Picture this: It is a strenuous hot day of summer, you are chilling in a bar trying desperately to cool up a little, but you are still covered in the stickiest sweat. You glance at your dog and you see him lying on the floor, but completely dry. And the question arises. Do dogs sweat? And if so, how do they do it?
How do dogs sweat?
Many people are under the wrong impression that, as we can’t see it, sweat in dogs is an urban myth.
So, do dogs sweat? Yes, dogs do sweat, but they just don’t do it the same way we do.
Do dogs sweat through their paws? Well, it depends. Dogs’ bodies have different ways of cooling down.
Merocrine glands: These glands are located on dogs’ paws pads, and they work pretty much like human sweat glands. Dogs’ bodies are too furry to lodge sweat glands, so that is why they are located on their paws. However, out of all the methods dogs have to cool off, this is the less used and the most inefficient.
Panting: This is probably the most famous method of dogs’ sweating. When a dog is feeling too hot and is trying to cool down, panting is his first reaction (that is why it is very normal for dogs to experience panting after a long walk or a heavy exercise sesh). Through panting, they regulate their body temperature, and evaporate the extra moisture from their tongues and nasal passages, providing freshness as the air comes in. Just like we humans sweat, dogs pant.
- Vasodilation: This process consists of the expansion of the blood vessels in dogs, especially in their face and ears. When this happens, the hot blood is brought directly to the surface of the skin, allowing it to get cold before making its way back to the heart.
Does shaving dogs help with heat?
It is very common to see fully shaved dogs in the street within summer, but is shaving good or bad for our dogs?
We think our dogs will be much fresher when fully shaved because we see dogs’ fur as if our bodies were all covered in hair. That is why we believe that shaving our dogs is the best way to cool them down. However, remember dogs don’t sweat through their skin, so it makes no significant difference.
According to vets, dogs don’t get a real benefit from full shaving. Believe it or not, a dog’s fur is like an insulator, both in winter and summer. Especially in double-coated breeds, the inner layer acts as an insulating coat, and shaving can interfere with their temperature regulation. A pup’s fur provides them with heat relief and protects them from heatstroke.
What you can do
Even though full shaving is not recommended, you can…
- Give your dog a haircut
- Keep his paws trimmed to clear the area
- Brush your pup often to promote a better air circulation
- Give him regular baths with antiseptic grooming products
- Keep him fresh (you can read our blog how to keep dogs cool in summer for more info)
Get to know your pup!
All dogs are different, and as a consequence, they all have diverse particularities and needs. Some dogs pant notoriously heavier than others, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Brachycephalic breeds (Boxer, Boston terrier, Bulldog, Sharpei, Pug, etc.) pant much heavier than other breeds, since they have some trouble inhaling air rapidly.
Besides, being overweight can also play an important role in excessive panting. This occurs because obese dogs have an extra layer of fat which makes them extra hot, so they need to pant more in order to ventilate their bodies properly.