Do Dogs Sweat – How Dogs Regulate their Temperature

Do dogs sweat? Yes, but not like humans. Dogs have two types of sweat glands. One type, called merocrine glands, are in their footpads. They sweat through their footpads. They also have some sweat glands in their nose. Although they help keep the dog cool, very little of their body heat is lost through their footpads. The other type of sweat gland is called apocrine glands, which are over most of their body, but are not to keep the dog cool. Their purpose is to release pheromones, which, to put it simply, makes a dog smell like a dog.

Dogs sweat, but the main cooling function for dogs is panting. The Air is drawn in through their nose. There are folds in the nose that increase the surface area for moisture in the nose to evaporate from, cooling the nose. The air is exhaled through the mouth. The moisture in the air is absorbed and the heated air leaves the dog. Along with this, since the dog’s mouth is open with it’s tongue hanging out, the saliva on the dog’s tongue evaporates cooling the tongue which has a rich blood supply, and so cools the blood which has transported heat from inside the dog’s body.

Another temperature controlling organ is the spleen. The spleen stores blood, and when the dog gets hot, the spleen releases additional blood into the blood stream to help carry heat to the surface. Relative to body size, dogs have larger spleens than humans. The greater release of blood from the spleen when dogs exercise may be one reason why dogs usually have a higher endurance level than most people.

One other interesting physiological aspect of the dog’s body is that a complex of small veins and arteries at the base of the dog’s neck can thermally isolate the dog’s head from the rest of the dog’s body, where the muscles generate heat is during exercise. This protects the dog’s brain, which is the most temperature-sensitive organ in the dog’s body. Compared to other animals that don’t have this feature, the dog can endure high exertion in a  hot environment significantly longer. A dog chasing a rabbit in a hot environment may not be able to initially catch the rabbit, but can keep chasing the rabbit until the rabbit slows down from overheating.

So the answer to the question “Do dogs sweat” is yes. But it has little to do with cooling the dog unlike sweating does for humans.

A trained dog is a happy dog and has a happy owner.

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