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Our bodies cool themselves in hot weather or during vigorous exercise in one way: sweating. As the sweat on our skin evaporates, it cools us down. But your canine friend is covered in fur. So how do our dogs’ bodies cool themselves in the hotter months of the year?
Panting is your dog’s primary method for cooling down. When your dog pants, moisture evaporates off their tongue, and from the nasal passages and the lining of the lungs. The air produced by panting passes over these moist tissues, lowering your dog’s internal body temperature. It’s fairly similar to the way moisture evaporates off of our human skin.
Have you ever noticed your dog’s face get flushed and wrinkled when they’ve exercised in hot weather? That’s because of a process called vasodilation. This means your dog’s blood vessels expand, or dilate. When your dog’s body heats up, blood vessels around the body expand and bring warm blood closer to the surface of the skin to cool it down. Next, that cooler blood cycles back to the heart to lower the dog’s temperature.
Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, but they do possess sweat glands. Actually, they have two kinds of sweat glands.
Merocrine glands are found in your dog’s paw pads and start producing sweat when your dog gets hot. If these glands were located around the body, the sweat they produce would just be absorbed by the fur, making it useless. That’s why these glands are located in the paw pads.
Apocrine glands are located all around your dog’s body, but they don’t produce sweat to regulate body temperature. Instead, they release pheromones. Dogs use them to identify each other.
It’s your job to make sure your dog doesn’t get too hot! Don’t leave your pet outdoors in hot, humid weather for long periods of time. Instead, bring him indoors often so he can cool off in the air conditioning. And make sure that your pooch has plenty of fresh water to drink, hot weather or not. Water is essential for cooling the body and preventing dangerous dehydration.
Want more tips for keeping your dog safe this summer? Give us a call today. We’re here for you!