Although we’ve made it through July, there are still plenty of hot summer days left. In a previous post, we talked about boarding your dog in Cincinnati. That can be useful if you’re going on vacation for a few days. Dog day care at a boarding facility may also be a great way to prevent pet anxiety when your household returns to a school-year schedule.
With this post, what we want to focus on is something that may happen to your dog when you’re out and about. That topic is sweating. Specifically, we’re often asked if dogs actually sweat. When you come back inside after a walk outside in the heat, you may notice that your dog has a different smell. While it’s completely understandable to attribute that change to normal sweating, what’s interesting is dogs don’t have the same types of sweat glands found in humans and many other species. Instead, dogs take a different approach to cooling off.
How Dogs Release Heat (Plus Signs of Overheating)
Dogs do have some sweat glands in their paw pads, which we’ll touch on in detail below. But that’s not the primary way pups cool off. Their method of doing that is to pant. Dogs also employ vasodilation, which means their blood vessels dilate and may result in a dog’s skin having a flushing appearance.
While panting is quite effective for dogs, it’s still possible for your pet to overheat in the August heat or even into September. Some signs of overheating are red ear or underbelly skin, feeling hot to the touch, saliva that’s thick & ropey, gums that turn red in color or panting noticeably more than usual.
What should you do to protect your dog from overheating and potentially having a heat stroke? When you go outside, be sure to bring plenty of cool water. You’ll also want to keep your dog in shaded spots as much as possible. And just as it’s not a great idea for someone who hasn’t exercised in forever to go for a jog in the middle of a hot day, avoid going above your dog’s normal activity level during the hottest hours of the day.
An Important Note About Paws
Even though the sweat glands in a dog’s paws aren’t their primary method of heat release, it’s still important to be aware of them. The reason is if a dog has an out of balance gut, the paw pads can grow yeast. This is due to the moisture produced by sweating.
If your dog constantly licks its paws, we encourage you to come in to one of our stores or check out our event page so you’ll be able to talk to us about a solution!