Why Does My Dog Feel Sweaty? – 7 Reasons

One might assume that a dog feeling sweaty means that he is hot. To our surprise, not necessarily.

Dogs sweat when they are excited, stressed, or simply when they are thirsty!

Although sweating is not as apparent in dogs as in humans, it does exist.

And it carries a very diverse set of functions too.

Why does my Dog Feel Sweaty

Let’s discuss this in detail in this article. Why does your dog feel sweaty? Is it normal?

What’s with the sweating in the armpits?

Is It Normal For A Dog To Sweat?

Popular belief is, and your observation might also comply with it, that dogs do not sweat the way we humans do.

But tell you what, they do have sweat glands in their body. And, evidently, they sweat too.

Your dog has two types of sweat glands in its body:

  • Merocrine Glands
  • Apocrine Glands

Merocrine Glands:

Sweat glands cannot work for dogs the way they do for us. Sweat evaporates and gives a cooling effect.

But your canine has got fur over its body which prevents the sweat from evaporating.

So, nature has put some sweat glands, called merocrine sweat glands, in the dog’s paws.

When its body temperature rises, the sweat glands activate and secrete sweat that evaporates and helps your pooch cool down.

This is the reason why particularly during hot days, you might notice damp paw prints on the ground. 

Now we know that sweating is a completely normal phenomenon in dogs too.

Apocrine Glands:

These are the glands located, actually distributed throughout your dog’s body.

As explained above, these glands and their secretions cannot help maintain the dog’s body temperature.

So, what are these glands secreting? And why?

Apocrine glands secrete a thick fluid that is not practically sweat.

This thick fluid contains pheromones, which give your canine a specific odor.

More importantly, this thick fluid traps bacteria and puts a barrier to its spread.

Additionally, there is a sebaceous gland, another type of gland which is also located near the hair follicle.

Also known as oil glands, they secrete an oily fluid called sebum that helps keep the dog’s skin and coat healthy and shiny.

You can notice an unpleasant odor when these glands overly secrete oil and are sometimes mistaken as sweat as your dog’s skin feels clammy.

Why Does My Dog Feel Sweaty?

Feeling hot is just one of the reasons why your dog may be sweating.

The same goes for other species, too, including humans.

We sweat when we are nervous or anxious, or it may be pathological.

In the same way, your dog can be sweating due to any of the following reasons:

1. Your Dog Is Under Some Stressful Situation

Your dog can also respond by profusely sweating when he is in some stressful situation.

Sweating may be a general physiological stress response, but some believe it is a coping mechanism.

Sweating and moisture in the paw pads help the dog run away fast.

This profuse sweating usually goes away when the stress trigger is removed.

Dogs are human-friendly but very sensitive animals.

Even being around a stressed family member can make them frustrated and anxious.

So, when you find your Dog sweating profusely, try to find out what triggers him.

It can be something as minor as a toy. This is important for his mental health too.

Because some dog species are more prone to developing such mental health problems as fear and anxiety.

If not dealt with on time, your dog may begin to lose his physical health too.

2. Hot Summers

And then comes the obvious reason. Hot weather, dehydration, and rising body temperature can stimulate sweating in your dog.

Not very much, but it does help the animal in coping with heat to some extent.

3. Hyperhidrosis

Since sweating is not very common in dogs, profuse sweating in your pet might indicate some pathology.

If you notice that your puppy’s paw pads remain moist all the time, this abnormality is called hyperhidrosis.

Your dog is sometimes feeling stressed and sweats a lot through its paws.

But don’t go ahead and diagnose your dog just here. Consult a vet!

4. Your Dog Is Super-excited

Why Some Dogs Feel Sweaty

As a dog owner, you understand better how difficult it is to calm an over-excited dog.

Your Dog sweating profusely might just be telling that he is over-excited!

Although very rare, some dog species do sweat when they are aroused.

5. He Is Simply Thirsty!

It’s not always a major concern when your dog is suddenly feeling very thirsty for just a day. 

Especially during the hot season, it is very normal for dogs especially the very active ones and mother dogs that nurse their pups to need a lot of water. 

Dehydration can make your dog sweaty, too, especially in hot environments.

In fact, some dogs just LIKE to drink water!

And since they cannot ask for it, they become anxious when they want to drink water.

Try giving him water when your dog feels sweaty.


6. He Is Bored, Frustrated, Or Unattended To

Owners are extremely dear to dog pets. Instances are numerous!

Some dog breeds experience anxiety, restlessness, fear, and frustration when they don’t receive enough attention.

Also, some intelligent dog breeds become bored easily when they do not have enough engaging activities.

Puppies may respond to any of these situations by sweating.

7. Mutual Identification

The apocrine sweat (not practically sweat, though) contains pheromones.

These pheromones, when they come in contact with bacteria, produce a characteristic odor.

It may not be significant for pet dogs, but it does hold great importance for dogs in packs.

They use this odor to identify each other. 

Do Dogs Sweat Like Humans?

No, they do not. They sweat only in certain areas of their body, such as the paw pads.

Specifically paw pads, because these are the areas open to the air, not covered by fur.

And sweat can easily evaporate from the paws and provide a cooling effect.

Other than this, there is no similarity in the sweat mechanisms of dogs and humans.

Why Does My Dog Sweat Under His Arms?

And here come again the apocrine glands!

These apocrine glands are particularly found in the armpit and genital areas of a dog.

Here these apocrine glands secrete a thick fluid that serves two main functions:

  1. It contains pheromones that help your dog communicate and get an identity among his fellow pooches.
  2. It traps bacteria and gives a particular odor to his body.

Some studies suggest that this thick fluid from the apocrine glands may prevent a sudden temperature rise.

But because these areas are covered with fur, apocrine secretions have no thermoregulatory role.

So, don’t worry if you find your dog sweating under his arms.

He is most probably not hot, as you might suppose.

It is completely normal, and you just need to bathe him regularly for hygiene. That’s it!

Is It Normal For My Pup To Feel Sweaty On His Head And Belly?

Dogs do not sweat on their heads and bellies at all.

They have got other effective mechanisms for heat control purposes.

You may feel these areas of your Pup’s body hot at times, as blood vessels expand and bring warm blood closer to the skin’s surface, then cools down, but never sweaty.

In the former case, take him somewhere shady and try to cool him down.

Nothing more than that is necessary, for example, panicking!

Do Dogs Stress Sweat?

The presence of merocrine sweat glands in the paw pads of most dog species has another significance.

The moisture in the paws provides better traction on some surfaces to facilitate the animal in running away from the stressful situation.

So, profuse merocrine sweating in the paw pad area is often interpreted as a stress response.

Besides, the wet paws leave the footmarks of the running dog on the ground.

This helps the owner or his fellows track him.

Summing Up!

It’s basically the merocrine glands doing their job that your dog feels sweaty.

On areas other than his paw pads, it’s just a thick fluid containing pheromones released by the apocrine glands.

So, when you feel like your dog is sweating, remember that it’s normal.

And it can be caused by anything ranging from hot weather to stress, or anxiety.

You may consult a vet if you feel like the sweating is profuse and has no apparent reason.