You may have heard that the human body cools itself down during hot weather or vigorous exercise using one method: sweating. As the sweat on your skin evaporates, it cools you down. What about Fido? Your dog, of course, is covered in fur. So how do our canine companions’ bodies cool themselves in the summer months?
Panting is a pup’s primary way of cooling off. When a dog pants, moisture starts to evaporate from their tongue, as well as from the nasal passages and the lining of the lungs. When the air produced by panting passes over these moist tissues, it effectively lowers your dog’s body temperature. This is actually very similar to the way sweat evaporates off of our skin to cool us down!
Have you ever noticed your furry pal’s face gets a bit flushed and wrinkly when they’ve exercised in hot weather? This happens because of something called vasodilation. Vasodilation means that your dog’s blood vessels expand, or dilate. When Fido gets really hot, blood vessels around the body expand and bring warm blood closer to the skin’s surface, where it cools down. Then, that cooler blood cycles back to the heart again, to lower your dog’s internal temperature.
Although dogs can’t sweat the way humans do, they do possess sweat glands. In fact, they have two types.
Merocrine glands are located in Fido’s paw pads, and start producing sweat when your dog gets hot in order to cool the body down. If these glands were located around the body, the sweat they produce would simply be absorbed by the fur, which would render it useless.
Apocrine glands are located all over your dog’s body, but they don’t produce sweat in order to regulate body temperature. Instead, they release pheromones that dogs use to identify each other.
Keeping Fido Cool
No matter how your pooch keeps himself cool, it’s your job to make sure he doesn’t overheat. Don’t leave your furry pal outdoors in hot, humid weather for long periods of time —bring him indoors frequently so he can cool off. And make sure your pooch has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Water is essential for cooling the body down and preventing dehydration!
Would you like more tips for keeping your dog safe this summer? Give us a call today—we’re here to help.