Why are dogs noses wet?
What makes dogs noses wet? Smell is your dog’s most refined sense. Dogs noses are wet to help keep that sense as sharp as possible – which also helps keep them cool.
Your individual smell not only helps your dog identify you, but provides it 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,’ says Dr Jesse Harvey from Greencross Vets Stud Park.
‘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 that absorbs chemicals.
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 chemicals.
While a wet nose is normal, there are times when discharge from a dog’s runny nose can be a symptom of a serious health problem. If you see too much discharge coming from your dog’s nose, they could have allergies, an infected blockage in one nostril, polyps, a fever, or cancer. So make an appointment with your local Greencross Vets for a medical check-up.
To help cool off
Your dog is covered in hair, which means it is unable to sweat like we can. Instead, dogs cool down through panting and keeping their noses damp. They do this both by licking and with the help of their mucous glands.
Licking keeps their noses clean
Dogs are constantly sticking their muzzles into areas to get a better smell and taste. 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 Harvey says it’s a common myth that the moisture level on your dog’s nose is an indication of their health status.
‘A dry nose can indicate hydration status, but this does not necessarily mean your dog is sick. Many breeds get thickened, dry noses as they age,’ Dr Harvey says.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s low hydration levels, or your dog has an overly runny nose, visit your local Greencross Vets for a medical check.