What You Need to Know About Sweaty Paws in Dogs
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 they leave footprints around and the paws aren't wet by water. These footprints are more noticeable on certain surfaces, such as 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 (merocrine 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 sweating? Most likely, he is hot, but there may be other factors at play.
Why Do 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!
Sweaty Paws as 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 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 that you can help your dog by using dog calming aids such as DAP diffusers, Thundershirts, or you may help your dog by implementing dog behavior modification with the aid of a dog behavior professional.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2014 Adrienne Farricelli