Welcome, pet parents! Have you ever wondered whether your furry friends sweat or how they cool down physiologically in hot temperatures? Prepare to be whisked away on a tail-wagging adventure through the mysterious realms of pet perspiration (or lack thereof) as we unravel the truths behind those damp fur moments and answer the question: Do pets sweat?
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- Do Pets Have Sweat Glands
- How Does a Dog Sweat
- What Animals Do Not Sweat
- Top Tips for Cooling Your Pets
Do Pets Have Sweat Glands
Yes, many of your pets do have sweat glands and, therefore, sweat, but it’s not always quite the way you’d expect. Both cats and dogs sweat (in their ways), but pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and hamsters do not. (Just to name a few.)
Both dogs and cats have sweat glands. Dogs have two sets, known as eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. In cats, sweat glands are in the paws. Sweating is not the primary method of reducing temperature or temperature regulation in dogs and cats, though.
How Does a Dog Sweat
Eccrine sweat glands in a dog are on parts of the body that are devoid of hair. One example of this is on the pads of their paws. On the other hand, you'll find apocrine sweat glands on your dog’s skin. Their main function is not to sweat, though; they are more involved with producing pheromones and are in areas with dense hair follicles, like the armpits and genital areas.
Although dogs don’t sweat, they do regulate their temperature in other ways, such as:
- Cooling with saliva (licking);
- Drinking water;
- Hanging out in shaded or cool areas;
- Dilation of the skin’s blood vessels is known as vasodilation.
If you notice these behaviors on your Pet Camera or in person, it’s time to provide cooling tools.
How Does a Cat Sweat
Cats have eccrine sweat glands on their paws and the pads. They have fewer sweat glands than dogs and humans, but just like dogs, they have alternate ways of cooling down in hot temperatures or after a period of exercise.
- Licking (cooling with saliva);
- Seeking shade or cool areas;
- Constant grooming (licking);
- Lying completely flat (maximum contact with cool surfaces or materials);
- Drinking water (especially more than normal).
Fun fact: Humans have slightly acidic sweat, but research has proven that cats have alkaline sweat.
It's vital to remember that cats can struggle in hot weather. They are much more susceptible to heatstroke due to their limited ability to sweat.
What Animals Do Not Sweat
Human-like sweat glands and sweating are quite rare in the rest of the animal kingdom. Most animals have other ways of cooling themselves, such as those listed above for cats and dogs.
There are only a handful of animals that sweat in the same way that humans do, none of which are typical pets.
- Baboons, macaques, chimpanzees, gorillas, Bornean orangutans, and a few other primates;
- Flying foxes, plus a handful of other bat species;
- African elephants;
The interesting thing about sweat glands in these animals is that the eccrine glands do not produce sweat to cool down in hot temperatures. Instead, studies have shown that the sweat has other uses, such as aiding with grip when swinging from branch to branch.
The following common pets in the United States do not have sweat glands and/or cannot sweat:
- Guinea pigs;
Top Tips for Cooling Your Pets
Because many of your pets can’t regulate their temperature, it is your responsibility to ensure they don’t overheat. Petcube’s Emergency Fund can provide financial support in times of pet emergencies, such as dehydration, but if the issue was caused by owner negligence (such as not appropriately caring for your pet in hot weather), you may find that conventional and non-conventional insurance providers refuse to cover it.
You must provide your pets, regardless of species, with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water. This will help them stay hydrated and prevent heatstroke and dehydration. They will also need shade, good ventilation, and a place to lie down when the sun is at its hottest. Cool tiles work well, but you can also invest in pet cooling mats, soak a towel in cold water for them to cool down on, or install a kiddie pool in the shade.
Ice cubes and treats frozen in ice work well to entertain pets, cool them down, and hydrate them. Pet-safe vests designed for cooling, pet-safe sunscreen, trimming (but not shaving) doggy fur, and good grooming also help.
Where does a cat sweat the most?
Cats rarely sweat and don't have as many sweat glands as humans and dogs, but they do sweat the most from the pads on their paws.
Do cats sweat through their noses?
No, cats do not sweat from their noses. There are no sweat glands in the nose. You may find that your cat pants or breathes louder, faster, or heavier when they're hot; this is their way of reducing their temperature. Anything higher than 37°C (98°F) is dangerous for your feline friends, but you should provide cooling methods for anything over 20°C (68°F) or when your pet seems hot.
Why does my dog sweat so much?
Dogs don't sweat like humans do, so it's not normal for your dog to be sweaty-wet like you are after a run. The wetness could indicate a few things, such as your pup playing in the water, urinary incontinence, infections (pus), or other skin issues.
Although sweat is normal for some pets, it's not normal for them to be dripping with sweat, which could be a sign that they are overheating or dehydrated. If this is something you've noticed, it's recommended to seek advice from a licensed veterinarian, such as Petcube's 24/7 vets. Once you know what the problem is, you can treat it.
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