Why are Dogs Noses Wet?

Why are dogs noses wet?

A much asked question over the years. To this day, we don’t really know why dogs noses are wet. We thought the following may give some insight.
Smell is your dog’s most refined sense. Dogs noses are wet to help keep that sense as sharp as possible.
Your individual smell not only helps your dog identify you, but provides them with information on where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to while you’ve been away.
‘The dogs’ sense of smell is their primary sense,’ Dr Adam Sternberg, Regional Clinical Director – NSW & ACT, Greencross Vets.
‘It’s been said that it is 1000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s depending on the breed.’

Mucous and licking

To maximise their nose’s performance, dogs secrete a layer of mucous from within the nose. It is thought this may aid absorbing environmental smells.
They then lick the area with their tongues to help keep it moist, which has an added benefit of providing the glands on the roof of their mouth with a taste of the absorbed smells.
While a wet nose is normal, there are times when discharge from a dog’s nose may be a symptom of a serious health problem. If you see discharge coming from your dog’s nose, they may have allergies, or if the discharge is discoloured, polyps, foreign material, infection or worse need to be considered. Dogs can have dry noses as well and this may not be a sign of ill-health. Make an appointment with your local Greencross Vets for a medical check-up.


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To help cool off

Your dog is covered in hair, which means it is unable to sweat like we can. Dogs cool down mainly through panting and keeping their noses damp to an extent. It is thought as the mucous evaporates, it has some potential cooling affect. Coupled with dogs licking their nose, this may aid in heat loss.

Licking keeps their noses clean

Dogs are constantly sticking their muzzles into areas to get a better sense of smell. As a result, they can become dirty and need to be frequently licked clean. The dirtier a dog’s nose is, the harder it is for them to smell individual particles.

A common health myth

Dr Sternberg says it’s a common myth that the moisture level on your dog’s nose is an indication of their health status.
“If you’re concerned about your dog’s nose or your dog has an overly runny nose, visit your local Greencross Vets for a check-up” Dr Sternberg says.
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