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Don’t Shave! How Dogs Really Cool Down (Not Like Us!)

Contrary to popular belief, dogs sweat, but sweating is only a tiny part of the process they use to cool themselves.

A further aggravating factor for many pet owners. This means that treatments at the vet will also become considerably more expensive on average.

Do dogs sweat? Temperatures are starting to rise, and if you are a dog owner, you are already thinking about shearing your dog and making a big mistake, as explained in this article. The misconception stems from the fact that some people are convinced that, as the heat rises, dogs sweat all over their bodies as we humans do.

In addition to having a mistaken belief, many are unaware that dogs’ sweat glands do not serve to regulate their body temperature, as dogs sweat for other reasons. So, let’s find out what they are.

How do dogs sweat?

How to protect your dog from the summer temperatures in 2022
Warning about dog walking in hot weather.

Many people believe that dogs do not sweat, but there is a reason why you have never seen your dog sweat in the same way as you do, and it is because dogs only produce work in certain parts of their bodies. Dogs have two types of sweat glands:

Merocrine sweat glands function in a similar way to human sweat glands. These glands are located in your dog’s paws and are activated to cool him down when he is hot. This is why you may notice damp paw prints on the ground during sweltering days.

Most dogs are covered in fur, so if sweat glands were on their bodies, sweat would not evaporate; it is when sweat evaporates that cooling occurs. That is why it is much more efficient for dogs to have sweat glands in their paws, where there is little fur. And that is precisely where dogs sweat.

The apocrine sweat glands, on the other hand, are different from the merocrine glands. Their primary purpose is to release pheromones, not to cool the dog. These glands are found throughout every dog’s body and help a dog identify other dogs by scent.

Sweat or Heat: How Dogs Regulate Their Body Temperature

Dogs sweat, but why do they pant? Now you know that dogs sweat, but sweat plays a minor role in cooling your dog. Instead, dogs rely on panting to control most of their temperature regulation. When panting, dogs evaporate moisture from their tongues, nasal passages and the lining of their lungs, cooling themselves as air passes over moist tissue. So it is like saying that dogs sweat from the tongue: this is where they regulate temperature.

Dogs sweat from the tongue, but they also rely on vasodilation, which is the expansion of blood vessels, especially in the ears and face, to help them cool down. This allows the dog to cool down sooner and regulate the animal’s internal body temperature.

Does fur make dogs sweat?

Your dog’s coat acts as an insulator. A dog’s coat retains heat during the winter and keeps your dog cooler when it is hot.

Heatstroke in dogs

Keeping the dog cool in the summer!
To prevent your dog from suffering heatstroke on hot days, do not neglect hydration by making him drink plenty and bathing his head, chest and behind the ears.

Unfortunately, panting, vasodilation, and limited sweating are not as effective in cooling dogs as sweating is for humans. This poses risks to dogs, ranging from heat stress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a serious concern for all dogs, but it is severe for brachycephalic breeds with short noses and flat faces, such as Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs. Due to their unique anatomy, these breeds cannot cool themselves as efficiently as other breeds due to inefficient breathing and wheezing. In addition, dogs that have experienced heatstroke before obese dogs and those with dark coats are also at increased risk of heatstroke.

Heat stroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises and overheats; if left untreated for too long, it can be fatal. Every dog owner should know the signs of heat stress and heat stroke. Here are some of them:

  • Heavy and frantic panting
  • Dehydration
  • High temperature
  • Bright red gums
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle tremors
  • Lack of coordination (ataxia)

If you suspect your dog suffers from heat stroke or stress, take him to a cool area and call your vet immediately. You will have to take him to the emergency room immediately, but in the meantime, you can run cool water over him in the bathtub or put a soaked towel over his body. Always keep his head up and out of the water. Also, give him fresh water to drink.

Keeping the dog cool

We may not be able to make our dogs sweat, but we can help them regulate their body temperature by controlling their environment. If your dog spends time outdoors, ensure he always has access to shade and plenty of clean water. Also, keep an eye on the temperature inside your home to ensure it is cool enough for your pets.

We will never tire of repeating and writing this. Never leave your dog unattended in a car, even for a few minutes, as temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels. Also, do not exercise your dog when it is too hot outside; do it early or wait until the end of the day.

Now you know that dogs sweat, and by learning how dogs regulate their body temperature, you can help keep them cool, safe and healthy all year round.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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