There’s nothing like the feeling of a dog’s cold, wet nose on the back of your leg to get your attention quick! Many people wonder why their dog’s nose is always cold and wet. Others wonder if they should be worried when it’s warm and dry. The normal moisture level of a dog’s nose will vary from dog to dog, and even breed to breed. Some dogs just have wetter or drier noses than others. It should never be extremely wet or dry, but somewhere in the middle. We’re here to answer all of your burning questions about your dog’s nose, whether it’s wet or dry!
It’s How They Regulate Their Body Temperature
The main reason that your dog’s nose is wet is to help him regulate his body temperature. Dogs don’t have sweat glands all over their bodies like humans do. Just like a human sweats to cool down on a hot day, dogs secrete moisture through their noses and the pads of their feet in order to cool down.
They Lick Their Noses a Lot
Dogs are always rooting around in everything with their noses, so they tend to lick them all the time to keep them clean. They also lick their noses to help them stay cool.
Their Noses Secrete Mucus to Help Them Smell Better
A dog’s nose secretes mucus that helps him to smell things better. Yep, that’s gross, but it does serve a purpose! A dog has glands that are called “olfactory glands” on the roof of his mouth. When your dog licks his nose, he licks off the mucus that has absorbed the scent chemicals in the air around him. Then the olfactory glands absorb the scent allowing him to smell more deeply.
Dry Noses Don’t Always Indicate Illness
Many folks believe that a dog with a warm, dry nose is sick, but that’s not always the case. Things like air temperature, humidity, and activity level can affect the moisture level and temperature of a dog’s nose. A dog’s nose will probably even be dry after he takes a long nap since he hasn’t licked it for a while. The key is to watch for drastic changes that aren’t normal for your pooch. Things like a crusty nose or unusually thick or discolored discharge are more of a cause for concern.
If your dog’s nose seems uncomfortably dry and you’ve already ruled out illness, try using a soothing balm to provide moisture and protect the skin from sun and wind. Petroleum jelly and coconut oil both work great for this. Allergies are a common cause of a very dry nose, especially plastic allergies. If your dog eats or drinks out of a plastic bowl regularly, try a bowl made from a different material, like ceramic or stainless steel, to see if his dry nose improves.
Don’t ever hesitate to call your vet if you are concerned about changes in your dog’s health. That’s what they are there for!