Summer is a wonderful time for many people. You can enjoy the beach, go swimming, eat ice cream, and sample delicious fruits like mangoes and watermelons that you can’t have in the other seasons. The list of things goes on and on, making summer the favorite season for many people, but do our best friends – dogs – enjoy the heat as much as we do? How do they keep cool in hot climates at the peak of summer? I think you’ll find the answer to that quite fascinating…
Just Chill Out!
First of all, let’s tackle how humans keep cool. As we know, our bodies produce sweat when we become overheated. This is a very efficient mechanism by which the human body regulates its temperature. Sweat glands are the organs responsible for producing and secreting sweat, and are located all over our bodies. This effectively means that the cooling process takes place over a large surface area of the skin, which is definitely desirable, particularly after a vigorous workout. What about dogs though? Do they sweat in the same way?
When a dog gets excited, stressed, or has recently exercised, its body temperature naturally rises, so it needs to get rid of this extra heat. Unlike humans, dogs have very few sweat glands, with most of them located in the animal’s footpads. Dog owners have surely noticed that their pets often leave wet footprints behind on hard surfaces. Turns out that this is because your dog is sweating!
Is sweating from their paws the only way dogs keep cool?
No. Not even close.
Actually, the main way in which dogs regulate their body temperature is by panting with their mouths open. Some people are under the wrong impression that since dogs cool down by panting, their tongues must contain sweat glands too. This, however, is not the case.
Panting serves two main purposes in terms of cooling a dog down. Firstly, the moisture on the tongue evaporates while panting, while the heavy breathing allows moisture to evaporate from the moist lining of their lungs. Furthermore, dogs cool off via vasodilation. The blood vessels in their face and ears expand, enabling the blood to flow closer to the skin, allowing heat to be exchanged with the outside environment. Pretty cool!
Don’t Let Sparky Get Too Hot!
Despite their cool-down mechanisms, dogs are still prone to getting overheated (hyperthermia) and eventually suffering from heat strokes. Heat strokes are very dangerous, as they can cause brain damage and even death for your beloved pooch. Given that, what can dog owners do to prevent their dogs from getting too hot?
One of the simplest ways to do this is to spray cool water all over your dog’s body. This creates a layer of moisture that envelops the dog, basically simulating the effect of having sweat glands all over the body. All you dog owners out there, take good care of your dogs and keep them cool so you can both enjoy the beautiful summer weather!