Discover the Strange Way Dogs Sweat

Four Berger Blanc Suisse puppies in a basket in a field
© Lelusy/

Written by Marisa Wilson

Published: October 4, 2022

Share on:


You are walking on a hot day with sweat pouring almost everywhere. It may sound like a stinky situation, but ultimately the sweat cools you off. While no one enjoys sweat stains, it is nice to know our body can cool us off effectively. You might walk with your pup on a hot day and wonder where it sweats because its fur never gets drenched like your shirt. 

Dogs sweat uniquely, and the reason is just as important as why we sweat. They may not cool off as effectively as humans, so it’s essential to know what you can do to help keep your pup cool in the summer. Keep reading to learn how dogs sweat and how you can help them from overheating.

Where Do Dogs Sweat?

Dog licking human

Dogs have two different types of sweat glands: merocrine and apocrine.

©Kazlova Iryna/

Only some areas of a dog’s body create sweat. Dogs have two different types of sweat glands: merocrine and apocrine. Human sweat glands and merocrine sweat glands have comparable functions. These glands, found in the dog’s paw pads, start to cool your pet off when it becomes overheated. 

This is why, on scorching days, you could see damp paw prints on the ground. Because most dogs have fur covering their body, they couldn’t have sweat glands because the perspiration wouldn’t evaporate. Sweating evaporates, which causes cooling. Dogs’ paw pads, which have less fur, are where sweat glands are located since it makes them considerably more effective. 

Merocrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands are two distinct types. Although apocrine glands are thought by vets to be sweat glands, they emit pheromones rather than sweat to keep your dog cool. These glands, which can be found all over a dog’s body, aid in a dog’s ability to recognize other canines by scent.

How Dogs Use Panting To Cool Off 

Dog panting is a crucial mechanism by which dogs control their body temperature. Through panting, dogs can reduce body temperature by cooling off as water evaporates in their mouths and tongues. Because panting forces air across the dog’s wet mucous membranes in its mouth and nose, panting aids canines in controlling their body temperature. A dog’s core body temperature will decrease due to the evaporation of water from these locations.

Another Way Dogs Cool Off

Another way doggies cool off is through a process known as vasodilation. Vasodilation is the medical term for the dilation or enlargement of blood vessels. Blood vessels in your dog’s cheeks, ears, and other hot spots enlarge in response to heat, bringing heated blood closer to the skin’s surface, where it cools. Then, the heart receives the cooled blood again. This process regulates the internal temperature of your dog. Due to vasodilation, your dog may appear flushed and have a slightly wrinkled face when hot.

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Too Hot

dogs at kennel

Dogs can cool themselves via panting, dilating blood vessels, and sweating through their paw pads.

©Jayme Burrows/

You might believe that dogs are less likely to overheat since they have these unique ways to cool off when it’s hot outside. That is untrue. Dogs can cool themselves via panting, dilating blood vessels, and sweating through their paw pads, but these mechanisms are ineffective compared to human sweat. 

Dogs may experience several symptoms of overheating, varying from heat stress to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Frenetic panting, excessive salivation, bright-red colored membranes, and hard breathing are all telltale indicators that your dog is overheating. If its temperature exceeds 106 0F, and it cannot cool itself, it may swiftly experience a metabolic meltdown.

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Having a Heat Stroke

Heatstroke can happen when a dog’s panting and vasodilation are insufficient to keep it cool. Exercise, being confined in a hot automobile, and not having access to cool, fresh water on a hot day are a few things that can cause heatstroke in dogs. 

If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, call your vet immediately and take your doggie to the hospital as soon as possible for care and monitoring. If heatstroke is not treated, it can be fatal, so it’s critical to identify the signs and act fast. Dog heat exhaustion signs include:

  • Red gums
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Incoordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A lot of panting
  • Ropey, thick saliva
  • The dog feels hot to the touch

What Dogs Are at an Increased Risk of Heat Stroke

As a dog’s internal temperature increases due to heatstroke, damages can occur, and organ failure can result. One in seven dogs who are taken to the vet with heatstroke die. What dogs are more at risk? Dogs that are overweight have flat noses. The following breeds are the most frequently taken to the vet for heatstroke:

Reducing the Chance of Heat Stroke

Dog drinking water from bottle

Water is crucial when it’s scorching and humid outside since it regulates the body’s interior temperature.


The first defense in keeping your dog cool in hot weather is to have cool water available for it to drink. Water is crucial when it’s scorching and humid outside since it regulates the body’s interior temperature. While it may be enjoyable for your dog to relax in the sun on a hot summer day, leaving your dog outside for an extended period can lead to heat stroke. Make sure to frequently bring your canine buddy indoors, where it is cool and cozy

Outside Tips

Don’t let your dog be outside for more than 15 or 20 minutes when it’s hot outside. Brush your dog’s coat while you are still inside with your pet. This thins out the coat by removing loose fur, which keeps your dog a little bit cooler. Avoid over-exerting your dog in the heat, mainly if they are obese or brachycephalic. 

Instead of exercising your dog in the heat of the day, try the morning or evening when the temperature is slightly lower. Even if your car sits in the shade and the windows are cracked, you should never leave your dog inside on a hot day. Bring your dog inside when you get to your location, or leave it inside where it is cool and comfortable.


Dogs sweat through their paws, which can be weird to humans, but it makes sense why they have glands there. Next time you’re in the heat, remember that your dog doesn’t sweat to cool off like you do while you spend time with your cherished pet this summer.

Your dog will be fine if you limit its exposure to heat and humidity, give it lots of fresh water, and remember to look out for the obvious signs of overheating. As long as you carefully watch your doggie, it should be fine on hot days. Let others know how dogs sweat by sharing this article and help other doggie owners be ready to keep their pups cool on hot days. Everyone likes hotdogs, but no one should have a hot dog.

Up Next:

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share this post on:
About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.