Dogs don’t sweat the same way humans do. Unlike us, they do not have numerous sweat glands throughout their body, but they are concentrated only in the foot pads.
Therefore, their sweating mechanism is mainly gasping, which allows them to exchange hot air for cold to get cool. Let’s see in detail how dogs sweat and what are their most remarkable curiosities.
Index of contents
- 1 Dogs sweat through their paws
- 2 Why is my dog panting?
- 3 Heat stroke in dogs
- 4 Normal panting and abnormal panting of dogs
- 5 The ideal temperature for dogs
Dogs sweat through their paws
Dogs have sweat glands, but only located on the pads of its four legs. These glands are included in the group of cutaneous appendages and are located in the dermis, which is the layer located under the epidermis or outermost layer of the skin.
The sweat glands are believed to have been reduced to this minimal expression because they were ineffective under the thick fur of the dogs’ ancestors. This was intended more to keep warm than to cool. Nowadays, with breeds of fine coat or almost without it, sweating could be useful as a thermoregulatory mechanism for these dogs.
That evolution has not occurred. Sweat glands are still only on the pads in current breeds, also in so-called nude dogs like the Chinese crested. The small amount of sweat glands in the dogs is insufficient to refrigerate them. Hence, they had to resort to another mechanism: panting.
Why is my dog panting?
Dogs don’t sweat through their skin like humans. This lack of sweating makes them more sensitive to high ambient temperatures than we are. Its thermoregulation is less efficient. The mechanism they have developed to lower their body temperature is, above all, gasping. Panting allows them to exchange hot air for cooler air.
The hot air from inside the body rises to the mouth, where it condenses on contact with the tongue and mucous membranes, which are at a lower temperature, and evaporates, exchanging for atmospheric air, which will be at a lower temperature. As soon as it feels hot, the dog opens its mouth wide, sticks out its tongue, gasp and breathe faster.
During this process, you may drink water to keep the surface of the tongue wet. It is also common for us to observe drops that slip from the tongue to the ground, the result of condensation. If the air temperature is very similar to that of the dog’s body, which is between 38-39 ºC, the panting will not be effective enough.
Heat stroke in dogs
When the dog’s body generates more heat than it can eliminate or the ambient temperature of the place where it is too high, heat stroke can occur. It is a veterinary emergency that puts the dog’s life at risk.
Heavy gasping, trouble breathing, mucous congestion, vomiting, or bloody diarrhea are symptoms that can occur in these cases. Failure to lower the dog’s body temperature will lead to collapse and death.
Normal panting and abnormal panting of dogs
Outside of heat panting, if a dog breathes more or less through his mouth and not through his nose, which is normal, you may be experiencing breathing problems They must be evaluated by a veterinaryn.
Therefore, it is important that we distinguish between panting and rapid breathing to know when to intervene. Of course, if the panting is excessive and other symptoms compatible with heat stroke appear, the vet should be contacted immediately.
The ideal temperature for dogs
Given the difficulties a dog may experience in regulating its body temperature, it is advisable that we provide them with a safe environment. That is to say, we have to avoid exposing it or keeping it at high temperatures.
They are more at risk brachycephalic dogs, which are characterized by having a small and flattened nose that predisposes them to suffer respiratory problems. Also, individuals with heart or lung problems may see their respiratory capacity affected.
They will be at greater risk if they are forced to gasp. In addition, these risks will be more common in dogs that already have a fever for any reason. The recommended measures to take into account are the following:
- Keep the dog in a cool place during the hottest and most humid hours. Better the interior of the home.
- Of course, never leave it inside a closed vehicle.
- In travel, if used carrierIt must be one that allows good and constant ventilation.
- We will not let you practice intense exercise in the hottest hours of the day.
- If you stay outdoors, you should always have shade.
- Clean, fresh water must be within reach on demand and throughout the day.
- Avoid leaving it on concrete or asphalt surfaces, which reach high temperatures when exposed to the sun.
- Always check it if you are wearing a muzzle, as it will make it difficult for you to gasp.