Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Dogs Sweat

Whose body is better at keeping cool, you or your dog?

YOU! It may be uncomfortable for you to sweat profusely, but it's an efficient method to regulate temperature. When it comes to keeping cool, we have it made compared to our dogs.

Dogs don't have the luxury of overall cooling as humans do. In people, sweat glands help regulate temperature by bringing warm moisture to the surface of the skin, which causes cooling as the water evaporates. Because sweat glands are located all over the human body, cooling takes place over a greater surface area of the skin than it does in dogs. Dogs don't have the luxury of overall cooling because their bodies have very few sweat glands, and most of those are in the footpads.

Most people believe that the dog's tongue contains sweat glands, but this is not true. The dog's tongue and mouth are associated with many salivary glands that produce different forms of saliva. Some cooling takes place as the panting dog moves air across saliva-moistened surfaces of the mouth cavity.

Dogs also dissipate heat by dilating (expanding) blood vessels in the face and ears. Dilating blood vessels helps cool the dogs blood by causing it to flow closer to the surface of the skin.

So keep your dog cool this summer. Excessive play on a hot day can lead to overheating (hyperthermia) and eventually to heat stroke which are very serious conditions. An overheated dog is a real emergency situation requiring veterinarian attention immediately.

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