Human Vs. Dog Temperature Regulation

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Homeostasis is constant regulation of your body; it uses certain structures in your body to perform functions which help keep the body in a constant state of wellbeing. In this essay attributes which keep dogs and humans at a constant temperature will be compared, contrasted and explored. Thermoregulation is what keeps your body at a stable temperature, this is part of homeostasis. This concept of thermoregulation will be explored in this essay, three key concepts in particular: vasodilation and vasoconstriction, physical behaviours and evaporative cooling.

Vasodilation and Vasoconstriction

Vasodilation and vasoconstriction are a thermoregulation technique used by dogs and often by humans. As stated by health line, vasodilation helps to cool down the blood, whilst vasoconstriction warms the blood. Furthermore, vasodilation is when your blood vessels dilate and get larger, this allows for the blood vessels to be closer to the skin, therefore being more able to transfer the heat energy to the surface of the skin through radiation. This transfer means that there is less heat energy in the body, this is something that humans will often use as well as dogs. Now, vasoconstriction is the process of making your blood vessels for constrict, this means that there is more of a barrier between the blood vessels and the skin. The flesh in between will act as an insulator and preserve the heat in your body, this means in cold temperatures, your body temperature will not decrease as quickly. Both of these methods show how dogs and humans regulate their body temperature, whether its cold or whether it’s hot.

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Physical and Behavioural Strategies

Dogs and humans have certain physical and behavioural strategies in order to help control your body heat. Strategies like these are things that are hardwired into our brain, such as the feeling of being thirsty means we should drink. Dogs often have similar responses to that such as dogs will go and find a cool place to sit or they will take a drink, you may wonder what these have to do with homeostasis. But this feeling of thirstiness is controlled by the hypothalamus which the part of the brain which controls homeostasis, the kidneys will detect that there is a lack of water. This message will be sent to the hypothalamus and then back to the kidneys telling them that they need to preserve water, so they will hold onto the water and put it more of it into the blood stream instead of urinating this liquid. Until the body gets more water the hypothalamus simulates the feeling of thirst as discovered by Yuki Oka, the brain controls the feeling of thirst meaning that they could locate where nerves that control thirst are then simulate the feeling of thirst through them and even simulate the feeling of not being thirsty. These methods that are both used by dogs and humans which controls when they are thirsty, so they’ll get a drink and then when they’re not thirsty, so they’ll not get a drink. This is an effective method that both dogs and humans show to use, this reaction has helped us, and dogs survive for millennia.


Evaporative cooling is the process of cooling one down by evaporating liquid off of your body in one form or another; both humans and dogs harness this ability in order to maintain homeostasis. As stated by khan academy,

Counter current is cooling down the blood by cooling the warm blood from running a blood vessel next to another cooler blood vessel, this in turn cools down the warmer blood vessel through convection. Panting is when you see a dog with its tongue out and it is breathing fairly heavily, what this does is it helps evaporate the saliva from the tongue, because a lot of blood goes through the tongue, the evaporation of the saliva cools down this blood, therefore cooling down the internal body temperature. Both of these methods allow for dogs to cool down, although this method isn’t used for humans.

Sweating is something that we all do this lowers our body temperature to ensure that we keep a stable temperature, all-year-round. Both dogs and humans have sweat glands, but dogs only sweat in places without hair because of their insulating coat.

This quote from Khan Academy shows how sweating works, as we drink water the minerals contained in it are released in our sweat, hence why we have electrolytes when we play sports. When the water that you sweat gets to the surface of your skin, through the pores, it will evaporate. This evaporation cools down the surface of your skin and ultimately lowers your internal body temperature. Sweating, whilst not as active in a dog, is used seen in humans and dogs, this mechanism cools down the body temperature dramatically.


There are three main ways in which animals can control their body temperature, evaporative, vasodilation and constriction and physical behaviours. Thermoregulation is vital to certain animals needs such as dogs and humans as it helps them survive and maintain the same body temperature all year. 


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