DO DOGS SWEAT?
by Miriam Kerins
This article is written as a
guideline and as an education/ information source only. It
is in no way intended to be used, nor should it ever be
used, as a substitute for professional veterinary and/or dog
training advice. If you have any concerns regarding your
animal's health or behaviour, please contact your local
veterinarian, who is a professional; without delay.
asked an interesting question by a dog owner during the week
which made me chuckle. ďDo dogs sweat and can they
become smelly?Ē He enquired. My answer was, er, yes
and no. Let me explain.
donít Ďsweat,í or perspire in the same way as we
humans do, but they can overheat and yes, they can produce
attention at the back of the class, because hereís the
science bit. As humans, when our body temperature builds up
due to vigorous exercise, etc., we perspire and it becomes
quite obvious Ė damp patches under the arm pits, moisture
droplets on the skin and unpleasant body odour. This is
because our sweat glands are distributed all over our
bodies. However, a dogís body is different. His/her sweat
glands are located around his/her foot pads (merocrine
glands), so when he/she overheats due to hot weather, or due
to too much exercise, (which shouldnít be happening,
especially in this heat), you will notice little wet paw
shaped patches where heís/sheís been walking. Your dog will
also have what is known as apocrine glands which do not
function in order to keep him cool, but instead, to release
pet overheats, in order to control his/her body temperature,
he/she will pant quite a bit. This action makes the moisture
on his/her tongue evaporate, and the heavy breathing that
accompanies it allows the moist lining of his/her lungs to
become a surface from which excess moisture can also
evaporate. Hence his/her body should cool effectively.
important tip for those who own bulldogs and pugs:
These are breeds with a compromised respiration system,
meaning they are at a higher risk of overheating because
they are unable to pant efficiently; so please keep this in
mind when exercising.
sometimes, along with your petís panting comes doggie body
odour which can be unpleasant for some pet owners. So, as
his/her parent, itís up to you to help alleviate his/her
discomfort. Of course this depends on the cause of his/her
body odour, and if you are unsure that itís simply due to
overheating, then itís always best to contact your vet
meantime, here are a few tips to help you to help your dog
to remain a cool canine.
● If you
believe the odour coming from your dog was caused by him/her
being in contact with something unpleasant like fox poo,
then give him/her a bath with a normal dog shampoo, but
clean and rinse him/her thoroughly Ė if youíve ever smelled
a dog who has rolled in fox poo, youíll know what I mean.
My Jack Russell cannot resist rolling around in it.
● If you
believe itís his/her diet then, consider altering it.
However, seek the advice of your vet regarding a substitute
food brand, and make the transition slowly. Some dog food
can cause a build-up of oils on your dogís skin, and a lower
fat diet may help with this. Again, always consult your vet
before you change your dogís diet.
sure you feed your pet a high quality dog food. Some low
quality foods may not contain the essential vitamins your
dog requires to maintain proper health and vitality. Read
the label. Follow the manufacturerís instructions.
your dog from eating dog faeces. Yep, again one of my fur
babies has a fascination with faeces. No sheís not strange,
itís an inherited behaviour due to her being chained up by
her previous cruel owner where she used to not only try and
tidy her soiled area, bless her, she also used her faeces as
a food source, given she was also starved by this cruel
individual. However, it is the case that many dogs do eat
faeces for no reason, and you must watch them carefully and
try to prevent it from happening by immediately cleaning the
area, taking the poo away.
If your dog eats his/her own poo, add a few pineapple chunks
to his/her food. Once the pineapple is absorbed, the dog
goes to the toilet and then decides to eat it, the taste of
the added pineapple will make his/her poo taste bitter and
your dog should eventually stop. Sorry, Iíve got no tips for
preventing him/her eating other dogsí poo other than to keep
him/her away from it.
If youíre uncertain as to what is causing your dogís body
odour, (as in you know itís not overheating or any of the
above), then please take him/her to the vet for a full
health check because serious health conditions need to be
ruled out. Conditions such as an infection, mange, dental
problems and cancer etc., can all cause unpleasant doggie
odours, so itís always best to get an expert opinion and who
better to provide this than your local vet.
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