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Why do dogs pant when they're hot?

3690 day(s) ago

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Unlike humans, dogs have very small sweat glands that can only be used for scent marking. They have several systems to get rid of excess body heat, but mostly this is done by using their tongues like evaporative coolers.

When the dog gets hot, blood flow increases to its tongue, making it bigger.

The dog will stick its tongue out and take quick, short breaths to make saliva evaporate.

Dogs use a similar system with their lungs, which have a wet coating to exhale moist air. They can also dilate the blood vessels in their face and ears to help bring blood to the surface and cool it. These mechanisms aren't as affective as human sweating, making dogs far more susceptible to heat exhaustion.

A dog suffering from heat exhaustion will act confused and sluggish. If you think your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, spray him or her down with water and then wrap your dog in cold towels. DON'T use ice water: this will close the blood vessels the dog uses for cooling, making it more difficult for your dog to return to a healthy body temperature. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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