As you may know, there’s only one way the human body cools itself down during hot weather or vigorous exercise: sweating. As your sweat evaporates, it cools you down. But your dog, of course, is covered in fur. So how do our furry companions’ bodies cool themselves in the summer months?
Panting is Fido’s primary way of cooling off. When your pooch pants, moisture starts to evaporate from their tongue, as well as from the nasal passages and the lining of the lungs. Then, the air produced by panting will pass over these moist tissues, effectively lowering your dog’s body temperature. It’s actually very similar to the way that sweat evaporates off of our skin to cool us down!
Have you ever noticed Fido’s face get a bit flushed and wrinkly when he’s exercised in hot weather? That’s because of something called vasodilation, which is the term for your dog’s blood vessels expanding or dilating. When Fido gets hot, blood vessels around his 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, which will also help lower your dog’s internal temperature.
Although dogs may not sweat the way humans do, they do possess sweat glands. In fact, they have two types.
Merocrine glands are located in the paw pads. They start producing sweat when your dog gets hot in order to cool the body down. If these glands were located around the body, that sweat would simply be absorbed by the fur. That wouldn’t be very effective at all!
The apocrine glands are located all over your dog’s body. However, these don’t produce sweat in order to regulate body temperature. Instead, they release the doggy pheromones that pups use to identify one another.
Keeping Fido Cool
No matter how Fido keeps himself cool, it’s your job to make sure he doesn’t overheat. Don’t leave your pup outdoors in hot, humid weather. Also, make sure that your pooch has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Water is also essential for cooling the body down and preventing dangerous dehydration in hot weather! (Your cute pet probably won’t mind some frozen treats, like doggy ice cream, either.)
Would you like more tips for keeping your dog safe this summer? Give us a call today—we’re always here to help.