Sweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature.
For instance, when the temperature becomes too hot, the body deals with it accordingly through sweating.
But are dogs the same? Do they sweat and if they do – are their sweat glands on the tongue?
It’s a hot summer day. You take a look at your dog and see him or her with the tongue out, panting and trying to deal with the high temperature. So, how do dogs do that? Since you notice some form of liquid coming out of their mouth, you ask yourself if it’s sweat you’re seeing?
This is a very common question we get, so we will not only answer it, but go into more detail when it comes to dogs and sweating. First of all, let’s clear out if dogs do sweat through the tongue!
Do Dogs Have Sweat Glands On Their Tongue?
While most people assume that the dog’s tongue contains sweat glands, this is actually not true. Dogs do have sweat glands in some parts of the body, but the tongue is not one of them. The tongue, however, contains many salivary glands that produce saliva, which is why we get the impressions that dogs are sweating through their mouth.
However, even though dogs don’t have sweat glands on their tongue, this organ does play an important role in regulation of the body temperature. Namely, when dogs pant they are trying to maintain a normal body temperature and they need their tongue to pant, right?
So, the bottom line is – no, dogs don’t sweat through their tongue per se and there are no sweat glands on the dog’s tongue, but the mouth is vital in their cooling-down process. We’ll get into more detail as you scroll down, but now we get to the next big question:
Do Dogs Sweat At All?
Our body is covered in sweat glands, as sweating is one of the main ways to regulate our temperature. However, dogs are quite different when it comes to this matter, as sweating isn’t their main way of keeping a normal temperature.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean dogs don’t sweat at all. In fact, dogs have two types of sweat glands:
- Merocrine sweat glands. Dogs have these sweat glands in their foot pads and their nose. These glands help the dog cool down, which is why you sometimes can see wet traces of your dog’s paws when it’s hot.
- Apocrine sweat glands. These glands are located over most of the dog’s body, but they don’t have a cooling function. Instead, they release pheromones that dogs (and other animals) use to give out information about themselves to other dogs, which give them their typical “dog smell”.
As you can see, dogs do sweat but not in the same way we do. While we have sweat glands distributed all over our body, dogs have most of them in their foot pads and some in their nose. And while they do sweat a certain amount through these glands, this is not their main way of temperature regulation.
So, if it’s not sweating, what is it?
How Do Dogs Regulate Their Body Temperature?
The dog’s principal mechanism of cooling down is panting. When panting, the dog inhales fresh air into the lungs while exhaling through the open mouth. Besides, the saliva on the tongue cools down the blood in the tongue and contributes to an overall cooling process. For more info on panting, check out the video below and discover why dogs pant!
Another way to control the body temperature is, interestingly enough, through the spleen. Namely, the spleen, whose function is to store blood, is much bigger in dogs than humans in comparison to body size. So, when the dog’s body becomes hot, the spleen releases more blood into the blood stream which reduces the body heat.
Finally, dogs can get rid of the heat by expanding their blood vessels in the face and ears, as Dr Stanley Coren explains. When the blood vessels dilate, the blood is flowing close to the skin surface. As a result, the dog’s body is gradually cooling down. This mechanism is the most efficient after exercise. It’s thanks to this that dogs are able to endure more exercise than other animals in a hot environment.
What Is A Normal Dog Temperature?
A normal temperature for dogs is somewhere between 99.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit (37.5 to 39.2 degrees Celsius). Naturally, their temperature can change due to various factors. The most common factors that can make a dog too hot are:
- Stress or excitement
- Not enough water or other sources of cooling down
- Warm objects, such as heaters, electric blankets or fireplaces
- High temperature
- Too hot car
- No access to shade in warm weather
These are some normal situations when the temperature goes up and things usually go back to normal after a while. However, if the temperature stays over 102.8 degrees, chances of a heat stroke are big and you should take action.
What Causes Hyperthermia?
Hyperthermia means overheating, that is an increase in body temperature. As mentioned, it can be due to any of the reasons above and isn’t serious if the temperature goes back to normal after a while. However, if you notice any of the following signs, it’s possible that your dog is overheating:
- Excessive panting
- Red gums
- Thick saliva in the mouth
- Warm body
- Red skin near the ears, muzzle and underbelly
- Sweat from the paws
If a dog displaying these symptoms doesn’t get to cool down, more serious symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, will start showing and can lead to heat stroke in the worst-case scenario.
In addition, some dogs are more prone to heat strokes than others. It’s mostly breeds that have problems breathing or with some medical condition. It’s usually the following:
- Brachycephalic breeds. These dogs are flat-faced, which makes it hard for them to breath and pant effectively. Examples of brachycephalic breeds are French bulldogs, boxers, pekingese etc.
- Obese dogs
- Dogs with laryngeal paralysis
- Dogs who have already had a heat stroke
- Dark coated dogs, as they absorb more heat
- Puppies and senior dogs
- Dogs with any medical condition
How Do I Cool Down My Dog?
It’s always better to prevent than cure, but if it’s too late for that you have to know how to cool down your dog if needed. First of all, always make sure your dog has access to fresh water during warm days. Second, if you’re spending time outside during a hot day, try to choose a place where you know your dog will have access to shade or provide it yourself somehow.
You can also bring some refreshing snacks to cool down your dog, such as cold watermelon slices. This is a great option, as it’s refreshing and hydrating at the same time. You can also use a spray bottle with water and sprinkle water on your dog’s body from time to time, as this will create a cooling effect.
Finally, choose appropriate temperature to exercise your dog . In other words, don’t take a long walk at noon – morning and evening are much better options.
However, if your dog starts showing signs of hyperthermia, even in spite of these preventive measures, take him or her inside at once and provide water and put cold, wet towels on its stomach and under the armpits. If the symptoms are more serious, contact your vet as soon as possible.
For more information on dogs and heat strokes, read this article.
Do Dogs Or People Tolerate Heat Better?
Even though it can be really tough to endure really hot days for us, it’s actually even more difficult for dogs. Considering they don’t have nearly as many sweat glands as we do and that their main way to cool off is through panting, dogs have a harder time during summer days.
Even though sweating isn’t that pleasant for us, it’s still a very effective way of cooling down – a way dogs don’t have. Once again, the heat is especially difficult to tolerate for bracycephalic dogs. So, if you have a dog that falls down under that category, pay extra attention and take the necessary preventive measures.
No, dogs don’t sweat through their tongue. However, the mouth and tongue are very important in their cooling-down process as panting is dogs’ main way of regulating the body temperature. But just because they don’t sweat through the tongue, it doesn’t mean that dogs don’t sweat at all!
Namely, dogs do have sweat glands, but not on pretty much the whole body like we do. Instead, their sweat glands are located on their paws and a smaller amount on the nose. They also have sweat glands that release pheromones, but they don’t play a part in the cooling down process.
Because of the lack of sweat glands and since panting is the main way of maintaining a normal temperature, dogs tolerate heat less than we do. This goes especially for breeds with flat faces that makes it hard to breath. So, you always have to make sure your dog is getting cooled down one way or another.
For instance, your dog should always have access to fresh water and shade during hot days. You can also bring refreshing treats and sprinkle water on your dogs coat from time to time. These are only some ideas – feel free to improvise as long as it keeps your dogs cool and happy!
Remember – dogs can’t sweat out the heat, so he or she will really appreciate the help you’re providing.