Panting is your dog’s cooling system. Dogs breathe around 35 times per minute. A panting dog may breathe in and out 400 times a minute! When dogs become overheated, their personal air conditioner kicks in and they start to pant. In order for panting to be effective, the dog must be hydrated (have sufficient water in his or her system).
While panting, the dog only uses the upper portion of the respiratory tract, causing air to move very quickly over the moist mouth. This air flowing over moist cells is what provides the cooling effect. Just like wind moving over sweaty skin lowers your body temperature, air moving over moist mouth and respiratory cells, cools your dog!
Many believe that dogs sweat through their paws. This is correct. Heat will cause a dog to release fluids through the eccrine glands in their paws. However, the eccrine glands do not release enough perspiration to facilitate cooling or thermoregulation.
In comparision to cows sheep and horses, the amount of cooling via sweat glands in dogs is negligible.
Dogs also sweat through their paws when stressed or anxious. This is why your dog may leave behind damp paw prints when he or she is not overheated.
The normal temperature for a dog’s body is around 101.5 -102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the body temperature rises, dogs start to pant. If the dog’s temperature rises to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a true emergency.
Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions for Aggression, Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN