Instead, apocrine glands produce sweat packed with pheromones. These scent glands help dogs identify each other and leave a scent wherever they go. The apocrine glands are located all over the dog’s body.

Merocrine glands

Merocrine glands are closer to human sweat glands, and they play a more significant role in the dog’s cooling process. Merocrine glands will produce sweat that helps regulate body temperature, but the catch is - they are only located on a dog’s paws.

Why do dogs not sweat as humans do?

We love comparing ourselves to our dogs, although the physique is completely different. Just because something is practical for us doesn’t mean it will work for dogs as well. When it comes to human and dog sweating, producing so much moisture would be utterly counterproductive for them.

dog wet paw prints

Cooling down happens when the sweat starts evaporating from our skin. However, because dogs have so much fur, sweat on top of their skin would not evaporate. The only logical place for dogs to have sweat glands is on their paws. You can easily test whether your dog is sweating or not. Keep an eye on them during hot days and check the wet prints they leave behind them despite not walking through water. We were quite surprised when we noticed that for the first time.

How do dogs cool off?

Dogs rely on something entirely different for cooling off. The primary way dogs regulate their body temperature is by panting. When dogs pant, the moisture on their tongue, nasal passages, and lining of their lungs evaporates and cools them down. Panting is for dogs what sweating is for humans. This is the main way they regulate their body temperature and fight heat stroke.

You can read more about the importance of panting here - Dog panting - all you need to know.

Would it help if I shaved my dog?

Unfortunately, shaving your dog would not solve any problems. Dog’s coats have different roles. They help keep them warm during winter by trapping hot air and not allowing the cold air to reach the dog’s skin. During hot summer days, the dog’s coat acts as an insulator and protection against heat. It may seem that shaving a dog with a double coat can seem like a good idea, but it is really not.

How can I help cool my dog?

We can’t make our dogs sweat and regulate their body temperature that way, but we can control what they do and when they do it. If you know you will walk your dog during the hottest part of the day, it is always a good idea to postpone that walk for a couple of hours. You should generally avoid taking your dog out during the hottest part of the day.

paw in hand

Some dogs have a lot of energy. These dog breeds will need to have a healthy outlet, and dogs don’t care for weather. If you have to provide your dog with some exercise, it is a good idea to do it at the end of the day or early in the morning. The sun won’t shine the strongest, and you and your dog will be a bit safer.

Another critical thing you should do is bring plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog. Other than panting, water is the best way for dogs to cool themselves. If they run and play too much, they can easily get dehydrated, and that is a dangerous health concern that needs to be solved as soon as possible.

If you were wondering what you might do to help your dog keep cool, check out this article - How to keep your dog cool?

In conclusion

The critical thing to remember is that dogs can’t sweat as humans do. They have different ways of regulating their body temperature. As a dog owner, you should know how dogs keep cool and make sure your dog is as safe as possible. Keep your home at a temperature that will be pleasant for all of your pets, and you can always keep a few frozen treats for your dog in your freezer.

A lot of accidents happen when dog owners visit the beach during the summer. Check out this article so you can prepare adequately - Preparing for a beach day.

World Dog Finder team

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