You may know that the human body cools itself down during hot weather or vigorous exercise using one method: sweating. As sweat evaporates, it cools you down. Your canine companion, of course, is covered in fur. So how do dogs cool themselves in the summer months?
Panting is Fido’s primary way of cooling off. When your furry friend pants, moisture starts to evaporate from his tongue, nasal passages, and the lining of the lungs. The air produced by panting passes over these moist tissues, effectively lowering your pet’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 dog’s face may get a bit flushed and wrinkly when he’s exercised in hot weather? That’s caused by something called vasodilation. Vasodilation happens when your dog’s blood vessels expand or dilate. When dogs get hot, blood vessels around their bodies expand and bring warm blood closer to the skin’s surface, where it cools down. That cooler blood then cycles back to the heart to lower your dog’s internal temperature.
Although our four-legged friends don’t sweat the way we do, they do have sweat glands. In fact, they have two different kinds of sweat glands.
Merocrine glands are located in the paw pads. They start producing sweat when your dog gets hot. If these glands were located around the body, the sweat they produce would simply be absorbed by the fur, which would render it useless.
The apocrine glands are located all over Fido’s body. However, they don’t actually produce sweat. Instead, they release pheromones that dogs use to identify each other.
No matter how Fido keeps himself cool, it’s your job to make sure he doesn’t overheat. Never leave your faithful pet outdoors in hot, humid weather for long periods of time. Also, make sure that your furry pal has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Water is essential for cooling the body down and preventing dangerous dehydration in hot weather!
Would you like more tips for keeping Fido cool this summer? Give us a call today—we’re here to help.