Did you know that dogs can overheat very easily in summer? You’ll need to take care not to let Fido get too hot. Dogs can’t cool off as easily as we do. A local vet offers more information below.
The human body cools itself down using mostly one method: sweating. As sweat on your skin evaporates, it cools you off. Fido of course, is covered in fur. That won’t really work for him!
Panting is dogs’ primary way of cooling off. When Fido pants, moisture starts to evaporate from his tongue, his nasal passages, and the lining of his lungs. When the air produced by panting passes over these moist tissues, it effectively lowers your dog’s body temperature. This is actually very similar to the way sweat evaporates off of our skin to cool us down!
Have you ever seen your pup’s face get a bit flushed and wrinkly when he’s exercised in hot weather? That’s because of vasodilation. Vasodilation means that your dog’s blood vessels expand, or dilate. When Fido starts to get hot, blood vessels around the body expand and bring warm blood closer to his 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 canine pals don’t sweat the way we do, they do possess sweat glands. In fact, they have two kinds.
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, the sweat they produce would just be absorbed by the fur, rendering it useless.
Apocrine glands are located all over Fido’s body, but they don’t produce sweat in order to regulate body temperature. Instead, these release the pheromones that dogs use to identify one another.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very dangerous for dogs! It’s your job to make sure he doesn’t overheat. Don’t leave Fido outdoors in hot, humid weather for long periods of time—bring him indoors frequently so he can cool off. Also, make sure he has plenty of fresh water to drink at all times. Water is essential for cooling the body down and preventing dehydration!
Would you like more tips for keeping your pup safe this summer? Give us a call today—we’re here to help.