Do dogs sweat?

A dog's body temperature is controlled by their brain. When there are increases in outside temperatures, or a dog gets excited, stressed, or they have simply been exercising, their body gets a signal from their brain to lose the extra body heat. In humans, this usually results in sweating.

Dogs do have some sweat glands, but considerably fewer than in humans, and their skin is covered in fur which minimizes the amount of cooling that sweating can provide.

Most of a dog's sweat glands are located around their paw pads. You may have seen damp footprints from your dog when they have walked across a hard surface in the summertime.

Panting is by far the most efficient way for a dog to cool themselves. It works by allowing heat from the hottest part of their body, the inner thorax, to escape through moisture produced by the mucous membranes of the tongue, mouth, and throat. The dog exhales the moist air, and the process of evaporation cools the dog.

Dilated blood vessels in the skin of the face and ears can also help a dog to cool down by bringing warm blood closer to the body's surface.

If these processes cannot be performed or the body is overwhelmed and cannot cool itself enough, heat stroke and death may occur.

What can make a dog too hot?

    A fever
    Excitement and stress
    Warm air temperatures
    Lying near warm objects (heater, another animal, a person, camp fire)
    Exercise
    Being trapped in a car or home that's too hot
    Lack of water or other means to cool off
    Lack of shade in warm weather

Does my dog have a fever or is my dog just hot?

A temperature consistently over 102.8˚ F is cause for concern in dogs. Signs of a fever include reluctance to move, increased frequency of breathing, depression, anorexia, lethargy or listlessness.

If you are unsure whether your dog actually has a fever, rest your dog for 20 minutes, then check the rectal temperature again. If your dog is acting normal other than panting and having an increased temperature, chances are it is hyperthermia rather than a true fever.

Hyperthermia is simply an increase in body temperature. This may be due to outside temperatures, excitement, exercise or other causes and is not a true fever. 

What increases heat stroke risk in dogs?

    Heart or lung disease
    Any illness has the potential to increase the risk of heat stroke
    Brachycephalic breeds, such as pugs or bulldogs
    Being overweight
    Puppies and seniors are more susceptible
    Heavy fur breeds like sheepdogs

Why does my dog have an increased temperature?

A dog's body temperature may be increased due to many things. A fever increases the body's set temperature point (the normal temperature range of 100-102.5° F) to assist the immune system by activating immune cells to attack the foreign invader, such as a bacterial infection. With increased environmental temperatures and other causes of hyperthermia, the body's set temperature point is not increased for any great length of time. The body temperature is temporarily increased but can cool off over a short period of time as long as cooling mechanisms are not overwhelmed by too much intense heat.

Emergency measures for dogs with heat stroke

If your dog appears to be overheated or is not acting normal, contact your veterinarian immediately. Heat stroke is possible in dogs and can be lethal. Organ failure, brain swelling, blood clotting disorders, or death may occur as a direct result of your dog having heat stroke. For a very hot dog, applying cool water to the groin, armpits, and the front of the neck will help to cool them down. Provide fresh water to drink, and contact your veterinarian.