Published April 2022
Hot weather provides a great chance to get outside with your pet. Every dog loves playing outside, but with hot weather comes risks. So, you may have questions, like “Do dogs sweat?
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked, as well as some helpful advice to keep your pooch happy, healthy and most importantly – cool!
So, do dogs sweat?
While it’s a common myth that dogs don’t sweat, they actually do. They just don’t sweat in the same way as humans.
You might not have guessed it, but a dog’s sweat glands are primarily in their paws. However, there are not enough glands to cool your pet down, like our sweat glands do for us. So, when the weather heats up, dogs can’t rely on sweating to help cool them down like we can. To keep our dogs cool, we need to help them out.
How does my dog cool itself down?
The main method is panting. This helps to evaporate moisture from the lining of the of the nose, mouth and the surface of the tongue. If your dog is panting too heavily, it could be a sign of overheating so make sure there’s plenty of cool water and shade available.
Another method is a process called vasodilation. This involves the dog bringing hot blood directly to the surface of the skin. The blood then cools down before returning to the heart.
Dogs like to find a cool spot such as a tiled floor to get rid of the heat. Their fur is also designed to allow air to move through it. This helps them to stay cool.
What’s a fun way to help my dog stay cool?
A fun way to keep your dog cool is a day out at the beach or a lake! Jumping into water will cool your dog down quickly. If you’re staying in, setting up a paddling pool in the garden will provide your dog a quick way of keeping cool. Some dogs also love being sprayed with a garden hose or watering can.
Ponds, lakes and reservoirs, contain bacteria that may cause an upset stomach if your dog consumes a lot. Seawater can also make them sick. So make sure you carry plenty of cool clean water for your dog to drink so they don’t need to find their own!
Should I cut my dog’s coat for the hot weather?
A dog’s coat is important, the hair floats as your dog moves, allowing air to circulate and reach the skin to cool it down. While a summer trim is recommended for some long-haired dogs, shaving your dog may leave them open to sunburn and skin cancer, as well as vulnerable to the cold.
For the areas with less hair, like the belly, nose and ears apply canine sunblock to protect your dog from UV rays. Never use human sunblock on your pet; it contains zinc oxide, which is toxic to dogs.
What’s the best time to walk my dog in hot weather?
Try to walk your pet either in the mornings or later in the evening. Pavements can get scorching hot during the day, which will burn your dog’s paws. If you are in any doubt, put your hand on the pavement – if it feels uncomfortable for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. If you have to go outside during the daytime, stick to grass or shaded areas as much as possible.
What are the warning signs of overheating?
There are plenty of easy-to-spot signs that your dog is overheating. The most obvious are heavy panting, drooling, over consumption of water, vomiting and red gums, tongue and eyes.
If you suspect your dog might have heat stroke, seek advice from your vet immediately. It is vital to start the process of cooling your dog down as quickly as possible. Wetting the dog’s coat with cool water and using a fan are ideal as a starting point.
How do I keep my dog cool in the car?
It’s always best to avoid keeping your pet in the car for too long, especially during hot weather. Make sure your pet has a comfortable and secure area to sit in. Have the windows down or air conditioning on to make sure the car is cool and well-ventilated. Take regular breaks on longer journeys, for fresh air, water and toilet breaks.
Never leave your pet alone in a hot car, as cars heat up extremely fast and put your dog at risk of heat stroke or death. Leaving your pet alone in a hot car is deemed animal neglect under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and you may be fined.
Keep your dog cool throughout the summer months and remember to protect them with pet insurance.