Sweaty Paws in Dogs

Updated on August 30, 2014

Dogs Cooling Off Through Sweaty Paws

If your dog has sweaty paws, you may be wondering what triggers this and what you can do about it. Sweaty paws in dogs is not uncommon. It takes a bit of a trained eye to recognize sweaty paws in dogs at times as the signs can be very subtle. Generally, you notice sweaty paws in dogs when the leave footprints around and the paws aren't wet by water. These foot prints are more noticeable on certain surfaces such as a the vet's examination table, on certain dark tiles or on cement. You will rarely see sweaty foot prints on carpet and you may never notice it on grass or gravel. Upon touching your dog's paws, they will feel clammy and cool.

Why is your dog sweating from his paws? Fact is, dogs do not sweat as we do. In us humans, sweat glands are distributed over our body so we can cool ourselves down. If our internal temperature rises, our body signals the need to lower it by triggering the glands to release sweat which evaporates and effectively cools us down. Dogs have different skin, and most of their sweat glands are found on their paws.This is because unlike humans, dogs cool themselves mostly through panting. Panting allows moisture to circulate air through their bodies causing a cooling effect through evaporation. The moist lining of the tongue, mouth and lungs work as an evaporation surface. Yet, those paws are surely working hard as well in ridding the dog of excessive heat. So why are your dog's paws sweat? Most likely, he is hot, but there may be other factors at play.

Why do my my dog's feet smell like popcorn, Fritos or Cheetos?

If you ever got a whiff of your dog's feet, you may find that they smell just like popcorn, Fritos or that bag of Cheetos you brought from the snack aisle. Why is that? Dogs do not have scent glands in their feet. Some believe that it is triggered by sweat that has an odor when it becomes trapped within the hair between the foot pads, but most likely it's caused by natural occurring bacteria and yeast found on the skin. Many owners find that trimming this hair and washing the pads helps reduce this type of odor. However, many dog owners seem to like this type of smell. Chances are, if you like popcorn or Fritos you will like the smell of your dog's paws!

Dog Sweaty Paws, a Sign of Stress

Did you ever notice how the palms of your hands get clammy when you are nervous? For the same reason, dogs get sweaty paws. From an evolutionary standpoint, you may wonder what's the function of those sweaty feet. It is thought that the sweat is meant to provide traction so the dog can effectively run faster over a variety of surfaces. It's after all a great aid for the dog's fight or flight response so he can effectively run for his life when he feels frightened.

If you notice your dog has sweaty paws, see if there's a pattern when it happens. Does it happen on walks? At the vet's office? When you must leave the house? Are the sweaty paws accompanied by other signs of stress? This will help you determine what circumstances trigger stress in your dog so you can help him. Chances are, you can help your dog by using dog calming aids such as DAP diffusers or Thundershirts or you may help your dog by implementing dog behavior modification with the aid of a dog behavior professional.

Questions & Answers


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      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

        It's one of those little known facts, I guess because it's hard to see. I have yet to notice sweaty paws on my dogs but it could be just because they walk on surfaces where you would hardly notice.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        I learned another new aspect of dogs.A well- summed up hub and so interesting about dogs

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Well that was interesting. As long as I've had dogs and I did not know this. Thanks for the great information.

      • JKenny profile image

        James Kenny 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

        Great hub. Fortunately my little Jack Russell has never had sweaty paws as far as I know, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for it after this. Thank you.