Dogs don't sweat like we do. Sweating is an important mechanism that allows humans to fight the heat. Excess heat is dispersed from the body when the moisture produced when we sweat evaporates on the surface of the skin.
This is not so with our furry friends. There is a misconception that dogs do not have the capability to produce sweat. There is an assumption that because of the fur it would not be possible for the dog to sweat.
You may have had dogs for years but it is highly probable that you have not seen one sweating. Dogs have very few sweat glands and these sweat glands are mostly located at the pads on their feet. Contrary to the belief, dogs do sweat. Dog paws wet with sweat can be seen marking pavements on hot days.
What methods does a dog have to combat the heat? Dogs bark and dogs pant.
Panting is a dog's effective technique of coping with the heat and ensuring that cooler blood will be circulated to all parts of the body and to prevent the brain, the most heat sensitive part from being affected by excessive heat. Not much energy is needed by a dog to pant.
When the dog lolls the tongue, the cooling system switch will be turned on and excess body heat will be gone. A dog's tongue is one important tool in regulating body temperature.
The few sweat glands on the dogs paws will be incapable of cooling the body especially if the feet is planted on a hot surface. Cooling off is achieved through the tongue. By hanging out the tongue, the dog boosts the evaporation of moisture from the tongue's surface.
Air that cools the mouth and the blood vessels on the head is created when the dog pants. Once blood is cooled by the dog's panting the normal level of body temperature will be attained.
Dogs pant for other reasons.
Hot weather causes dogs to pant excessively. Excitement, stress or exhaustion from a strenuous activity will make a dog pant. Because of their physical structure, short faced dogs have the tendency to pant excessively. Seizures, heart and lung diseases are other reasons why a dog would pant.
Dogs normally pant but pet owners have to be watchful.
Heavy panting can be a manifestation of heatstroke. Dogs are severely affected by high temperatures. Cars and other confined spaces will be dangerous to a dog especially on hot weather. Heatstroke is one of the common causes of canine deaths.
Want to know more about why dogs pant? Then visit Sarah's Dogs. Sarah's Dogs has answers to this and many other questions about dog behaviour.